Construction is chugging along this summer, and we have now seen our first rendering of Tuco & Blondie, 4-Star Restaurant Group\’s upcoming Tex-Mex concept that has replaced Justin’s Bar & Grill.
Here is the rendering from Space Architects + Planners:
And a sneak peak of Al pastor tacos ala Chef Todd Stein:
4 Star Restaurant Group today revealed the name and design details for their tenth Chicago restaurant opening this September in Lakeview (3358 N Southport Ave). Introducing Tuco & Blondie, an American spin on Mexican cuisine (http://www.tucoandblondie.com/). With branding and design development headed by Chicago-based Grip, and culinary operations led by Corporate Executive Chef Todd Stein, the full service cantina concept is destined to be a “Mexican-style, fajitas-eatin’, margarita-drinkin’, good time in the heart of Southport.” Like other 4 Star restaurants, Tuco & Blondie is designed as a neighborhood gathering place, serving food hot for brunch, lunch and into the night, with sides and sips for sidekicks.“If you’re hungry, chow down. If you’re thirsty, drink up. We’ll have room for all,” said 4 Star Restaurant Group partner Josh Rutherford. “From a walk up indoor patio for grub with a view to a lively outdoor back patio scene, it’s bound to be a good time!”With 3,000 square feet of inside space and 3,000 square feet outside, the 250-seat Tuco & Blondie will invoke a multi-faceted, fun atmosphere where families or groups of friends can linger and laugh over drinks and a meal cooked in Chef Stein’s scratch kitchen. Drawing inspiration from its naming origin (Clint Eastwood’s landmark film, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly), Tuco & Blondie aspires to be an original classic – where neighbors return for another take time and time again.
“Rooted in the warm tones of the Southwest, our design approach reflects the joy of a raucous family meal where the ‘family’ is extended and the cuisine is extensive,” said Grip partner Kevin McConkey.Grip’s brand aesthetic is evident in all facets of the interior design direction. The layout calls for a “dinner in the front, party in the back” setting. Once inside, guests will be greeted with exposed brick walls, an inviting bar and pops of color throughout. Outside, patrons will enjoy a picturesque bodega, brick fireplace, engaging courtyard and other fun aspects that will keep them coming back.Chef’s Stein’s interpretation of Mexican food will feature unique spins on Mexican-American dishes. Menu highlights planned range from signature fajitas to what Chef Stein swears will be the “best chicken salad you will ever eat (to be named later)!” Hand-crafted cocktails inspired by The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, including The Man with No Name, Angel Eyes, and the One-Armed Bounty Hunter, will play second fiddle to an extensive margarita menu featuring a variety of distinctive options, from the Cadillac (top shelf) to the classic Strawberry, frozen or on the rocks.ABOUT 4 STAR RESTAURANT GROUP:4 Star Restaurant Group focuses on creating experiences. Fresh, made-from-scratch dishes concepted by Chef Todd Stein serve neighborhood families and friends in comfortable environments. Founded by Doug Dunlay, Michael Dunlay, Derek Rettell and Josh Rutherford in 2003, 4 Star Restaurant Group has ten entities with more on the horizon.ABOUT CHEF TODD STEIN:Todd Stein is the Corporate Executive Chef at 4 Star Restaurant Group. He currently heads all 10 restaurants. Stein started out his career studying under two chefs, Keith Korn of Chicago’s Gordon Restaurant and Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin. After spending some time in France at Moulin de la Vierge, Stein built a name for himself at a multitude of critically acclaimed restaurants throughout the country. Formerly the Executive Chef at Concentrics Hospitality, Stein moved back to Chicago and immediately immersed himself in 4 Star.