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The Two New Bayless Spots In West Loop Have Opening Dates

By Anthony Todd in Food on Apr 22, 2016 6:42PM

Bayless in an improvised chef coat bearing the names of the new spots (photo via Facebook)

We brought you details a few weeks back about the two new Rick Bayless-helmed spots opening in the West Loop: Cruz Blanca Cervecería and Lena Brava. Now, we've got even more details and an official opening date.

Both restaurants will open to the public on Cinco de Mayo: May 5, 2016. For Lena Brava, the Baja-themed seafood spot with the huge wood fire, reservations are available now on the restaurant's website. The taco and beer counters at Cruz Blanca will be walk-up only.

The chefs at Lena Brava will be a husband-and-wife team, Fred and Lisa Despres. Fred worked at Arami, while Lisa was the chef at Topolobampo, so this place is opening with an all-star team. The bar will focus on mezcal and feature more than 100 different varieties, joining the growing mezcal trend sweeping Chicago.

Cruz Blanca, the brewery and taco stand, will be led by Jacob Sembrano, who used to run the brewing operation at Goose Island Brewpub. The food (do-it-yourself tacos) sounds so delicious, we're gonna just quote the restaurant.

Guests at Cruz Blanca will choose their main attraction —half-cured flank tasajo, red chile pork cecina, chorizo, chicken or portobello— to be piled on a big beer tray with accompaniments of wood-grilled knob onions and peppers, smoky Oaxacan pasilla salsa, avocado salsa, crunchy pico de gallo, grilled nopal cactus and limey cucumbers. And, of course, a big stack of fresh- made tortillas.

Get in our mouth right now!

Both concepts are located on Randolph, at 900 and 904 W. Randolph Street. Make your plans now, because opening day is sure to be nuts.