Big Star’s come a long way in the nine years since chef Paul Kahan and company took over the former Pontiac Cafe to open Wicker Park’s most popular patio. Back then, few would believe Big Star would merit a spin-off right across from Wrigley Field. Yet that’s exactly what’s transpired as Cubs fans and other taco lovers, starting tonight, can drink whisky and margaritas inside a two-floor Big Star across Clark Street at the Hotel Zachary.
The interiors are familiar to anyone who’s visited the Wicker Park location. The seating and finishes are just like the original. However, it’s not a carbon copy — there are TVs behind the bar. That’s a predictable change — the neighborhood is baseball crazy in the summer. It’s still a curveball for One Off Hospitality Group which owns fine dining restaurants such as Nico Osteria, Blackbird, and Avec.
There is a mini Big Star inside the United Center, as Kahan is a big Blackhawks fan. It’s just a little different inside this 9,000-square-foot space that hopes to carry over a bit of the honky tonk from Wicker Park. The eight screens are retractable to be out of sight when the Cubbies aren’t playing. Like Wicker, the patio plays a big role with room for 80 seats. The restaurant also features retractable siding to give fans an airy stadium feeling.