Bar Chido modernizes Mexican street food for Downers Grove
With the April 26 opening of Bar Chido, Mexican cuisine is returning near the corner of Curtiss and Main streets in Downers Grove.
Bar Chido takes over the building at 1012 Curtiss St. that formerly housed Mia's Cantina, a local Mexican chain that still operates locations in Mount Prospect and Wheeling.
Restaurateur Sam Vlahos, a co-owner of the neighboring Pierce Tavern in Downers Grove and Fuller House in Hinsdale, owns Bar Chido. According to Vlahos, executive chef Daniel Munoz is modeling Bar Chido's cuisine on Mexican street food with a modern twist.
For example, Bar Chido will offer traditional hand-pressed tortillas and tacos and classic margaritas. But other items are a little adventurous, like carnitas with Coca-Cola braised pork and yucca fries poutine.
"It's been something that has always been on my mind," Vlahos said of opening a Mexican restaurant rather than just expanding Bar Pierce.
But he admits to some horrible timing.
"I took over the building in February 2020 before everything happened," Vlahos said.
Vlahos said all of his energy went to keeping Pierce Tavern and Fuller House open amid the coronavirus pandemic. Bar Chido understandably was put on the back burner.
Vlahos is grateful that Downers Grove allowed restaurants last year to expand outdoor dining onto areas of street parking. And with hesitant customers in mind, Vlahos said Bar Chido was designed with extra precautions as a response to COVID-19.
For example, the restaurant features sliding glass doors to connect the indoor dining area to the outdoor front patio.
"As soon as the weather breaks, everyone is going to want to be outside," Vlahos said. "The more outdoor seating just helps people to feel more comfortable."
A walk-up takeout window to place orders and pick up food was also specially installed on the east side of the building. Vlahos initially hoped to make it a drive-through, but zoning regulations didn't permit it.
"I think it will still be fun, that you walk up and grab your food and go," Vlahos said.
Bar Chido is also collaborating with Downers Grove-based Goldfinger Brewery. They are creating a Mexican lager called "Chela Chido" exclusively for Bar Chido.
It's touches like this that Vlahos hopes will help the new Bar Chido to live up to its name. After all, "Chido" is Mexico City slang for "cool" or hip."