notes from the mexican kitchen

2019: A Look Back

As we gear up for New Year’s Eve services in our restaurants — reservation info here for all of you last-minute types — it’s worth taking a moment to reflect back on 2019.

We hosted happy hours and collaborated on pop-up dinners. We introduced mezcal culture to countless Chicagoans. We lost some longtime restaurant employees and in the process developed a new crop of leaders. We dazzled thousands with our robust private event offerings. And we’re still hard at work launching a new restaurant concept, Tortazo.

This year we also went deep on the idea that restaurants can foster a sense of community. To wit:

  • With the help of Chicago’s generous and talented chef community, we launched Impact Culinary Training in Garfield Park, offering restaurant job training and internships to 16-24 year olds.
  • Our Frontera Farmer Foundation raised more money than ever before, nearly $200,000 this year, all thanks to our hardworking staff and loyal patrons. We’ll send that money right into the pockets of farmers undertaking capital development projects on their family farms.
  • The Bayless Family Foundation had pledged $300,000 in “Stepping Stone” grants and another $100,000 for its “Signal Grants” to help bolster the development of promising Chicago theater companies.

Oh, and we won some awards. Readers of the Chicago Reader named Frontera Grill as the Best Mexican Restaurant, readers of the Chicago Tribune called Bar Sótano the Best Cocktail Bar of 2019, and three of our spots on Clark Street (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Bar Sótano) landed on the Phil’s 50 list in the Tribune.

Tortas Frontera earned accolades as “Best Airport Dining” and Frontera Grill retained its status as a Michelin Bib Gourmand (for offering great value) and Topolobampo retained its one-star designation {*cough should be two stars cough*}

We could go on, but it would seem like we’re just piling on. Now let’s get to the good stuff.

Most Watched YouTube Video

Most Viewed “Mexico: One Plate at a Time” Episode

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Drum roll please … Roasted Tomatillo Salsa! Versatile, classic and pretty easy to make.

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