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Photograph: Martha Williams

Paul Kahan's mysterious new restaurant

Rumors are flying about the Blackbird chef's latest venture.


We first learned about the under-wraps, fiercely guarded, highly anticipated new project from the Blackbird/Avec/Publican team—Kahan, Donnie Madia, Eduard Seitan and Terry Alexander (Publican only)—back in October, when a bit of digging revealed the crew was taking over the former Pontiac Café space in Wicker Park.

Over the next eight months, there was talk that the concept was to convert the old gas station into a barbecue joint. However, in early July, Kahan squashed that rumor by tweeting he ordered a “Texas-style pit q” for the new place, but promising “it’s not for barbecue.” After being spotted in mid-July trying the al pastor tacos at Carniceria y Taqueria Tierra Caliente (formerly Carniceria Leon), the team confirms the project will focus on tacos and that Avec sous chef Justin Large will be at the helm.

Later that day, Kahan tweeted he’s planning a taco trip to L.A., so it looks as if he’s serious. Most recently, there’s been speculation that the live-music tradition of the Pontiac will be carried over, meaning you still might be able to enjoy the sounds of such great local bands as TAFKA Vince and Vamplifier…only while eating tacos.

Addendum: Since publishing this article, more details about the new Kahan project have surfaced. We've learned that the new spot will definitely be a bar, not a restaurant (albeit a bar with a food component). Also, those rumors about live music were apparently false, which is probably a good thing—less room taken up by bands means more room for eating tacos.

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