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Rating Big Star's outdoor eating space


1531 N Damen Ave (773-235-4039)

Why queue up on the sidewalk just to spend an evening corralled in an overcrowded (see Fig. 1) former service-station parking lot? We could give you a few reasons, but let’s start with chef Paul Kahan’s reasonably priced tacos ($3)—namely the famous pork-belly version, best washed down with a small-batch whiskey. Beyond the food, superb people-watching from the packed metal tables means gazing at neighborhood scenesters and Kahan-worshipping foodies, as well as the parade of passersby on the bustling street beyond.

FOOD 8 Dinner for less than $10 at a Paul Kahan restaurant
DRINKS 9 Really a 10 for whiskey lovers, an 8 for everyone else
CROWD 7 A mix of neighborhood revelers and Kahan-crazy taco fanatics
VIEW 9 See and be seen in the heart of Wicker Park
SPACE 7 It’s still just a parking lot.

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