Chef Jonathan Zaragoza (El Oso, Masa Azul) has been secretive about Con Todo, his hotly anticipated Mexican-American restaurant planned for Logan Square, holding many details and even the exact location close to his chest. Some facts, including an address at 2853 N. Kedzie Avenue, leaked out over time, but his efforts were largely successful. That conservative approach has fostered plenty of buzz the chef, whose family runs the much-lauded Birrieria Zaragoza in Archer Heights.
Patrons will at last get a peek under the hood on Friday with first stage of Con Todo’s launch: a takeout and delivery-only menu of Mexico City-style tacos, cocktails, and genre-straddling creations like the pamburguesa, an inventive smash burger-torta mashup (“guajillo-stained” telera bun, white onion, American cheese, salsa especial, pickles). Zaragoza and his business partners, brothers JC and Edgar Castañeda, hope in February to introduce dine-in service in the space that previously housed brunch hit Jam and Japanese spot Yusho.
With Con Todo, the three partners aim to pay tribute to two formative cities: Mexico City, where the Castañedas grew up, and Chicago, where all three came of age. “The restaurant is representative of our experience with one foot in Mexico, one foot in the states,” Zaragoza says. “Mexico City is such a melting pot, as is Chicago. We’re covering a broad spectrum, from influences that are popping off out there to old traditions from different cultures and ethnicities.”
Though the opening menu is abbreviated, it still includes plenty of surprises, like the D.F. Hot Chicken Torta (spicy panko chicken breast, griddled queso Chihuahua, refried black beans, pickled jalapeno) and grilled pineapple upside down cake (piloncillo caramel cake, burnt cinnamon whipped cream). Taco selections include familiar hits like al pastor, but also suadero, a Mexico City favorite that Zaragoza has dubbed the “unsung hero of the taco world.” Initial offerings will be available online via Toast.
Once it’s open for dine-in service, the 94-seat Kedzie Avenue restaurant will include a full bar with the usual suspects of tequila and mezcal, as well lesser-known Mexican liquors like rum and whiskey, along with a wine list entirely sourced from Mexico. The space is divided into two sections: a classic casual taqueria in the front and a date night-friendly section in the bag with high ceilings and a skylight. “Business in the front, party in the back — it’s a restaurant mullet,” Zaragoza laughs.
The theme of duality even extends to the restaurant’s name, Con Todo. Literally translated into English as “with everything,” it’s a phrase that Mexico City residents call out to their taquero when asked what they want on a given taco — usually cilantro and onions, Zaragoza says. He and his partners want to apply that “with everything” philosophy to hospitality, offering more than just fuel. “In these crazy-ass times, we just hope to offer people a little bit of light in all the darkness these days.”
Con Todo, 2853 N. Kedzie Avenue, Open for takeout and delivery 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.