- Ted Cox
- On every corner, a mole
Putting a quasi-upscale Mexican restaurant half a block from Ravenswood’s Mixteco Grill seems a bit like setting up your gourmet burger joint across the street from Kuma’s Corner. But that’s what relative newcomer El Maya has done. And if you think about it, there isn’t a whole lot of uncolonized territory when it comes to midscale Mexican places on the north side. Just a bit northeast of Mixteco and El Maya, there’s Cosina Grill. Not far to the south, in Lakeview, there’s Frida’s. Those two are just a subsection of a field that continues to expand, from old-timers like Old Town’s Adobo Grill and Salpicon to 2013 Michelin star awardees Topolobampo—Rick Bayless’s River North flagship—and the French-Mexican Mexique, in Noble Square. Six additional restaurants received Michelin’s so-called Bib Gourmand, among them Bayless’s Frontera Grill, northwest-side outlier Sol de Mexico, and Lincoln Square’s humble little Los Nopales.