Not just a convenience store where Dave Chapelle has to pull down his pants to buy drugs, a Bodega can also be an entirely reputable operation, as is the case with this Lincoln Park cantina only looking to get you hooked on these smothered carne asada fries with pepper jack, pico de gallo, guacamole, and jalapeno-lime crema. Taking over the former home of Twisted Lizard, Bodega's slinging modern Mexican street fare in a 50-seat basement with cast iron tables, vintage paintings, and a record player on surround sound with Bozak speakers. There’s also an outdoor patio with seating for a 40-man fiesta. Or hopefully a more gender-balanced fiesta. These Mexican Spring Rolls eat like tiny chimichangas, are filled with beef, chorizo, and Chihuahua cheese, and sided with cilantro aioli for dipping. There are eight types of tacos for you to work your way through, including spicy potato with quail egg, Baja fish, and pork belly with kimchi. If you're one of those people who insists on ordering a burger even at Mexican places, at least you'll get this Bodega burger, which comes with American cheese and charbroiled pineapple aioli on a potato bun. Since Bodega translates to “wine cellar” (again, not a place where you might see Dave Chappelle's butt), there’s plenty of booze, including cocktails like the horchata ball (rumchata with Fireball whiskey) and margaritas that go beyond the classic in flavors like guava and tamarind.
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