A reunion in Chicago with three dear friends, who share a passion for the Spanish language, Latin America, and delicious food, prompted a trip to XOCO (Mexican slang for "little sister"), Rick Bayless’ Mexican street food quick-service cafe. While Bayless has long been a stalwart of the Chicago restaurant scene, the chef has become even more of a global culinary figure by winning the first Top Chef Masters competition and recently serving the Obamas at the White House state dinner with Mexican president Felipe Calderon. Brave XOCO’s long lines (no reservations accepted) so that you can be rewarded with some of the most creative, local, sustainable Mexican comfort food in a Gold LEED certified space.
Bayless has thoughtfully designed every element of XOCO. From the location near public transportation, to the roof’s soy-based reflective coating, to the water efficiency practices, to the revolutionary ventilation system, to the first-rate recycling and composting programs, Bayless is setting a new precedent on sustainable restaurant design. XOCO’s sustainable practices also extend to its ingredients and sourcing. All of the meat is humanely raised and you can read about the local farms that service the restaurant as you wait in line to order and customize your meal. (More on their commitment to sustainability here).