PORTAGE PARK — A beloved Mexican restaurant in Portage Park that paused large events last summer is bringing them back after the city granted it an entertainment license.
Tatas Tacos, 5700 W. Irving Park Road, received its Public Place of Amusement license last week, allowing the restaurant’s third location to get back to hosting larger entertainment events, owners Julia Paphitis and Marci Romero Berner said.
“Receiving our [Public Place of Amusement] license is a huge benefit to our business. It solidifies our commitment to providing exceptional culinary delights alongside a vibrant and lively atmosphere,” the co-owners said in a statement. “We can’t wait to share this incredible experience with the Portage Park community and beyond.”
Tatas Tacos launched a summer event series this week to capitalize on the license approval and offer more entertainment. A comedy show with local comic Patti Vasquez starts 7 p.m. Thursdays, a live salsa band will perform Friday evening and a Hugo Elvis tribute band will perform 8 p.m. Saturday.
The series, which will offer entertainment Wednesday-Saturday evenings on the restaurant’s first floor, will include open mic and storytelling nights, music shows, trivia nights and more.
The special license is required for entertainment venues that can charge admission fees and have capacity of more than 100 people. When owners opened the location last year, they hosted several large-scale performance events but were never told they needed the specific license and did not charge for admission, they said at a community meeting earlier this year.
After a complaint from a neighbor, Ald. Nick Sposato (38th) asked the owners to stop the events late last year and apply for the special license. To remain in good faith with the community, Paphitis and Romero Berner asked for neighbor support in bringing back the events before applying for the license, they previously said.
More than 30 people, many of whom live nearby the restaurant, attended the meeting to express support for the business and get answers to concerns about rowdiness, trash and parking.
Tatas’ owners told residents they will not book rock bands for events and the music will only be inside on the first floor of the building. The owners also previously said they’re “more than willing” to hire security for when events exceed 100 people, but those will likely be only once a month for the restaurant’s Saturday music series, which will highlight local folk and indie musicians.
The restaurant can fit 130 people, but its larger events will likely only hit 90 people because the restaurant only has three servers. Reservations are required for live events, Romero Berner previously said.
“We need to be able to do these events in order to be able to maintain the business,” she said.
While many of Tatas’ customers don’t drive to the restaurant, Paphitis and Romero Berner are working out a deal with the owners of the nearby Dollar Tree and E & J Auto Service to let customers park in their lots for nighttime events.
Tatas Tacos also has locations in Six Corners and Lakeview.
The Portage Park restaurant is open 11-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m.-midnight weekends.
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