Half Acre Beer Company, a pioneering leader in Chicago’s craft beer scene, and Big Star, the beloved honky tonk taqueria from nationally acclaimed One Off Hospitality, are thrilled to announce a new partnership, Big Star at Balmoral. Beginning in 2020, Big Star will join Half Acre at its Balmoral Taproom & Garden (2050 W. Balmoral Ave.) as their resident culinary partner, bringing James Beard-winning Chef-Partner Paul Kahan’s highly sought-after tacos, plus new, exclusive menu items to the much-loved North Side brewery. Half Acre will continue to operate the bar program, pouring its popular drafts for guests to pair with new Mexican street food-inspired bites.
The partnership between the two celebrated brands came to fruition, naturally, over beers in the Half Acre Balmoral beer garden. They’ve long admired each other’s work and they agreed: good beer, great tacos and the aesthetic of the Balmoral space were a perfect fit. “We’ve been fans of Terry, Paul, Donnie, Peter and the One Off crew since the early days. They helped define our ideas on hospitality,” says Half Acre’s founder, Gabriel Magliaro. “Simply, they do great work. We’ve been kicking around in the same circles and neighborhoods while spending time in their restaurants for many years. We’ve always appreciated their ability to pull together the details of culinary creativity, comprehensive service, and outstanding spaces. Seeing hospitality through their spaces makes this opportunity very exciting.”
While the partnership presents extensive growth opportunities for each of the players by allowing each to focus on their craft, there is a mutual admiration for the business values and work ethic that has propelled both the Big Star and Half Acre brands to long-standing success.
“We respect the hell out of Half Acre and their operation,” says One Off Partner, Terry Alexander. “To see their growth in the craft beer movement over the years is nothing short of phenomenal. With so many great local breweries, we’ve always believed Half Acre is truly one of the best not only in the Chicago market but throughout the U.S. But just as important as their beer, they’re great people and we really like hanging out with all of them.”
Half Acre Beer Co. has been invested in making time-honored American micro beers since Magliaro started it in 2007. Its diverse portfolio ranges from the decade-old flagship Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, one of the original tallboy canned craft beers, to experimental wild beers. Between Half Acre’s two breweries, they produce over 50,000 barrels annually.
The partnership will also bring new opportunities for the two brands to create new beer together and will incorporate an event program at Half Acre’s Balmoral brewery for groups of up to 200 people with Big Star’s catering arm.
“We wanted to create an extension of Big Star in a way that you haven’t seen it before in an entirely new format,” says Karen Browne, Chief Executive Officer of One Off Hospitality. “The North Side was calling to us and it made sense for us to partner with our long time friends and local favorite, Half Acre, which already has an established presence in the neighborhood. There’s so much potential here that allows us the creativity to evolve our brands together.”
More information coming soon in early 2020.
About Big Star
An homage to the honky-tonk bars found around Bakersfield, California, Big Star is housed in a defunct 1940s gas station in the heart of Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The bourbon and beer-focused, taco-slinging, honky-tonk hangout and industry favorite offers new takes on authentic Mexican street food. Created by Executive Chef Paul Kahan, house staples include al Pastor, Baja and Panza tacos using house-made tortillas along with vegan and vegetarian options such as a Yuba Guisado tofu taco and the Tostada de Hongos. The extensive bourbon program is unlike any other in the country and boasts 20 exclusive House Barrel selections straight from the heart of Kentucky. The taqueria’s eclectic soundtrack ranges from classic country to 70s rock & roll, selected and spun by a musically talented bar staff. As a result, Big Star Recording Co. was launched in 2016 with their first LP “Bucking The Tiger” by Quarter Mile Thunder and a goal of producing new releases and re-releases from artists and musicians across Chicago, and eventually, across the country. Big Star is located at 1531 North Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60622. For more information, please visit http://www.bigstarchicago.com or call 773-235-4039. Check out Big Star on Facebook and Instagram @bigstarchicago.