It’s Friday afternoon at Taco in a Bag in the northwest suburb of West Dundee, and Patrick Bertoletti’s gourmet fast-food joint isn’t exactly hopping.
“Eating right now? Zero,” explains Bertoletti, whose offerings include “The Big Jim Reeves — the Original Taco in a Bag” and “The Norberto.”
Bertoletti doesn’t blame Spring Hill Mall, his restaurant’s home.
“It all comes down to location,” said the former competitive eating champion. “We’re not the right fit for the mall.”
He hopes Lincoln Square is.
The quirky concept restaurant is set to open in March on Lincoln Avenue in the site of a shuttered Homemade Pizza.
“People are more willing to try new things, and food is a bigger part of people’s lives in Chicago,” Bertoletti says.
Bertoletti and his business partner, Tim Brown, are promising an expanded menu that advertises their “walking tacos” this way: “Think gourmet nachos, homemade chips and toppings … in a bag!”
Bertoletti — who says he was best known in his competitive eating days for downing 275 pickled jalapenos in eight minutes — says the food-in-a-bag concept offers unlimited culinary opportunities.
“You could do soup in a bag, if you really wanted to,” Bertoletti said. “You could do anything. The possibilities are endless.”