Located in a nondescript building on North Orleans Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, the food at BIG & Little’s Restaurant is anything but. Since its opening in 2009, BIG & Little’s has risen the ranks as having some of the best fish tacos, po’ boys, and truffle fries in the city, and was even featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” in 2011. I’m not gonna lie; driving by BIG & little’s left me wondering what the hype was all about. But, as they say, never judge a book by its cover. BIG & little’s may be my new favorite casual dinner spot in the city.
Owned by Gary “BIG” Strauss and Tony “little” D’Alessandro, BIG & little’s has also recently expanded to Lakeview. While each restaurant offers a distinct menu, both are fully BYO and offer al fresco dining for warmer months. The menu at the restaurant in River North focuses on an array of tacos, burgers, po’ boys, fried seafood, sandwiches, and fries. Unlike many other taco establishments, BIG & little’s offers more seafood tacos than meat and that is where I recommend you focus your order. Ordering is done at the counter and seating is open and communal.
I recommend the grilled shrimp taco, served with lettuce, tomato, chili ailoi “special sauce”, cocktail sauce, and lime juice. The chili ailoi offered just enough spice and the shrimp were fresh and perfectly cooked.
I also enjoyed the grilled mahi taco, with lettuce, cabbage, special sauce, Asian sesame sauce, and lime juice, all served atop a corn tortilla. While many fish tacos in the city serve more toppings than actual fish, the piece of mahi served in this taco was quite generous, meaty, and flavorful.
Not to be missed are the truffle fries. A huge basket of some of the best fries in the city for only $4.00? Yes, please. Prices, overall, are extremely reasonable, and they are even better at the Lakeview location, thanks to cheaper rent. The River North location is cash only, but an ATM is on site.
BIG & little’s is the perfect spot for a casual weeknight dinner or weekend lunch and is definitely family friendly. I will definitely be back for more fish tacos, and to try the infamous soft shell crab po’ boy. What do you recommend at BIG & little’s?
860 North Orleans, Chicago