CHICAGO, IL – December 21, 2015 – On December 26, Chicago’s first-ever tapas bar, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! marks 30 years of serving Spanish cuisine in the Windy City. To celebrate, the restaurant will host a series of events from January 18 – January 27 to not only commemorate the restaurant’s history, signature dishes and loyal guests but also showcase an array of new, inventive menu specialties from Executive Chef Matt Holmes.
30th Anniversary Special Events
From throwback happy hours and a pintxos crawl to a special multi-course dinner with Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! founder Chef Gabino Sotelino, the restaurant will be celebrating our 30th year with lots of exclusive in-restaurant happenings.
January 18 – January 27: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is celebrating its roots by offering a selection of menu classics at original 1980’s pricing for Happy Hour at the bar, Monday–Sunday between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., plus Friday and Saturday from 10:00 p.m. until midnight.
Tuesday, January 19: Chef Holmes will bring a taste of the Spanish coastal city of San Sebastian to Chicago in the form of a Pintxo Bar Crawl. Travel from one table to the next on Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!’s all-seasons patio, enjoying an array of these bite-sized appetizers specially crafted for the occasion. Guests will experience four unique “pintxo bars”–complete with a signature pintxo, beverage pairing and decor to match–all under one roof, in addition to passed appetizers and a wine and cocktail station. Event cost is $35 per guest (tax not included).
Wednesday, January 27: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! will close out the anniversary celebration with a special thank-you to its loyal guests over the last 30 years. Chef Sotelino will present a multi-course menu highlighting traditional tapas dishes, perfectly paired with hand-picked Spanish wines. The evening begins with a reception at 6:00 p.m followed by a seated dinner at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $55 per guest (tax and gratuity not included).
What’s New on the Menu
Highlighting the evolution of tapas and pintxos over the last 30 years, Executive Chef Matt Holmes will feature special off-menu delicacies during the 10-day anniversary celebration including: Caramelized Goat Cheese with red onion purée and membrillo honey, Arroz Negra Lobster Croquettes, Poached Shrimp Pintxo with lime and coconut foam, Asparagus and Black Truffle with grated egg and more. All of these exclusive anniversary dishes will be offered alongside signature menu favorites such as Spicy Potatoes, Bacon-Wrapped Dates and Baked Goat Cheese.
“We’re trying to retain the familiar feel of the Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! menu that our guests expect, but also keep up with the recent trends in Spanish cooking,” says Chef Holmes, who took over as executive chef in 2013. “For example, the grilled octopus dish on our menu right now is traditional in flavor and preparation so for the 30th anniversary we will be doing a Chilled Octopus Terrine with smoked olive oil gel, espelette pepper and squid ink vinaigrette, which is a cool, modern take on this traditional dish.”
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is the brainchild of renowned Chef Gabino Sotelino, in collaboration with Lettuce Entertain You Founder, Rich Melman established on December 26, 1985. The two first teamed up at the Pump Room, and then worked together to open LEYE’s original fine dining concept, Ambria, in 1980. When it opened in 1985, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! was not only Sotelino’s opportunity to introduce a piece of his homeland in Spain to the Windy City for the first time. He went to great lengths to achieve authenticity, even arranging for a wood-burning oven to be flown in from Madrid. Since its inception, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! played a large role in establishing tapas-style dining as an integral element of Chicago’s food scene.
“When we opened, the neighborhood was not the desireable residential and commercial area that it is now, and we were one of the only hot restaurants for years,” shared General Manager Mark Sotelino, Chef Gabino Sotelino’s son who began working at his father’s restaurant at a young age. “Now busier than ever 30 years in, we’re excited to maintain Spanish traditions and authenticity while continually trying to stay fresh and renew the menu with modern, avant-garde techniques that have made the Spanish cuisine of the past 10 years so highly regarded.”
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is located at 2024 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60614. Reservations are accepted by phone at 773-935-5000. For more information on all upcoming events, visit cafebabareeba.com/30th-anniversary. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CafeBaBaReeba.