ABOUT FAT BABY TACOS
At its core, Fat Baby Tacos is...
bold, lively, and down-right delicious. The menu is packed with approachable fresh-casual Latin cuisine—tacos bursting with slow-roasted meats wrapped in homemade tortillas, tantalizing tamales, and bountiful burritos—prepared to fit each guests’ individual cravings. Rounding out the taqueria’s flavor-packed menu are starters and sides, salads, and pozoles. The diverse drink selection includes hand-crafted draft cocktails, sangrias, as well as agua frescas and a vegan coconut milk horchata. Fat Baby Tacos’ playful concept surges through the space upon first-steps into the restaurant. Guests are greeted by a larger-than-life, hand-painted mural that graces the welcoming wall of the front patio. The 100% custom décor is the perfect complement to the friendly, high-energy environment the restaurant embodies. Rooted at the intersect of satisfying simplicity seasoned with dashes of daring, Fat Baby Tacos guarantees to make guests DROOL.
About Executive Chef Alex Plancencia
Executive Chef Alex Plancencia offers an innovative and health-conscious approach to the fresh-casual fare of Fat Baby Tacos, a playfully modern taqueria in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. With a Mexican culinary heritage and community focus, he develops Latin favorites including tacos featuring housemade tortillas bursting with slow-roasted meats, as well as burritos, salads, sides, and homemade tamales. “I try to think outside the box, to be playful in the kitchen, and present guests something they haven’t seen before,” Placencia says.
The chef manages his kitchen team with an open mind and an open door. “Communication is key. A kitchen is a work in progress—everyone’s thoughts and opinions are essential.” His daily inspirations come from the symbiotic energies within the community that Fat Baby Tacos serves. “The energy of this business—from the farmers, the kitchen, the guests—is what gets me going every day.”
Plancencia grew up in Morelos, Mexico, where his grandmother regularly united his extended family around the dinner table. “When my grandmother realized how much her food impacted me, she started to make ten dishes just for me every time I came over,” he says. “I realized I wanted to give other people that same experience.”
His culinary education started in New York City in 1994 under Mario Trivuto, who trained him in classic Italian cuisine. A degree from NYC’s Peter Krumps Culinary School followed in 1997. After working in various Big Apple restaurants, Plancencia spent a year at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand as executive chef before leaving in 2006 to join Bon Appetit Management Company as executive sous chef in charge of seven University of San Francisco culinary outlets. He then moved on to T-Rex BBQ Restaurant in Berkeley, CA in 2009, at which he ran the kitchen and collaborated with Kettle One on its Chipotle Vodka. Subsequent stops included San Francisco’s Adagio Hotel and Nourish, a Sausalito, CA eatery among The Marin Independent Journal’s “Top 10 100% Organic Restaurants”.
Arriving in Chicago in 2013, Placencia became corporate chef for vegan fast-casual chain Native Foods Café, at which he developed crave-worthy vegan items for both the restaurant and the Native Foods Café Celebration Cookbook. His next role, as consulting corporate chef for Protein Bar, further evolved his healthy, flavorful, and accessible culinary focus.
Plancencia has also worked with renowned chefs including Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Oaks, and Alfred Portale, and gained inspiration on sustainability and California cuisine from Alice Waters and Patricia Unterman. He has been featured in Food and Wine and The Examiner; has contributed recipes to The Huffington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle; and participates in charities including Taste of the Nation and Meals on Wheels. The chef also trained with Jet Tila on Pan Asian cuisine and Raghavan Iyer on Indian spices. Joining Fat Baby Tacos in 2016, Plancencia applies his mastery of alternative cuisines, Latin flavors, and fresh ingredients to craft a fun and flavorful taqueria experience.
When he finds time away from the taqueria, Plancencia enjoys exploring Chicago’s dynamic culinary scene and spending time with his own baby boy, Ellis, and his wife, Alexandra Staloch, at their Logan Square home.