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The Old Madrina Space is Getting a Splashy Fine-Dining Mexican Restaurant

Tulum is in the works

The space formerly known as Madrina
Kyla Davidson/EDFW
Amy McCarthy is a staff writer at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

It looks like a new, likely Mexican-inspired restaurant called Tulum is in the works for a prime Oak Lawn location.

Construction permits filed with the City of Highland Park indicate that Firebird Restaurant Group’s Mike Karns will open the restaurant at 4216 Oak Lawn Avenue. A representative for Karns tells Eater that the restaurant will not be part of Firebird Restaurant Group, which operates Mexican restaurants Taqueria La Ventana, Meso Maya, and El Fenix, but is a “side project” of Karns, his wife Valerie, and Meso Maya chef Nico Sanchez.

Permits indicate that Firebird has been working on revamping the interiors of the building most recently occupied by Madrina, a splashy French and Mexican fusion restaurant that shuttered in 2017.

Menu details are scarce at present, but diners can likely look forward to a slate of dishes inspired by the Mexican city of Tulum, known for its wood-fired cooking, fresh seafood caught in coastal waters, and chic restaurants. Job postings for the restaurant suggest that it will offer an upscale, fine dining atmosphere, standing in contrast to the more casual Mexican eateries in Karns’ portfolio.

No word yet on when Tulum will make its Oak Lawn debut, but likely sometime in mid-October. When reached for more details on Tulum’s arrival, a representative for Firebird Restaurant Group declined to comment further.

Update, 11:56 a.m.: This post has been updated to clarify Tulum’s relationship to Firebird Restaurant Group.