Chicago hosts first-ever Latin restaurant weeks

A new initiative dedicated to Latin cuisines has a delicious range of Chicago offerings for two weeks in October, giving Chicagoans the chance to gorge themselves on everything from quesabirria and ramen to Guatemalan-style hot dogs.

Latin Restaurant Weeks was established in 2019 to showcase Latinx-owned culinary businesses, including restaurants, bars, food trucks, and caterers, with social media ads and other marketing tools, says Karinn Chavarria, who founded the initiative alongside Warren Luckett (if that name sounds familiar to you, maybe it’s because Luckett also co-founded Black Restaurant Week). In turn, restaurants create specials and meals available for two weeks, which customers can review on the Latin Restaurant Weeks website. The project started in Houston before expanding to Miami, and Chicago will be the third city on the agenda, chosen based on market research and the city’s diverse selection of Latin cuisines.

“Chicago has such a rich Latino culture and history in the city,” Chavarria said. “So all of this combined makes for a perfect recipe to make a restaurant week.”

The lineup in Chicago this year currently includes 13 different restaurants and culinary businesses, including beloved places like Tacotlan, Birrieria Ocotlan, Taqueria Chingon, Osito’s Tap and more. Several chefs are still working on menu offerings, but you can expect some pretty tasty options like a bowl of ramen, quesabirria, guacamole, fries, and a large drink for $ 20 at Birrieria Ocotlan and a costilla taco made from rib, root vegetable salad, avocado vinaigrette and borracha salsa — for $ 7 at Taqueria Chingon. Dinner can also try shuko, a Guatemalan hot dog filled with sausage, guacamole, tomato sauce, hot sauce and mayonnaise, from the Latin America Cravings food truck.

“When you think of Chicago, a lot of people think of Mexican food and maybe Puerto Rican food, but that’s where [food from] so many different Latin nations, ”says Chavarria. “We have a Colombian participant, a Brazilian, Costa Rican, Cuban, Peruvian participant. So it really covers the whole gamut. ”

Restaurants do not have to pay a fee to participate in the initiative, a change organizers implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to help struggling business owners. This year, Chavarria says the restaurant is still struggling with labor shortages and supply chain issues, so community affairs are more important than ever. The Chicago Latin Restaurant Weeks also coincide with the last two weeks of Hispanic Heritage Month, making it a particularly relevant time to support businesses still recovering from the effects of the pandemic.

“In the years to come, we want this to be something that attracts tourism and really helps support these Latino-owned businesses, not only during Hispanic Heritage Month, but throughout the years,” said Chavarria. .

The Chicago Latin Restaurant Weeks will take place October 4-18. An up-to-date list of participating restaurants is below, although businesses can continue to register until October 3. So be sure to check out the Latin Restaurant Weeks website to browse restaurants and their menu offerings.

  • Arepa George
  • Sinha
  • Irazú
  • Senor Pan
  • Tacotlan
  • Aunt
  • Birrieria Ocotlán
  • Latin American cravings
  • Osito’s tap
  • Taqueria Chingon
  • Sabe to Zulia
  • BryAnna’s restaurant
  • Pan Artesanal bakery

About Walter Bartholomew

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