Forget the yearlong delay in the relocation of the “New” Maxwell Street Market. Let’s not discuss the vendors’ worries that the City of Chicago is conspiring to ruin and ultimately shut down the market with this, the second, move. Let’s not even get started on the intense nostalgia many still feel for the old market, or the stifling rancor that exploded when the city shuffled the market from Maxwell to Canal Street in 1994 to make way for the University of Illinois at Chicago development. (The creepy bronze statues of an Old Maxwell Street vendor and patron, frozen in time on the street, are the only reminders of its heyday.) Regardless of its past, this legendary, year-round Sunday market is iconically ours, and it’s one of the best places in the city for authentic Mexican food. Now you just need to know where to find it.
C3 Churro Factory
TRY IT Duh. The freshly fried churros at this blue truck are the thing to get.
A1 Viva Mexico
A2 Nunez Fruit Cocktails
A3 No-name hot dog stand
A4 El Mezcal
A5 Tito’s Tacos/Mario’s Nieves
A6 Nacho and hot dog stand
A7, 8 Green House Steaks
TRY IT Tortas ahogadas—bolillos (short baguettes) stuffed with skirt steak and pickled onions then drenched in red enchilada sauce
A9 Maxwell Street Market Polish & Burgers
A10 El Güero
TRY IT Birria y consommé—lamb or goat stew in broth served with tortillas, cilantro and onion
A11 Rinconcito Salvadoreño
TRY IT Pupusas —griddled pockets of masa stuffed with cheese, chicharron or refried beans, served with pickled slaw and chunky, spicy red salsa
A12 Birrieria Calvillo
TRY IT Birria platos —a plate of chile-fragrant lamb or goat stew topped with a thin tomato salsa, onions and cilantro, or the al pastor (spit-roasted pork)
A13 Chavez Produce
A14 Tamales Oaxaquenos
TRY IT Chicken tamale—soft corn tamale stuffed with shredded chicken then steamed in banana leaves
A15 Manolo’s Tacos
TRY IT Mole—a rich, thick sauce made with ground chile pepper, seeds and Mexican chocolate, served with pork in a taco or a stew
A16 Restaurant La Paz
A17 Chavez Produce
A18 Deliciosos Cokcteles/Ricos Huaraches
TRY IT Camarones y pulpo coctel—tomato-y broth loaded with shrimp, octopus and avocado—or huaraches, giant oval-shaped masa paddles topped with beans, cheese, salsa and more
A19 Rubi’s Tacos
TRY IT Tacos al pastor—homemade tortillas wrapped around spit-roasted pork and diced pineapple
A20, 22 Arroyo’s Tacos
TRY IT Buche or montalayo taco—lard-fried pork stomach or sheep offal sausage in a tortilla.
A21 Taqueria la Flor de Mexico
A23 Taqueria dom Toño<
A25 Lencho’s Tacos
TRY IT Carne asada taco—marinated, charcoal-grilled skirt-steak taco topped with onions, cilantro and housemade red or green salsa
A26, 28 Hernandez Tacos
TRY IT Papas con chorizo—griddled potatoes mixed with spicy, vinegary chorizo
A27 Garcia Tamales
A29 Roach Coach
A30 Tacos Bernardo
A31 Tacos D.F.
TRY IT Cecina taco—corn tortilla stuffed with thin sheets of marinated, thinly sliced grilled beef
A32 * Unclaimed
Looking for your favorite nut guy, produce stand or Bertha the spice lady? Those stands are located in the orange zones at left.
*Attention fledgling street-food hawkers: Once the dust settles from the move, the market’s advisory committee will consider requests for new food-vendor licenses for unclaimed spots, and word is, it’s looking for more diverse (read: non-Mexican) food offerings. Now’s the time to dig up Nonna’s cannoli recipe.