A new initiative dedicated to Latin cuisines is bringing a delicious spread of deals to Chicago for two weeks this October, giving Chicagoans the opportunity to gorge on everything from quesabirria and ramen to Guatemalan-style hot dogs.
Latin Restaurant Weeks was created in 2019 to highlight Latinx-owned culinary businesses—including restaurants, bars, food trucks and caterers—with social media shout outs and other marketing tools, says Karinn Chavarria, who founded the initiative alongside Warren Luckett (if that name sounds familiar, it might be because Luckett also co-founded Black Restaurant Week). In turn, the restaurants create special deals and meals available for two weeks, which customers can browse on the Latin Restaurant Weeks' website. The project launched in Houston before expanding to Miami, and Chicago will be the third city on the docket, chosen based on market research and the city's diverse selection of Latin cuisines.
"Chicago has such a rich culture and history of Latinos in the city," Chavarria says. "So all those combined just make it a perfect recipe to make a restaurant week."
The lineup in Chicago this year currently includes 13 different restaurants and culinary businesses, including beloved spots like Tacotlan, Birrieria Ocotlan, Taqueria Chingon, Osito's Tap and more. Several of the chefs are still working on menu deals, but you can expect some pretty tasty options, like a ramen bowl, quesabirria, guacamole, chips and large drink for $20 at Tacotlan and a costilla taco—made up of short rib, a root veggie slaw, avocado dressing and salsa borracha—for $7 at Taqueria Chingon. Diner can also try shuko, a Guatemalan hot dog filled with sausage, guacamole, tomato sauce, hot sauce and mayo, from the food truck Latin America Cravings.
"When we think about Chicago, a lot of people think about Mexican food and possibly Puerto Rican food, but it's home to [food from] so many different Latin nations," Chavarria says. "We have a Colombian participant, a Brazilian participant, Costa Rican, Cuban, Peruvian. So it really runs the whole gamut."
Restaurants don't have to pay a fee to participate in the initiative, a change that organizers implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to help struggling business owners. This year, Chavarria says restaurant are still dealing with labor shortages and supply chain issues, so community business is just as important as ever. Chicago Latin Restaurant Weeks also coincides with the final two weeks of Hispanic Heritage Month, making it an especially relevant time to support businesses still recovering from the effects of the pandemic.
"In the upcoming years, we want this to be something that attracts tourism and really helps support these Latino-owned businesses, not just during Hispanic Heritage Month but throughout the years," Chavarria says.
Chicago Latin Restaurant Weeks will run from October 4 through October 18. An up-to-date list of participating restaurants is below, though 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 deals.
- Arepa George
- Senor Pan
- Birrieria Ocotlan
- Latin America Cravings
- Osito's Tap
- Taqueria Chingon
- Sabe a Zulia
- BryAnna's Restaurant
- Pan Artesanal Bakery