Mercadito Hospitality loves to keep people guessing. The avante garde restaurant group does a masterful job of reinventing itself with each new concept, from the taco-centric Mercadito to the tapas-based Tavernita, and eclectic offerings at Little Market Brasserie. Mercadito Hospitality is basically the Madonna of restaurant groups, re-emerging in a bold new way with each opening. Now with their newest endeavor due later this fall, the restaurant group offers its most casual dining destination to date. Mercadito Counter is also their most surprising iteration, a Mexican deli concept inspired by the Sandoval brothers' street food memories in Acapulco and corner store deli counters of yore.
(Mexican hot dogs, the one instance where ketchup isn't decried as heresy)
When Mercadito's casual sister spot opens this fall at 738 N. Clark St., it will feature a mix of Mercadito favorites and a slew of deli-inspired innovations, all in a fast-casual format unique to the Mercadito Hospitality formula of dining destinations in Chicago. Guests can get their fill of Mercadito's cultishly adored tacos, as well as nachos, quesadillas, and enchiladas. But it's the American deli-style fixtures that really stand out, as this is where Mercadito Counter exhibits its creativity. A deli menu offers to-go selections of guacamoles, salsas, Mexican cheeses, meats, tortillas, and prepared foods, while the food menu features the Mercadito burger topped with jalapeño butter and Manchego cheese, chipotle onion rings, gordita sliders, and a variety of hot dogs, including the bacon-wrapped Mexican dog laden with pico de gallo, jalapeño relish, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and crispy bacon, and the deep-fried Mole-Q dog ensconced in mole barbecue sauce, green tomato-jalapeño slaw, a trio of mustards, and crispy onion strings. Mercadito Counter will also serve breakfast all day, with options such as huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, and chilaquiles.
(Quench your agua fresca cravings at Mercadito Counter this fall)
For the Sandoval brothers, Mercadito Counter represents the merging of two distinct styles of comfort food, both with casual streetside origins. Considering Chicago's Mexican population, the idea for a place that melded the two genres was the perfect segue into the casual dining sphere.