Borinquen Restaurant (Humboldt Park)
The Puerto Rican restaurant is where Juan C. "Peter" Figeroa created the newest in the pantheon of messy Chicago sandwiches, the jibarito (pronounced "HEE-bar-ee-toe," pictured), in 1996. Inspired by the Puerto Rican emparedado de platano, Figeroa created his "little hillbilly" steak sandwich using planks of hot, crisp, fried green plantain instead of bread and layering grilled steak, melted cheese, crisp lettuce, juicy tomato and garlicky mayonnaise inside.
Today his original restaurant sells hundreds of them daily — with fillings including chicken, pork, ham and vegetables. Figeroa opened a second Borinquen location serving jibaritos, and his brother started Borinquen Lounge, but dozens of other Latin-American restaurants throughout the city have picked up the dish, too.
—Leah A. Zeldes