La Chaparrita Taqueria #1 - Chicago
Chicago is full of unassuming little eateries like La Chaparrita, unpretentious taquerias attached to grocery stores. This Mexico City-inspired one is based in Little Village, and it's been a staple in the neighborhood for more than six years.
There are only a few tables for customers to dine. You'll find asada (skirt steak), pastor (marinated pork) and suadero (boneless chuck) on the expansive taco menu, but most offerings are unconventional for the American palate. Cabeza (head), tripa (tripe) and sesos (brains) are a few of the more popular choices. Freshly made sausages are also one of La Chaparrita's specialty.
The restaurant allows no alcohol, but there are plenty of selections for specialty Mexican beverages. You'll find milkshakes, Mexican sodas and fresh fruit water containing papaya, strawberries, mango or melon.
Owner Angelina Mendez runs the daily operations at this location, plus she stuffs the sausages and seasons the meats based on a recipe brought to Chicago more than two decades ago by her mother (who owns the more family-style La Chaparrita #2 in Chicago Lawn).