Friday, January 14, 2011

Tio Luis

-Eating like a Mayan King in the Windy City

We take off today down Archer ave and into Brighton Park to a spot loved by the locals that's always serving up fresh sizzling plates of Mexican food to happy diners, it also has people coming in and out continuously for to go orders - Tio Luis. It's a real neighborhood type place that attracts families from nearby as well people who work near the area and folks from all other walks of life. When the doors open at 10a people are already arriving for specials from the early bird part of the menu and the place stay's serving customers thru lunch and into dinner. Like so many other great Mexican restaurants in Chicago it is a family run restaurant that puts out food that takes them back to home to their childhood flavors and brings that to all of us here.

a locals favorite in the Brighton Park neighborhood

Started in 1996 by a guy who spent time in the food service industry just like his father did and saved up enough money to eventually own his own place. The menu has lot's of the usual favorites from a taqueria but also Mexican breakfast plates and many of their favorite dishes from Northern Mexico too. It's a great spot to go out to for dinner at a reasonable price and they also do a heavy takeout business but I would rec dining in for the free chips and salsa. While the chips are just ok the fresh red salsa they come with is some of the best in the city.

Complimentary chips and salsa

-Got Beef? tacos de carne asada

Although many people call Tio Luis a taqueria, I would say it's more than that. But that doesn't mean people arent flooding into the place for the tacos. I was originally attracted to Tio Luis by an article in the Tribune proclaiming them to have the best steak tacos in the city. They are a popular menu item and if you choose to dine in around lunch or dinner hours you will see many people picking orders mostly with the steak tacos. I've been here mutiple times and I think the steak can be anywhere from just ok to pretty good. It's not ever great but never awful. You can order them as an app where they come in smaller tortillas or regular. Nowaday's I find myself getting the strip steak and beans taco over the carne asada when eating there.

Steak tacos from Tio Luis

Rating Scale 5/5

steak: 3
cilantro/onions: 4
tortilla: 4
salsa: 4

Score: 15/20

Strip steak & beans taco

So what's top notch then and why do I go? Well it's all about the carne en su jugo. The wonderful regional Mexican soup found in many spots around town but it still takes some searching. With this being wintertime I though now was the time for a post on Tio Luis since I find myself there for this soup during the cold months most often. If you're unfamiliar with this excellent Mexican steak soup served in beef broth you can check out the most informative piece of info on it by clicking right HERE and also click the "carne en su jugo" tag at the end of this post for past features on places that serve it in the city.

Carne en su jugo from Tio Luis

Like many regional food favorites from our states the various loved ones of Mexico's can vary and that's how it is for CESJ. most of the places in Chicago offering carne en su jugo come from Guadalajara. I happen to really like Tio Luis' CESJ due to it's nice deep beef flavored broth and also it's meat. The steak is a real hit or miss with a bowl of this stuff at most places around town. So while they're steak might not be the best for tacos (pretty lean) it works well in the soup. They also don't let the pieces of meat sit in the broth all day so that it becomes rubbery and provide you with all the proper condiments of which are very fresh and the bacon is always crispy. If you have never had a bowl of this wonderful Mexican soup and you love yourself some beef then what the hell are you waiting for? Tio Luis is a very good place to experience your first bowl of it.

The guts of the carne en su jugo

Tio Luis
3856 South Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60632
(773) 843-0098

Tio Luis on Urbanspoon

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