-Grubbing in Chicago
Latin American Fare with Flair in Logan Square
There seems to be no sign of a slowdown as far as restaurant openings in Chicago. New spots are continuously popping up and it can be pretty hard to keep up with all of them. It can also be tough to choose which spots to check out when there’s so many options but you should really put Omarcito's Latin Cafe near the top of your list while the weather is still warm. The permanent food trailer can be found just off the 3800 block of Fullerton near the border of Logan Square and Hermosa.
Omarcito's is ran by Omar Cadena. He’s an incredibly kind and super engaging guy, a first generation American of Cuban and Ecuadorian descent. He named his place in honor of his grandpa whom he shares a name with. Chef Omar spent most of his childhood in Chicago growing up in Albany Park and at also at his grandpas Logan Square jewelry store which is still run by the family it was sold to. After making the rounds at different restaurants around town Omar was approached by a developer looking for a tenant for a permanent food trailer that’s part of a community complex. The looks and feel of it all remind me of similar developments in places like Denver and Austin but the setup itself feels like a spot you might come across in Miami. A colorful food trailer serving up creative takes on Latin American classics with a musical playlist that matches the menu.
Sandwiches come on French bread supplied by a local wholesale bakery or served up as a jibarito. The steak sandwich (or jibarito) is distinctly Chicago. Omar grew up eating at the original Cafeteria Marianao on Armitage where the steak sandwiches were so popular they basically became a thing around town as other restaurants in the neighborhood started making similar sandwiches to those from Marianao. The steak sandwiches at Omarcito's are lubed with olive oil bc that’s how his grandma made them when he was a kid. To this day the steak sandwich is Omar's favorite menu item but don’t sleep on his fish sandwich. It uses crispy cornmeal coated catfish as its base and that’s matched with a wonderful family recipe Ecuadorian salsa criolla (tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice) and a special green garlic sauce. It’s a top notch combination of texture and flavor and it’s available as a sandwich or can be served up on some greaseless discs of fried plantains. The latter of which is a delicious mess.
You’ll find a couple specials at the end of the menu. Both of them have a Mexican background and come from the sous chef who has roots in Guerrero. The tacos dorados con pollo are an old family recipe of his that Omar wanted to put on the menu and rightfully so. These might be the best flautas in town. They’re made to order and they come out crisp and hot bc of that and they come with some deeply flavorful chicken consommé. I already know these are going to be calling my name on the first day we feel Fall in the air. That said I hope it doesn’t happen to soon bc that would mean summer is over. But luckily for Chicago, Omarcito's is a year round business.
Omarcito's Latin Cafe
3801 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647