22 Must-Try Latino-Owned Businesses in Chicago
Spread love, it’s the Chicago way.
Latino-, Hispanic-, and Chicano-owned businesses have always been an integral part of Chicago’s cultural and entrepreneurial fabric. However, many of these operations continue to reel from the effects of the ongoing pandemic, threatening community lifelines and weakening the opportunity for new businesses to grow. So, as National Heritage Month rolls through starting September 15, we’re making moves by spotlighting some of the community’s top purveyors of coffee, plants, beers, tamales, and so much more. Remember—good neighbors buy local, so here’s a list of 22 Latino-owned small businesses we love.
Humboldt park has a sleek new coffee shop, and they’ve been building community while brewing up delicious roasts for about a year now. Owned by power duo Antonio Scott and Ari Marie Scott, this cafe incorporates cultural flavors into their coffee concoctions. Case in point? Their signature Abuelita’s Latte, a blend of Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and, of course, a double shot of perfectly pulled espresso.
How to support: Stop by for counter service or order take-out online.
This market is a Chicago treasure, serving up grocery staples like bread, cheese, and produce from Argentina, Peru, and Brazil. The market also sports a butcher shop which specializes in unique regional cuts like Osobuco and Matambre. You can’t leave this Lakeview shop without a handful of hard-to-find Latin American treats, not to mention arguably the best homemade Argentine empanadas in town.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping.
Taqueria El Mezquite
If you’re looking for Mexican-style street food, this is your spot. The Cruz family runs this Pilsen gem, offering traditional family recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu runs the gamut from sweet custards to savory meat dishes like Cesos, Chicharron, and Tripas. And if you’ve never before known the joys of Tepache, fermented pineapple drink with a hint of cinnamon, they’ve got you covered—this place is known for making one of the best in all of Chicagoland.
How to support: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery via GrubHub and Postmates.
There’s more than one way to make a tamale, and Yvolina is here to prove it. Her tamales are not only exceptionally tasty, but incredibly unique when it comes to ingredients and style. Instead of corn husks, Yvolina wraps her masa creations in banana leaves and fills them with rich mole and meats, as well as offering a variety of farm-fresh vegetarian options like kale, squash, and eggplant. She also makes spectacular drinks to wash it all down, from sweet, creamy horchata to refreshing kale-mango juice.
How to support: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order delivery via GrubHub.
Casa Humilde Cervecería
Stashed in the sunny grounds of West Town microbrewery and barbecue mecca District Brew Yards, this cutting edge craft outfit is headed by Mexican-American brothers Javier and Jose Lopez. The pair started tinkering with homebrewing in their childhood Hermosa home, and soon realized they had quite a knack for the sudsy arts. Fast forward to today and Casa Humilde is churning out some of the city’s best brews, many of which pay homage to the brothers’ proud Mexican heritage. Standouts include the agua fresca-inspired Nopali, a 5% ABV Farmhouse Ale spiked with prickly pear and juicy hops, and the classic Maizal Mexican Lager, an easy-going porch pounder brewed with a bit of corn for a lingering sweetness and supremely dry finish.
How to support: Stop by for first come, first served seating, order take-out via Toast, or pick up their cans at your local beer supplier.
How to support: Reserve via OpenTable (Loop, Ravenswood) or order take-out and delivery online.
Soraya Rendon is behind this BYOB eatery, a perennial Michelin Bib Gourmand list headliner. Located in a garden unit of a short walk-up on the city’s north side, the spot has turned a neighboring passageway into a welcoming outdoor patio. Its abbreviated menu includes Grilled Pork Ribs, Mahi Mahi Ceviche, Flautas stuffed with chicken, and Empanadas filled with peanut butter for a sweet finale.
How to support: Reserve via Google.
Chicago’s only Costa Rican cantina has been serving authentic cuisine since 1990, so they definitely know what’s up. Helmed by Henry Cerdas, who took over the biz from his parents Gerardo Cerdas and Miriam Cerdas-Salazar, this family-run joint never disappoints. All their dishes are bursting with flavor, with plenty of veggie, seafood, and meat options to spare. If you swing by, be sure to bring cash (they’re cash-only) and beers (they’re also BYOB), or wine (and BYOW), or vodka (also BYOV) or… you get the gist.
How to support: Reserve via TableAgent or order take-out and delivery online.
Back when it debuted in 1991, this Colombian steakhouse had to sell Mexican food in order to bring in customers. Thankfully, the availability of Colombian food is growing in Chicago, and the now dual-location Las Tablas is standing tall as one of the oldest purveyors in the city. Along with hearty helpings of prime beef, there are plenty of options for vegetarians alongside a killer selection of margaritas to enjoy on the breezy outdoor patio.
How to support: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery via DoorDash (Lakeview, Portage Park), Uber Eats (Lakeview, Portage Park), Postmates (Lakeview, Portage Park), Caviar (Lakeview, Portage Park), and GrubHub (Lakeview, Portage Park).
Mi Tocaya Antojería
Chef Diana Davila sure racked up the accolades when Mi Tocaya Antojeria opened in 2017 and has since kept it up, as recognized by her James Beard Award nomination in 2019. The restaurant offers familiar Mexican favorites, lesser-known regional specialties, and original dishes inspired by the chef’s Mexican heritage. The enticing Steak Burrito is tribute to Davila’s burrito-rolling days at her parents’ taqueria, packed to the gills with chela-marinated grilled skirt steak, queso chihuahua, local black beans, and more.
How to support: Reserve via Resy.
Chef Gastón Acurio already operated more than 30 Peruvian restaurants around the world when he opened Tanta in Chicago. The hotspot features a menu reflective of the country’s Chinese, Japanese, African, and Italian makeup, with a $65 prix-fixe spanning everything from a seasonal Cebiche laced with octopus, shrimp, and crispy calamari to hefty Lomo Saltado (stir-fried beef tenderloin in a cilantro-soy sauce) plus a la carte items like vibrant sushi rolls, empanadas, and seafood creations. A festive rooftop happy hour every day of the week seals the deal.
How to support: Reserve via OpenTable, order take-out via Toast, or get delivery via DoorDash and Caviar.
Tzuco melds the vibrant flavors of chef Gaytan’s birth city of Huitzuco, Mexico, with classical French technique. Gaytan is the first Mexican chef to receive a Michelin star, and recently nabbed the prestigious Bib Gourmand distinction. Note that because seating is limited and the joint is always buzzing, reservations are required for both indoor and outdoor dining. (But don’t worry, it’s obviously worth the extra effort.)
How to support: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via delivery via Caviar, GrubHub, and Uber Eats.
5 Rabbit Brewery
5 Rabbit is the first US-based Latino-owned and inspired brewery. Founded and run by Andrés Araya, the company is named after the children of Mayahuel, the Aztec goddess of agave, AKA the base ingredient for tequila and mezcal. According to lore, Mayahuel’s lover, Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, buried her remains after her grandmother had her murdered. Myth says the first maguey plant bloomed from her remains, symbolizing life. Mayahuel mothered Centzon Tōtōchtin, a group of 400 rabbits considered the gods of drunkenness—5 Rabbit was one of the leaders of the 400. Legends aside, these folks make some pretty damn delicious beer.
How to support: Stop by the taproom for first come, first served seating and take-out.
Home to more than 700 tequila varieties—one of the biggest collections in the Midwest—Moreno’s specializes in supplying the city with hard-to-find Mexican spirits. Mike Moreno opened the original shop in 1977 and passed it down to his son, also named Mike. The younger Moreno went on to expand the operation by establishing the neighborhood’s only speakeasy: Osito’s Tap, a standout cocktail den accessed via a door in the back of the store.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping.
Hidden behind Moreno’s Liquor is Osito’s Tap, a speakeasy bar rich with modern Latin flair and a classic Chicago vibe. The neighborhood’s only covert watering hole, they also house a sprawling outdoor patio where guests can sneakily devour cocktails, bites, and 32-ounce growlers of beer to-go. Look for the Love Fridge to help spot the entrance.
How to support: Reserve via OpenTable.
The Diver is a tropical bungalow escape inspired by Mexico’s small, beachside towns. Tulum, Nayarit, and Baja make their way north into this 38-seater, serving up seafood staples such as ceviche, fish tacos, and aguachile alongside poolside-ready cocktails. A quaint outdoor lot has recently been transformed into a beachy oasis, allowing for additional seating at a safe distance.
How to support: Reserve via Resy.
Brew Brew Coffee and Tea
Brew Brew was designed to remind folks of their travels through Latin America. The cafe, which also serves up breakfast and lunch fare and pastries, is operated by the Medrano siblings who hail from Tijuana. Hit up either location for overstuffed tortas and signature coffee drinks (hello, Oaxacan Horchata Latte).
How to support: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out via Toast (Avondale, Pilsen).
Pan Artesanal Bakery
Imagine a piece of cake layered with Duvalín, a Mexican cream candy resembling soft fudge that comes in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors. Or a jamaica (AKA hibiscus) cheesecake concha. Better yet, what about a cheesecake inspired by Gansito, a sponge snack cake injected with marshmallow filling and strawberry jam, coated in chocolate, and topped with chocolate sprinkles. Thanks to baker Marisol Espinoza, there’s no need to imagine—she brings all these wild sweet treats to life. The bakery she co-owns with her sister operates Saturdays and Sundays until they run out of treats. Follow them on Instagram to keep up with specials.
How to support: Stop by for counter service or order take-out via Clover.
With more than 1,000 Mexican and American candies available for purchase at this 4,000-square-foot store, this is the Latin version of Willy Wonka’s gift shop. The store also happens to be the biggest importer of piñatas to the Midwest, with piñatas in the shape of Donald Trump, Corona bottles, and emojis hanging from the ceiling and lining the walls. Throw in all those bins of candy, and you’ve got one wacky dose of sensory overload.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or order nationwide delivery online.
Averlado Vergel has been selling a mix of fruit, chips, and frozen treats on the streets of Chicago for the last 15 years. When the pandemic shut down his foot traffic, he took his business to social media and offered to bring his product to people’s doors. With the help of his wife and family, he’s running a delivery service that provides summer favorites like elotes, chicharrones, and raspados to folks from South Shore to Rogers Park.
How to support: Call or text 773-516-3227 for take-out and delivery.
This boutique gym is a favorite among neighborhood sweat addicts. Founder Lou Centeno used exercise as a way to make it through a prison sentence and, unable to find a job after his release, he boldly turned his hobby—which he credits for giving him the mindset to turn his life around and help him beat depression—into a career. Consider us inspired.
How to support: Learn more, sign up for membership, and schedule an appointment online.
Jugrnaut Chicago is one of the city’s premier boutiques for all things streetwear. Brothers Manny and Roger Rodriguez co-founded the shop, which opened its doors in 2007, and steadily established themselves as the go-to spot for fashion kids, hip-hop heads, skaters, and anybody with an interest in street subculture.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or order home delivery online.
Plant Shop Chicago
Founded by Ozzy Gamez of Belize and Juan Quezada of Mexico, this North Side nursery specializes in tropicals, succulents, and cacti. However, they also sell a variety of houseplants via the company’s website, a gorgeously curated collection that’s restocked weekly and available for curbside pick-up.
How to support: Stop by for in-store shopping or order for pick-up online.