Photo by Gisela Orozco

It’s a place of homemade Mexican food, where the specialty of the house are the gorditas, but the mole is an equal culinary gem. Gorditas La Tía is special for both its menu and its history.

It was the creation of Doña Estela González, who with her family migrated from Irapuato, Guanajuato (Mexico) in the 1990s, during a time when the devaluation of the Mexican peso led many Mexicans to come to the U.S.

“We came to this country like any immigrant family,” recalled Claudia González, daughter of Doña Estela. “We lived in La Villita, in Cicero, and we always worked in the restaurant industry.”

The family always worked together. Claudia said that in the restaurants where her mother worked, there was always a nephew or relative in the kitchen and they always called her “aunt.” The name stuck as a show of affection and trust.

When Claudia and her sister Michelle were students at Kennedy High School, they started working in restaurants, first as hostesses and then as waitresses. Then their mom had the idea to start a food business.

“At first we didn’t know what was happening,” Claudia recalled when her mother gathered her daughters, her husband Miguel Ángel and their son, Miguel Ángel Jr., to announce that she wanted to open a food business. 

The first location of Gorditas La Tía was located on 47th and Harlem Ave. Claudia remembers that it was very small and that there was no parking space, but it worked for a while due to the seasoning and dedication of her mother, who although she didn’t have a background as a cook, she found in the kitchen not only her sustenance, but also the way to maintain her identity and traditions.

In 2016, she moved to the home she now owns in Clearing. Her customers followed her from the previous location and has gained new customers at this location, made up of not only Mexican paisanos, but also of Poles, who prefer her cheese and jalapeño tamales over everything else.

The restaurant’s dishes have that homemade touch. Doña Estela’s gorditas are not just any gorditas. When customers ask for them, they are made right then and there. They are neither frozen nor pre-prepared, they are shaped from corn dough and cooked when the customer orders them.

Doña Estela’s mole, which is served in different ways, deserves its own mention. One of the most labor-intensive Mexican dishes and whose flavor varies according to each Mexican state and region, Gorditas La Tía has a special seasoning, a sweet and spicy flavor that is pleasant and enjoyable to the palate.

“When my mom said, ‘I want to sell mole,’ she started experimenting with ingredients. We ate mole for two or three weeks,” said Claudia, amused. She “was searching and finding her seasoning.” 

“Same with the flor de calabaza (pumpkin flower) quesadillas, the peanut gorditas, the food that she grew up eating and that today she shares with everyone who comes.”

What Claudia admires most about her mother is that for Doña Estela the most important thing is to see that visitors enjoy her food. The place itself feels as if one is visiting the kitchen of her own house. “We, the family, eat here. She is not going to lose the quality if she knows her family eats here. This is the family kitchen.”

And although it may be tempting for others to streamline the process of preparing something like gorditas, Doña Estela does not want to cut corners and compromise what makes her Gorditas La Tía one of the best Clearing spots.

“When we suggest that we should change the process, she tells us: ‘No. It stays this way. They are tastier this way. Tell the customer that we are going to take a while, but it is worth the wait.” 

“And the customers come back, and she fulfills their cravings,” she added.

Gorditas La Tía, 6425 W. 63rd. St. Monday–Saturday, 8am–10pm; Sunday, 8am–8pm. (773) 229-1153 or

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