Photo by Emily Soto

This restaurant can be overlooked when you’re driving down Archer Avenue, but I suggest you pull over. Tucked away on a side street, this restaurant might become one of your top taco spots. The decor is also one of my favorites. They have adorable Ty stuffed animals as part of their cashier area. Whenever I pay, it reminds me of being in Mexico before I step back into the rest of Chicago. There’s a lot of love that goes into this establishment from the food to the small details. The decorations during the holidays also make the place stand out. 

Los Chepes truly serves it all when it comes to regional Mexican Food. Their handmade tortillas are the cherry on top and what sets them apart. There is nothing like the softness of fresh masa (corn dough) when you bite into it. Masa is truly a gift from the ancestors for many Mexican and Central American communities and descended from thousands of years of culture. Eating the tortillas is worth the trip alone. However, if you want more than just masa, the menu is packed with options. The proportions are hearty and will leave you filled to run a marathon. Some of the meals, like a quesadilla, are as long as the length from your wrist to the tips of your fingers. You can definitely taste the amazing flavors of Mexico in Chicago. I also love this place because they sell lamb which is very hard to consistently find. There is truly something for everyone in your group.  

Los Chepes also caters most of its menu and offers economical lunch specials as well. If you’re not sure what to try, the barbacoa de borrego y montalayo are wonderful options, and their carnitas estilo Michoacan are worth taking home to continue the delicious flavors at home. They also sell great combos. There is a deal for twenty-seven dollars that includes two pounds of carnitas, an order of rice, beans, salsas, and two liter soda. For thirty-nine dollars, you can purchase the same deal but have two pounds of barbacoa de borrego (lamb) instead. Both options are extremely reasonable. You can also keep it classic with tacos or a torta which never fails. You really can’t go wrong, but you’ll probably be back to try more. It’s definitely a neighborhood classic.

Carnitas & Barbacoa Los Chepes, 3116 W. Pope John Paul II Dr. Monday & Wednesday–Sunday, 10am–5pm. (773) 565-4105.

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