Taco shops provide a taste of home for Mexicans in Chicago

Chicago, Jul 15 (EFE).- In the shopping area of Chicago's La Villita neighborhood and its main thoroughfare 26th Street, where there are literally more than 100 restaurants, Mexican taco shops are perfecting their specialties and winning a niche among Hispanic customers.

Nine years ago Angelina Mendez was selling tacos on a street corner in La Villita, but with cops constantly demanding to see a permit allowing her to sell outdoors, she decided it was better to open a small taco shop. She called it La Chaparrita.

Located in a grocery store at the corner of Whipple and 25th Streets, the taco shop originally consisted of only two serving windows and seven benches for customers.

She now has a bigger place that allows customers to enjoy their tacos Mexico City style, and is patronized by more than just Hispanics.

Tacos are also the specialty at Los Barrilitos, some eight blocks away on 25th Street, close to Central Park Avenue in the same teeming Hispanic neighborhood of La Villita.

Owner Rafael Salazar told Efe that he opened his taco shop here two years ago and has won a faithful clientele.

What the owner says is evident in the number of people waiting for their orders as the cook Castillo, all dressed in black, gets their takeout tacos ready.

Salazar told Efe that every Wednesday and Thursday the establishment is full of people because on those days, each taco costs only a dollar.