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The Early Word on Latinicity, Chicago's New Massive Food Emporium

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The mobbed Latin wonderland has arrived to mixed reviews about its food, service and operation.

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Sarah Joyce

Latinicity, the highly-anticipated Latin food emporium from chef Richard Sandoval, opened its doors last week to long lines and lots of hungry stomachs. So many, in fact, that it had to shut down last Sunday after accommodating more than 10,000 visitors in its first several days. The space features 12 food stalls, a full restaurant, bar and more, and here's what people are saying so far.

The good: With such a varied selection of vendors, there is definitely a lot to like. Surprisingly, sushi and ceviche is a hit as Gretchen W. says the volcano roll "tasted like it could be served from one of the best sushi restaurants in town and the ceviche classic was the perfect texture and flavor." She also thinks the carnitas are "tender and so delicious." Likewise, Roberto C. "could not get enough" of the sushi ceviche or butternut squash soup.

Karen D. is equally enamored with the soup and calls it "probably the best I’ve had in my life," while Michelle L. thinks the braised shortrib coca is "very tender and flavorful." At the burger stall, Brandon M. proclaims his sandwich to be "amazing." Finally, Sharon G. raves that everything is just "phenomenal" and "worth every penny."

The bad: Andrew Simpson of North by Northwestern is disappointed with his visit and thinks Latinicity "falls short on many fronts." Instead of his torta being freshly made to-order, it’s assembled with precooked ingredients and reheated on a conveyor oven. Simpson says the flavors "just didn’t mix" and it was "most definitely not ‘crispy’ as advertised – A really ‘meh’ experience." On Instagram, Steve Dolinsky echoes similar statements about the food: "some good, some meh, but it’s week 2 so cutting some slack."

Mallory Z. could also tell the tortillas "had been sitting out for a while" and thinks the food is "sub-par." Concerns about "overpriced" tortas are raised by Ilda H. and left Laura K. to sum it all up as "incredibly overpriced for poor quality food."

The service: As crowds packed the place over the weekend, issues were to be expected. Joshua W. waited 20 minutes to get inside while Vanessa R. says she spent most of her time "waiting in line" and calls the system "really inefficient and confusing." Despite a positive review, Kim L. also called the service "so bad" as "some of the people didn’t even know their own menu!" That’s a sentiment shared by Laura B., who thinks the staff "seems really unfamiliar with the food."


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