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Nuevo Leon Destroyed After Flames Tear Through Pilsen Mexican Mainstay

Owners hope to rebuild.

Nuevo Leon
Nuevo Leon
Chicago Fire Department
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Sad news for a Pilsen mainstay, as an early-morning fire destroyed Nuevo Leon, the very popular 53-year-old family-owned restaurant. It happened around 12:30 a.m., as flames gutted the three-story building, also spreading next door to tortilla makers Sabinas Food Products, according to the Chicago Fire Department. No one was hurt, and the Mexican restaurant's owners have vowed to rebuild.

The fire's cause remains under investigation, reports the Tribune. Daniel and Maria Gutiérrez own the restaurant, and their son was in the second-floor office after closing on Tuesday night. He smelled smoke and called the fire department. About 100 firefighters finally extinguished the fire around 3:30 a.m., after 39 companies responded to the extra-alarm blaze.

Nuevo Leon's popularity extends to nearby residents and a slew of Chicago chefs. With dishes like pollo en mole, the restaurant routinely makes lists of Chicago's top Mexican restaurants, such as Eater Chicago's 15 great Chicago taco spots and Saveur even recognized Nuevo Leon's culinary excellence. The restaurant employed about 40. Stay tuned if there's any fund-raising campaigns launched to help them this holiday season.

Nuevo Leon Restaurant

1515 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (312) 421-1517 Visit Website

Sabinas Food Products, Inc.

1509 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (312) 738-2412 Visit Website