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Inside Cebu, Bringing Marinated Lumpia and More Filipino Delights to Wicker Park

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The North Avenue Filipino restaurant opens on Thursday

Cebu’s lumpia features marinated pork.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
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.

Cebuano cuisine, which showcases the Chinese and Spanish influences in Filipino food, is the focus at Cebu, an upcoming Wicker Park restaurant. Run by a trio of siblings, the restaurant is slated to open on Thursday inside the former American 2211/Birchwood Kitchen space at 2211 W. North Avenue.

Lumpia is a Filipino staple, and chef Malvin Tan said his are special because they take the extra step to marinate the pork, spring onion, and shiitake mushroom fillings. The showstopper may be the pork lechon, a pork belly that’s roasted for three hours. Some lechons lack crispy skins, and Tan doesn’t want to bum any customers out. He’s got some special tricks to ensure no one eats soggy skin.

Cybill Tan is the pastry chef. She’s making special versions of desserts like halo-halo and cream puffs with rum ice cream. Cebu is taking pride in making as much as possible in the kitchen. For example the bread for the baos will be baked onsite.

Cebuano cuisine is from Cebu City, where the Tans are from. It’s a rarity in America. Tan said he only knows of one other Cebuano restaurant in America. It’s in Delaware and called Philippine Smoked BBQ & Grill. The restaurant was recently in Eater National. Co-owner Marlon Tan is thankful to be opening in Chicago.

“Wicker Park and Bucktown is a great neighborhood: Vibrant and diverse and you have so many great restaurant over here,” he said. “We wanted to be part of the community.”

Take a look at the space and the food below. Cebu should open on Thursday in Bucktown.

Cebu has taken over the Americano 2211 space.
The corner of a simple dining room space with wood floors and white walls.
A welcome sign greets customers to the right of the door.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago
Eventually this counter will be filled with pastries.
The space has three taps, a full bar, and Filipino beer like Red Horse and San Miguel.
There’s a patio in back that’s not yet set up as the chef would like to eventually charcoal grill pork and other meats outside.
Lumpia from Cebu
Lumpia with a marinated pork, shiitake mushroom, spring onion, and carrot filling.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Pork skewers marinated with banana ketchup, dark soy sauce, vinegar, and calamansi.
Kinilaw (raw fish)
Chicken Adobo
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Chicken Inasal
Dulce cream puff with rum ice cream.
Halo Halo with shaved ice.

Birchwood Kitchen

2211 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 276-2100 Visit Website


2211 West North Avenue, , IL 60647 (773) 709-9153 Visit Website