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.