On opening day at Taqueria Chingón in Bucktown, the restaurant went through 40 pounds of steak and 70 pounds of pork al pastor; the demand exceeded expectations as they sold out of food forcing management to close the follow day to regroup. Chingón reopened on Sunday, December 6 at 2236 N. Western Avenue and is one of the most popular new restaurants in Chicago. Case in point: on opening day, food critic Michael Nagrant wrote “two hours open and @taqueriachingon might be the best taqueria in the city.”
Customers can only make their orders online, and for the first few weeks it’s been survival of the fittest to ensure who gets to order from a prime pickup time. The restaurant has three partners with the most well known being Oliver Poilevey of Le Bouchon, a popular French restaurant just a short drive away. Chingón gives Poilevey’s partners an opportunity to shine by using family recipes that spot light more than the basic chicken, steak, and chorizo that most taquerias feature.
Chefs Sotero Gallego and Marcos Ascencio are cooking up carnitas with pig’s heads and morcillo (blood sausage). These cuts aren’t as mainstream, but the Chingón team is pushing the boundaries. And that’s a challenge as the area doesn’t have a shortage of Mexican restaurants nearby. Quesadilla La Reina Del Sur, a vegan Mexican spot, is across the street. Birrieria Estilo Jalisco is right next door. Las Asadas and Arturo’s also stand a few blocks south on Western Avenue.
The tacos are stellar, with fluffy corn tortillas and flavorful-packed salsas. The pozole with pork shoulder is also satisfying, as is the ceviche made with octopus and shrimp. There are a variety of specials to look out for and items that aren’t on the menu. For instance, over the weekend the restaurant offered churros smothered truffled goat cheese.
The tacos remain the foundation. Vegetarians and carnivores can both try the al pastor. There’s a pork version and one made with celery root, onions, and portobello mushrooms. It’s a deep taco lineup and the sleeper may be the green chorizo.
It’s an ambitious move to open a restaurant during a pandemic, something the owners of Taqueria Chingón don’t lack. Take a look at the restaurant’s offerings and the space below. Taqueria Chingón is now open in Bucktown.
Taqueria Chingón, 2236 N. Western Avenue, order online for takeout.