It’s been 14 months since a fire burned down the Taylor Street location of Jarabe, one of the city’s premier taquerias. Jarabe especially excels with its morning offerings. Chicago isn’t Austin, Texas or San Antonio — or whichever city in the Lone Star State that created the breakfast taco. It’s hard to find a delicious breakfast taco in the Midwest, but Jarabe consistently comes through.
A location inside Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall in Chicago’s Medical District on the Near West Side kept the business afloat. Initially, brothers Teddy and Alexis Vejar vowed to reopen at the same location, 2255 W. Taylor Street in Tri-Taylor, but they would later pivot and search for a new location nearby. Alexis Vejar says inspectors never revealed the true cause of the July 2020 fire that started on a neighboring roof and spread. It was only ruled accidental.
The Vejars have good news after surviving the pandemic: They’ve found a space. A new location should open in early 2022 at 1104 W. Taylor Street in Little Italy, just down the street from the fire-damaged location. The new Jarabe will be larger with room for about 40 inside and a 20- to 25-seat patio.
Alexis Vejar also hinted at another location in the works that will be even bigger, a place where they’ll have room for a tortilleria. He’s not ready to announce details, but he and his brother are excited. He wants to make their next venue something his Mexican community can take pride in. They plan on expanding the menu beyond tacos and tortas.
“We really want to take this culturally to the next level over there,” he says.
Jarabe once had a location at 749 S. Western Avenue — which was the original location of Gene and Jude’s, the famous hot dog in suburban River Grove. Vejar says they served Sonoran hot dogs as a kind of tribute to the past tenant. The item could make a return in their new locations. Jarabe started as a food truck and has grown: “We had a few trials and failures,” Alexis Vejar says. “But everything happened for a reason, and we’re trying to take things a little further. We really want to do something special.”
Jarabe, 1104 S. Taylor Street, planned for an early January opening.