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La Barca.

Every Chicago Restaurant Marcus Samuelsson Visits on ‘No Passport Required’

Where to find chicken with mole verde, carnitas, tamales, and more

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La Barca.

Chicago is known for its robust restaurant scene, and the city’s Mexican-American community is a major contributor to that acclaim. Throughout the United States, Mexican cuisine is often stereotyped as fast food, always made with cheap ingredients and served in casual settings. A new generation of Mexican-American chefs aims to negate this misconception, preparing Mexican dishes that are creative, complex, and served in a variety of atmospheres and at a range of price points.

In this episode of No Passport Required, chef and host Marcus Samuelsson heads to Chicago neighborhoods like Little Village and Back of the Yards to learn more about Mexican culture and food traditions in the area. Even through hardship and setbacks, especially surrounding DACA and immigration policy, Mexican Americans share their food and stories, exposing roots that are planted on both sides of the border. Here are the restaurants featured in this episode, listed in order of appearance.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. La Barca Restaurant

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3323, 1221 W 47th St
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 523-6443
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Artist Juan Michael Chávez takes Samuelsson to La Barca Restaurant, an all-in-one convenience store, butcher shop, bar, and taqueria. While dining on tacos de cecina and grilled cactus, Chávez shares his experience moving from the Chihuahua countryside to urban Chicago.

Tacos at La Barca

2. Mi Tocaya Antojería

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2800 W Logan Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647
(872) 315-3947
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Diana Dávila is the chef and owner of Mi Tocaya, and her fresh, creative menu is emblematic of a new generation of Mexican-American chefs. At the restaurant, she teaches Samuelsson how to make mole verde from scratch while discussing the complex and labor-intensive nature of Mexican cuisine.

Diana Davila at Mi Tocaya

3. Cremeria La Ordena

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5954 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60629
(773) 284-8300
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Cremeria La Ordena sells a wide range of offerings straight from Mexico, including dairy cheeses, dried chiles, and moles. Product importer Gerardo Fitz explains how the store is able to reach both younger and older community members through its commitment to preserving Mexican heritage.

4. Carnitas Uruapan

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1725 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 226-2654
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Inocencio Carbajal, co-owner of Carnitas Uruapan, started making carnitas as a child — and hasn’t stopped. He and his son introduce Samuelsson to their legendary pork carnitas and discuss the Mexican-American immigrant community’s triumphs, as well as its struggles.

Carnitas

5. Estereo

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2450 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 360-8363
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Ulises Martinez, an agave expert and the beverage director of Mi Tocaya, and his mother bring Samuelsson to Estereo for drinks. They explain the cultural significance of beverages like tequila and mezcal, and later chronicle their deeply personal and inspiring immigration story.

1. La Barca Restaurant

3323, 1221 W 47th St, Chicago, IL 60609
Tacos at La Barca

Artist Juan Michael Chávez takes Samuelsson to La Barca Restaurant, an all-in-one convenience store, butcher shop, bar, and taqueria. While dining on tacos de cecina and grilled cactus, Chávez shares his experience moving from the Chihuahua countryside to urban Chicago.

3323, 1221 W 47th St
Chicago, IL 60609

2. Mi Tocaya Antojería

2800 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647
Diana Davila at Mi Tocaya

Diana Dávila is the chef and owner of Mi Tocaya, and her fresh, creative menu is emblematic of a new generation of Mexican-American chefs. At the restaurant, she teaches Samuelsson how to make mole verde from scratch while discussing the complex and labor-intensive nature of Mexican cuisine.

2800 W Logan Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647

3. Cremeria La Ordena

5954 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60629

Cremeria La Ordena sells a wide range of offerings straight from Mexico, including dairy cheeses, dried chiles, and moles. Product importer Gerardo Fitz explains how the store is able to reach both younger and older community members through its commitment to preserving Mexican heritage.

5954 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60629

4. Carnitas Uruapan

1725 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Carnitas

Inocencio Carbajal, co-owner of Carnitas Uruapan, started making carnitas as a child — and hasn’t stopped. He and his son introduce Samuelsson to their legendary pork carnitas and discuss the Mexican-American immigrant community’s triumphs, as well as its struggles.

1725 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

5. Estereo

2450 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Ulises Martinez, an agave expert and the beverage director of Mi Tocaya, and his mother bring Samuelsson to Estereo for drinks. They explain the cultural significance of beverages like tequila and mezcal, and later chronicle their deeply personal and inspiring immigration story.

2450 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

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