Mexico meets the Midwest at Chicago Style Taco Shop

Straight outta Chi-Town? Chicago Style Taco Shop’s Windy City Fries. Do it.
Photo: Steve Marcus
Jason Harris

When I first heard of Chicago Style Taco Shop, I didn’t understand. Do they serve deep-dish tacos? Is the al pastor topped with giardiniera?

After eating there, I still don’t understand what “Chicago-style” means in reference to Mexican food. When I asked the proprietors, they told me the concept originated in the Windy City, and certain meats like cecina, which is thinly sliced, salted steak, are quite popular in Illinois. Grilled yellow tortillas are also a Midwestern choice. And the overall influence of the food is from the Mexican states of Michoacán and Jalisco.

I’ll take their word for it. The food is tasty, and that’s all that really matters. The usual assortment of tacos is offered, along with the aforementioned cecina ($2), which has refried beans spread across the tortilla. I prefer to save the meats for a different dish, since the standout taco doesn’t require any dead animals. A chile relleno taco ($2.50) makes perfect sense, but is not often seen. The battered chile pepper gives a nice texture, and gooey cheese oozes out from inside.

The Windy City Fries ($5.99-$11.99) might be the most Chicago-esque offering. Crinkle-cut fries are topped with your choice of two meats (for instance, classic carne asada and sweet barbacoa). Pico de gallo, sour cream, Cheez Whiz and guacamole finish this monster off. The fries are crisped right to handle the rest of the show.

Chicago influence or not, there’s a reason you’ll find a line at lunchtime. This is just good food.

Chicago Style Taco Shop 3415 W. Craig Road, 702-406-0497. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

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