JacksonSouth Loop

Popular Pilsen Restaurants Filled with History, Murals

By Nikki Saviano and Jackie Terrazas

Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019

There are so many places in the city of Chicago to eat great food, but in Pilsen offers more of a cultural experience. 

There are several places in the lower West Side neighborhood that offer a variety of delicious food and so much history. Pilsen is decorated with beautiful murals for passersby to admire on their way to and from dinner.

Along with Mexican “Loteria” cards painted with vibrant colors on the doors of shops and restaurants, there are 11 different doors throughout Pilsen and five different artists as well. 

Read: Timeline of Pilsen restaurants

Canton Regio

When craving Mexican food, Pilsen would be the right place to visit. Canton Regio, an authentic mexican restaurant located in Pilsen and comes from a tragic story.  Before Canton Regio came about, the Gutiérrez family owned a small storefront called Nuevo Leon.  Nuevo Leon first opened in 1962 and in 2015 it burned down. 

Nuevo Leon was one of the most popular places to eat in Pilsen, even though it was just a small storefront.  Nuevo contained food made from scratch and everything handmade, this was the place to get your taco and guacamole fix.  After Nuevo Leon burned down, the family decided to invest in something new.   

Canton Regio, which opened in 2015 by the same family owners of Nuevo Leon.  Canton Regio still has an authentic mexican feel to it, along with award winning recipes and housemade salsa.  Canton Regio is filled with great Mexican culture and the best part is that Canton Regio is a BYOB spot.  Canton Regio is just as popular and delicious when it was Nuevo Leon. 


1510 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Monday - Sunday : 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Frida Room

Frida Room is a trendy spot in Pilsen located right off the Pink Line that opened three years ago in August.  Angel Diaz, the owner of Frida Room, said it is a “comfortable atmosphere, there is a lot of art and music.”  They serve your traditional Mexican breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The most popular items at Frida Room is breakfast enfrijoladas, enchilada and molletes, said Diaz.   

They’re also are known for their tasty drinks too, you can also BYOB for mimosas. Frida Room allows music artists to come and perform or artists to come show of their art work.  Diaz was asked how he markets his restaurant. 

They only have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter but rely on the customers loyalty, Diaz said.  

 When walking into Frida Room you might notice the door to the left that has the Mexican “Loteria” on it as well.


1454 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Monday - Sunday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.


After eating a delicious Mexican dinner, dessert is always needed afterwards.  Xurro, which is located on 18th Street in Pilsen, is filled with crazy desserts. They’re famous for their churros which can be filled with all different kinds of fillings.  Not only do they have your traditional churro, but you also can get ice cream or milkshakes with the churros. 

Xurro started out as a dessert truck in 1996 and in 2009 the founder opened the first standing Xurro in Pilsen, along with two other storefronts as well in Chicago.  

“Xurro is not your average dessert parlor, it is unique and brings a new flavor to the area,” said Rosa Gonzalez, a former resident of Pilsen. “My favorite filling is Nutella, it is so sweet and delicious.”  


1710 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 


Although Pilsen is filled with delicious Mexican food, Pilsen also has a variety of American style food as well.  S.K.Y which is located on 1239 W 18th Street, is more of a upscale restaurant. 

Originally, the owner of S.K.Y wanted to open in LA but decided to go with Pilsen in Chicago.  Unfortunately, residents of the area were painting graffiti on S.K.Y with sayings such as “get out” and “get white people out of Pilsen.” 

Even with a lot of hostility toward the restaurant, S.K.Y still managed to get high ratings for its great food such as fried chicken, sea bass and steak. 


 1239 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Monday - Tuesday : Closed

Wednesday - Thursday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

Memo’s Chicago Style Hot Dog

When people come to Chicago, tourists typically look for the best pizza place or your traditional Chicago style hot dog. Memo’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs could be a great place to try the traditional Chicago style hot dog. 

Memo’s, located at 1447 W. 18th St., offers delicious American-style food, Memo’s is one of the many restaurants in the area that has the Mexican “Loteria” painted the door as well. 


 1447 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Monday- Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Honky Tonk BBQ

Craving Barbeque food?  Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen is known for its Memphis style real roasted barbeque food.  Honky Tonk BBQ can be found in Rosemont Illinois, but in Pilsen as well.  Their first location was in Pilsen because it is known to be a “vibrant family community.” Located in a former Czech music hall, Honky Tonk has live music, food and drinks.  


1800 S Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

Monday : Closed

Tuesday: 4 p.m. to midnight

Wednesday - Friday: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. 

Saturday: 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. 

Sunday: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.


Have a sweet tooth? BomBon may help with that.  BomBon is located on 18th Street in Pilsen and opened back in 2001.  BomBon is known for its signature cakes, chocolate cakes, cheese cakes and tres leches.  Everything here is made from scratch and is the perfect place to get a delicious cake for any occasion.  BomBon is another building that also has a beautiful mural on the side of the bakery as well. 


1457 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Sunday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Return to The Red Line Project

Feedback: Contact the reporter via Twitter or leave a comment below.


Social | Video