The name “Pilsen” doesn’t exactly inspire images of Latin America. That’s the place where that beer comes from, right? Some city in the Czech Republic?
Yes, immigrants from that corner of the globe were the original inhabitants of this lower west side Chicago neighborhood, but overtime it has shifted identities. This is no longer an Eastern European enclave. This is firmly a barrio of Mexican-American immigrants and their second generation kids. The art is Mexican, the food is Mexican, you place your order aquí and you pick it up over ahí. Only Miami transports you to Latin America within the United States like Pilsen does, except the layout remains distinctly Chicagoan. You’ve got your rows of densely-packed single-family homes just outside the main strip, Calle 18 where there’s everything from the lavandería to modest-looking taco joints for a quick yet filling bite. Continue reading