Broken English Taco Pub. Where were you in 2009?


Lonely nights in the Loop. Circa 2009.

On the day I moved to Chicago, I knew virtually nothing about the city. I found a place online in the Loop (downtown) that had an awesome roof deck, and was a short walk to work. I was sold. What I didn’t realize at the time (2009) was that the Loop was just about the most boring neighborhood in all of Chicago. It was practically a ghost town after 6:00 PM.

Neighborhood spots included a gourmet cheese & wine spot, a hot dog stand down the street, two Irish bars within stumbling distance, a decent buck-a-scoop Chinese place that inexplicably closed at 8 PM, and that was about it.

To make matters worse… there were no tacos to be found. Not just in the loop. No tacos anywhere. I mean, I heard there were places out in other neighborhoods, but nothing downtown. Without a car, and before Uber, those taco shops were super impractical. The few times I ventured out, I chose poorly. Nearly five years passed before I found a taco place in Chicago that I loved. Five years.

I found myself in my old stomping grounds a few weeks ago. Boy have things changed. The Loop is kind of happening now. As I walked past my old building at Lake and Wabash, I saw the most beautiful site. A taco place! A taco place that was like, 25 feet from my old front door. This same location was a crummy bagel shop back in the day.

I walked over to this place for lunch today. While I visited the Loop location, Broken English Taco Pub also has locations in Lincoln Park and Old Town. It’s not what I’d call an old school taco shop. More like a fancy taco and bar scene. I’m a fan of that kind of scene.

I can’t comment on the cocktails. It was a work day. But, the tacos are legit. I went with an order of the carnitas and an order of the fried chicken.

First off, the carnitas were delicious. Way too often, carnitas dry out and taste bland. These were juicy to the point of making a mess. Perfect. I was ready to anoint this as the best taco in Chicago until I tried the fried chicken taco. Think fish taco toppings, but with delicious fried chicken instead. Fantastic.

If this place had been around when I lived down the block, I’m not sure I would have ever moved. This is my new favorite taco shop in Chicago. Highly recommended.



Author: @tcar

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