Like every other Midtowner, and the small group of old people who can remember dining at the Chicago Pizza Factory, I have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Chiwawa.
Taylor Berger, one of the owners, invited me to a tasting over Spring Break so Jiro and I got a sneak peek of the amazing rehab and a taste of the very tasty menu.
Warren actually went by on Saturday night for some drinks and a nosh with a friend, so I decided we all needed to go for dinner last night. I thought if we went at 6:00pm, we'd beat the rush.
Luckily for Chiwawa, but not for us, they were packed. The host told us there would be a 20 minute wait. Feeling hungry and not into waiting, we asked to be seated on the patio. We immediately regretted it because it was a little too chilly to sit outside, but we toughed it out!
We were not the only crazy people sitting on the patio.
Our host gave us menus and immediately informed us that the taco prices had been lowered to $3 each instead of $4. He also said we coudl egt 4 tacos for $10. I was glad to hear it since earlier in the day, a friend had sent me some Yelp reviews complaining about the cost of the tacos.
Our server soon followed asking for a drink order. We did waters all around, although judging from the very crowded bar, there are plenty of more exciting drink options! As soon as we sat down, Satchel (age 10) asked if Chiwawa turned into a bar at night like Slider Inn. Warren questioned the ashtrays on the patio tables, but I guess you can allow smoking outside anywhere despite the 21 and up rule?
It took us awhile to decide what to order. Jiro (age 8), who did not want to come (this is his default no matter what the activity) said he was only eating french fries, since he had tried and liked them at the tasting. I told him they had a bacon wrapped hot dog and he immediately amended his order. Satchel really wanted to have some carnitas tacos or something exciting, but in the end asked for a plain hot dog. Warren ordered tacos al pastor and tacos de hongas, with plans to eat half of my Chiwawa dog. I also ordered a salad.
The waiter asked if Satchel wanted his own order of fries, but I said, "For $6 I am assuming it's a pretty hearty serving, right?" And he said, "Right."
Jiro entertained us while we waited.
The food came out pretty quickly and we dug in. Jiro immediately pointed out that the fries were different from the tasting. Before they were shoestring. Now they are a natural cut with cotija cheese. The ketchup is gancy--I am forgetting what they put in it, but it has a kick. I asked for regular ketchup for the monkeys and they brought it right out.
Jiro didn't really care about the fries, because he had a huge bacon wrapped hot dog to eat. And eat it he did.
Satchel was not expecting the hot dogs to be so large. He had a cup of Ramen before we left the house and could barely get through half of his.
I got my Chiwawa dog the way it is meant to be served--with pineapple and avocado and salsa. Yum.
I cut it in half right away otherwise I knew I wouldn't share with Warren as promised. It was really good--and I am not a hot dog person. (Yes, I know, thats' what she said.)
My salad was very nice, but a little light on the corn and black beans. I think I was picturing something esle. With some chicken added (which is an option) it would be a good lunch.
Warren's two tacos looked very pretty. He said they were good, but not as flavorful as he would have liked.
All in all, we were very pleased. We had no leftovers, but if we did they would not have been packaged in styrofoam as Chiwawa is Project Green Fork certified.
Our total bill was $36.
I can definitely see us spending a lot more time at Chiwawa, especially when patio season officially begins. I will also keep it in mind for late night dining, as it is open until 2am.
Brad Tedford, the manager, says they will be adding tables to the patio area near the beautiful new sign next week.
Taylor has also promised to serve tequila sno cones this summer. No way I am missing that!
p.s. They have added a kids' menu! It's printed really tiny on the bottom right of the menu. $5 for a hot dog, corn dog, or quesadilla. Includes a small side and a drink.