PILSEN — Owning his own restaurant was not a major life goal for chef Mario Lobos.
“It’s very strange 'cause I always promise myself I’m not going to work in the restaurant industry,” the chef at the new Pilsen restaurant Chimichurri said laughing. “My dad, when I was young, he always put me to wash the dishes.”
Since coming to Chicago nine years ago, Lobos, 31, hasn’t been able to get away from the restaurant scene. He recently sold Caminito Argentinian Grill, the Lincoln Park restaurant he opened two years ago, and on Monday, he opened Chimichurri, a traditional Argentinian restaurant at 1454 W. 18th St.
Vegetarians be aware: Chimichurri doesn’t kid around about its meat dishes. The restaurant is in the style of Argentinian fast food, which means plenty of steak and sausage to go around.
There’s the Choripan, a $5 sandwich with sausage and chimichurri sauce on French bread, which Lobos refers to as “traditional Argentinian soccer stadium food.” Or, if you’d rather have a big piece of grilled steak, Chimichurri gives you three different versions, all served with potatoes or salad.
But it’s not all meat and potatoes. There’s the spinach pasta ($9) with homemade flat noodles and a tomato cream mushroom sauce and pizzas made with a sauce from fresh tomatoes.
If you order one of the custom pizzas, the odds of you finding a green olive or two are good.
“We use a lot of olives in Argentina, so all the Argentinian pizzas is coming with olives. It’s a little bit different but it’s very good,” Lobos said.
Chimichurri also has about eight rotating flavors of gelato, which come in small ($2.50) and large ($3.50) sizes. Mango, coffee and dulce de leche were available Wednesday and Lobos said he’ll soon have one with whiskey and chinotto (mini sour oranges) and another made with a base of Marcella wine.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.