EAST VILLAGE — A family-run Mexican restaurant from California that was featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" has opened its second location along Damen Avenue in West Town's East Village.
Since opening last week, reception has been good — something Sabroso! Mexican Grill's co-owner Perla Munoz says she's gauging based on people saying they'd like a carry-out container even for the smallest bit of food left uneaten.
"There is just a little bit left and they say, 'Please, I want to take it home'," Munoz said.
"We are working on the brunch menu right now, but so far we have Oreo pancakes and cottage cheese stuffed French toast," Munoz said during a tour of the 40-seat spot on Thursday with co-owner Luis Escobar, her boyfriend.
Munoz and Escobar said they wanted to bring Munoz father's Sabroso! Mexican Grill to Chicago, where Escobar is from. They described the cuisine as "American with a Mexican twist."
"Starting in California, what we have is healthier Mexican food and lots of veggie options. Dishes can be made with lower sodium," Munoz said.
Luis Escobar's brother Pablo Escobar, who serves as the head chef at Sabroso!, previously was the sous chef at Feast for 17 years before the popular Bucktown restaurant closed last year.
Sabroso! Mexican Grill opened in 2012 near Disney World and is owned by Perla's father Norato Munoz, who focuses on family recipes from Guerrero, Mexico.
Perla Munoz said that Sabroso! evolved out of the recession, when her dad lost his job in another industry and Luis Escobar, whom she knew of through mutual friends for several years but did not start dating until she met him while he was on a road trip to California, tasted her father's cooking and convinced him to open a restaurant.
Drawing its name from the Spanish adjective that means tasty or yummy, Sabroso's expansive menu features tacos, enchiladas, burritos and tortas and other items.
Perla Munoz said that her favorite dish is tamales, which are made from scratch and contain a 50-to-50 ratio between meat and dough.
"I love our tamales, they are different than other tamales here [in Chicago] that are mainly dough with a little bit of meat," Munoz said.
The restaurant is BYOB for now but is considering adding a draft beer program featuring Mexican beers like Corona, Tecate and Modelo down the road, Munoz said.
A dog-friendly outdoor patio is shared with the neighboring Bricola restaurant, which closed earlier this year. A life-sized horse sculpture divides the Sabroso! Mexican Grill section of the patio from Bricola, which a spokesman for the building's landlord said could be reopening again soon.
For more info, visit Sabroso! Mexican Grill's Facebook page, or call 773-253-5001.
The menu, page one. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
The menu, page 2.