PILSEN — After working in acclaimed eateries like Little Goat Diner and Dusek’s for several years, chef Mer Mansuria is striking out on his own.
Offering up affordable Mexico City-inspired street food “with some soul,” Mansuria opened Casa Indigo at 1314 W. 18th St. in the old Pizzeria Milan space in Pilsen earlier this month.
“We want to make a place for people to have a nice casual meal with your friends,” Mansuria said. “A good place to hang out, chill, and have good food.”
Casa Indigo’s menu spans breakfast, lunch and dinner and features specials influenced by his mother-in-law’s recipes, who originally hails from Mexico City but now lives in Pilsen. Highlights include pambazos (a bread dipped in a red guajillo pepper sauce and filled with papas con chorizo), a fried chicken torta ($9), fish tacos ($4), chilaquiles ($9) and a made-to-order “hamburgusto” ($8 single, $9 veggie, $14 double) with a habanero mustard made in-house.
During the winter months, Mansuria will serve up warm soups like pozole. Most of the ingredients used in Casa Indigo dishes are locally sourced, Masuria said, including items from Nuevo Leon.
“We want the best local products to make the best dishes possible,” Mansuria said.
Mansuria, who is Indian-American and whose wife is Mexican-American, fell in love with Mexican cuisine after moving to the area and tasting his first authentic taco. He has lived in Taylor Street in Little Italy and in Pilsen since he was 17.
The 36-year-old chef said the small, 25-seat restaurant has been a family effort — the restaurant’s team includes his brother-in-laws and longtime friends that he’s worked alongside at other restaurants in the city.
“The team is from here and we love that we are able to open up a spot in Pilsen,” Mansuria said. “I could not imagine living in or opening a restaurant in another neighborhood.”
While Mansuria is focused on making Casa Indigo a success, he has dreams of opening a larger restaurant in Pilsen, too — one that embraces the idea of open food markets found in Mexico City and in Europe.
“It’ll be an open kitchen and a bar where people can eat and watch live cooking…and another dining area,” he said.
In the meantime, the owner and executive chef is committed to making Casa Indigo a destination for all Pilsen residents.
“We want people to say let’s go to Casa,” Mansuria said. “We want people to be happy and full when they leave here.”
Casa Indigo is open from 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for brunch. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.
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