LOGAN SQUARE — Getting jibaritos from Jibaritos y Mas, the hugely popular Puerto Rican restaurant at Fullerton and Kimball avenues, just got a lot easier.
A little more than a week ago Jibaritos y Mas opened a dine-in spot at 3406 W. Fullerton Ave., just steps from the original restaurant at 3400 W. Fullerton Ave.
The restaurant for overflow customers is already a huge success, said co-owner Betsy Gonzalez.
The first day, Jan. 3, was “crazy” busy and business continues to exceed expectations, she said.
“We were blown away,” she said.
Yelitza Rivera opened the original Jibaritos y Mas in 2016 after nearly 20 years of cooking in other peoples’ Puerto Rican restaurants. Rivera is originally from Venezuela, but her husband is Puerto Rican.
“Since the first day I arrived to this country, I started working with Puerto Rican food,” Rivera told Block Club last year.
In just a few years, Jibaritos y Mas has become one of the city’s go-to spots for Puerto Rican food. The small corner restaurant is often jam-packed with lines out the door.
Rivera brought in Gonzalez, a close friend, to help open a dine-in restaurant next door to accommodate for the crush of customers. The new spot features its own kitchen.
The only difference between the dine-in spot and the original restaurant is the waitstaff.
“It’s the same prices, the same food, just more space,” Gonzalez said.
The dine-in spot is Rivera’s third location. She opened a second location at Harlem and Belmont avenues after the original restaurant took off.
Jibaritos y Mas serves authentic Puerto Rican food made with fresh ingredients. The traditional jibarito, a sandwich that is believed to have originated in Chicago, is the star.
Regulars say the restaurant’s appeal is simple: The food “tastes like your grandma made it.”
The dine-in spot, Gonzalez said, isn’t just attracting regulars, though.
“It’s not just overflow like we thought. It’s been new clientele, a lot of new faces,” Gonzalez said.
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