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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Tropicuba Cafe Opens Second Location, Bringing Cuban Food To Portage Park

The restaurant at 5606 W. Irving Park Road serves a variety of Cuban sandwiches, entrees, empanadas and appetizers.

Tropicuba Cafe opened its second location at 5606 W. Irving Park Rd. June 25.
Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
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PORTAGE PARK — A Cuban restaurant in Logan Square is bringing its cuisine to Portage Park.

Tropicuba Cafe opened its second location at the end of June at 5606 W. Irving Park Road. Its original site in Logan Square opened in 1995 at 3000 W. Lyndale St.

“It’s a new area for us, and we are excited and grateful that people have welcomed us so nicely,” said manager Daniela Hernandez, who also oversees the Logan Square location. “Everyone that has come in has said that they are really excited and happy we are” here.

Nestled between a Little Caesars and a 7-Eleven with a colorful mural depicting a Cuban beach and sunset, the restaurant sits near a busy intersection and across from Portage Park.

The restaurant used to be home to Mexican joint De Mucho Gusto Taqueria, but it closed at the end of May after a short time in the neighborhood, she said.

Hernandez’s father, who is from Cuba, met the previous owners at another job and decided to buy the storefront after hearing they were looking to sell. He took over the property June 1.

“The opportunity was too good to pass up for him,” Hernandez said. “We took the risk, especially after the pandemic. … We are lucky we are still here.”

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Tropicuca Cafe’s second location at 5606 W. Irving Park Rd. has red and orange chairs for an inviting interior that matches its exterior mural.

Tropicuba is known for its Cuban coffee, steak sandwiches and jibaritos, as well as meat and fish entrees fresh off the grill, empanadas and all-day breakfast. The cafe also offers vegetarian options, including signature Cuban appetizers like sweet plantains and fried yucca.

Hernandez hopes the extensive menu, which can be ordered online or through third-party delivery apps and is available for catering, will attract new customers in the Northwest Side, since the Logan Square restaurant has been a success.

The restaurant’s sign has yet to be installed, but people have still noticed the eatery and stopped in, Hernandez said. She said some loyal customers even have come to visit from Logan Square. She looks forward to getting involved with the neighborhood once they settle in.

Hernandez said said the main goal of the team is to bring “hearty, at home, family food” to Portage Park and make people feel comfortable.

“It’s lot of portions for a cheap price, and we want to make sure that everyone has access to the food,” she said. “You will always have leftovers, and there’s always so much flavor to it. We want everyone to feel welcome and like they are at home [eating] grandma’s cooking.” 

Tropicuba is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

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