WEST TOWN — Two friends who worked in Chicago’s restaurant industry for two decades have opened their own eatery offering Latin American food in West Town.
Dell’ Rooster opened last week at 1825 W. Chicago Ave., formerly home to Alba’s Restaurant.
Co-owners Carlos Garza and Miguel Tenesaca, who immigrated to the United States more than 20 years ago and settled in West Town, bought the Chicago Avenue space earlier this year.
Garza came to the U.S. from Mexico, Tenesaca from Ecuador. The two met working in kitchens all over Chicago, starting as dishwashers and slowly climbing the ladder, Garza said. Their restaurant is just a few blocks from where they lived when they first arrived in the U.S.
“We’ve been pursuing this for a long time. And finally we got it. And we want to keep growing and more importantly, you know, deliver the promise that we’re doing, and the promise is to serve really good food,” Garza said.
Dell’ Rooster offers sandwiches, breakfast dishes and dinner plates inspired by food from South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and beyond. Menu items include a jibarito, the Puerto Rican sandwich invented in Humboldt Park, chilaquiles, and “Rooster & Son” enchiladas, which come with chicken and a fried egg.
“It’s all over the map,” Garza said. “We have some dishes, traditional dishes from South America, Central America, and some others to share, but it’s all connected to the same culture.”
Prominently displayed on the main wall of the restaurant is a massive rooster mural, inspired by the animal at the center of the restaurant’s brand.
Garza said they wanted to showcase the rooster because of its prevalence in kitchens and homes across Latin America. He also sees it as a symbol of hope and rebirth for their new restaurant.
“It’s like the new beginning when the rooster started clucking [at] five o’clock in the morning, it’s like the new beginning of the new day. So this is kind of like why we took over, to bring over the rooster. Which is faith, hope, strength,” Garza said.
Tenesaca and Garza extensively renovated the restaurant themselves, including updating the bathrooms and putting in a bar to serve cocktails, beer and wine.
Dell’ Rooster joins several Mexican and other Latin-inspired restaurants on Chicago Avenue. Tenesaca said he and Garza visited each of them to brainstorm how they could stand out and bring something new to the neighborhood.
“We want to deliver a promise of having something different. Not just a classic taco place … [we] want to serve something that is really really authentic and flavorful,” Garza said. “Soul-satisfying Latin cooking, colorful and flavorful.”
Dell’ Rooster is open seven days a week and serves brunch on weekends.
Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: