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Tuesday’s Taste of Pilsen will focus on ‘to-go’ options at 21 restaurants

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s festivities, organized by the Economic Strategies Development Corporation, will be a bit different than in the past.

Diners outside at Cantón Regio, 1510 W. 18th St., one of 21 restaurants taking part in ¡Buen Provecho! Taste of Pilsen on Tuesday, Sept. 28.
Cantón Regio, 1510 W. 18th St., is among 21 restaurants taking part in ¡Buen Provecho! Taste of Pilsen on Tuesday.
Sun-Times file

Local foodies will be able enjoy samples from nearly two dozen restaurants Tuesday at this year’s ¡Buen Provecho! Taste of Pilsen on the Southwest Side.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s festivities, organized by the Economic Strategies Development Corporation, will be a bit different than in the past.

The emphasis during the 3 12 hour event will be on to-go orders in hopes of minimizing large gatherings at participating restaurants, organizers said. Ticket holders will also be given maps and tote bags where they can quickly store sample-sized entrees prepared by the eateries.

“It is like trick-or-treating for adults,” said Becky Lopez, spokeswoman for the Economic Strategies Development Corporation. “Folks can take a walking tour of the neighborhood, take in our culturally influenced murals while checking off on the map what places they visited.”

Those handling food will be following COVID-19 prevention guidelines, including wearings masks, social distancing and washing hands. Last year, 29 restaurants partook in the Taste of Pilsen. This year, 21 signed up.

“We were on the fence of doing the event because of what’s going on,” Lopez said. “But we have been doing this for 12 years, and it’s especially important now because we want to bring awareness to Pilsen and let people know we are open for business.”

About 200 people are expected to attend the Taste of Pilsen, which kicks off at 5 p.m. and lasts till 8:30 p.m., Lopez said.

Carlos Garcia’s El Berrinches Restaurant, at 1807 S. Ashland Ave. has only been opened for seven months — right around the time the state’s shelter-in-place took effect.

Garcia said the Taste of Pilsen will be a great way for people to taste the restaurant’s gourmet-style Mexican food for the first time, although he didn’t want to reveal what item he would showcase Tuesday. Garcia did, however, hint, it will “probably be one of our signature tacos” and added, whatever it will be, “it will be good.”

Tickets for the Taste of Pilsen cost $25, plus taxes and fees, and must be purchased online, in advance on the Economic Strategies Development Corporation’s website.

A list of participating restaurants can also be found on the website.

Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.