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Sep 26, 2001 04:44 PM

Hounds!!! Does anyone remember "La Choza?"

  • r

this was a mexican restaurant on paulina, not far from the howard el stop. it was run by a man named sylvester from oaxaca and had been around from the lates sixties at least (my parents were going there before i was born...) they had great kamoosh, steak oaxaca, orange soda in bottles, jolly ranchers on the way out, and a table top pac man in the side room. i grew up on that food since my parents would take my sister and i there monthly. we all miss it horribly...the closest thing that comes to it imo is nuevo leon, but it's not la choza. does anyone remember this slightly seedy but wonderful place??

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  1. Si, how about Mini-max!

    4 Replies
    1. re: el panzone

      could you please add some details? i am not familiar with mini-max...hablas espanol?

      1. re: rhiannon

        Mini-max was a grocery store on Webster back when the area had yet to be yuppified. There was a little rest. in back and it was great. A definite chowhound find.
        And yes, I sure do remember La Choza. It was my first Mexican food and we often used to go there almost every weekend. The price was right for still being in high school and it was BYOB, which was also just right for an early alcoholic start.
        I fondly recall the kamoosh, the pollo en mole and the flautas. Thanks for the memories.
        But does anyone recall La Siesta on Halsted. Man, they had the best salsa ever. I hear he owns a cuban? rest now? Any word fellow pups?

        1. re: bryan

          I remember La Choza every time I look down on it's old site from the el. It was the first Mexican food I ever ate anywhere. First salsa, first, flauta, first sight of refried beans or a beer with a lime in it. I was an undergrad at Northwestern and trips to Howard St. seemed vaguely dangerous - trips to La Choza also dangerous, but less vaguely so. There were several times that we'd arrive and find the place closed w/ health violation notices up. (And this was neither an era, nor a neighborhood where the health inspectors were particularly vigilant.) We'd always come back, but also joke about the suspicious absence of any stray dogs in the neighborhood.

      2. re: el panzone
        Vital Information

        Boy, I remember mini-max, with the grocery store in front. I remember when webster really seemed like a tough street! The whole experience felt so adventurous, and the food was pretty good too. I especially remember the goey, messy, queso fundido.


      3. Where is Nuveo Leon and what's similiar?

        1. I remember La Choza. Nice backyard and decent food but when they closed there were those dumb dog meat rumors that probably weren't true.
          Rather than recommend Nuevo Leon which has been riding too long on the "real Mexican food" recommendation among gringos, I would suggest any La Condesa or Los Comales location in the city and for good homemade flour tortillas Polo on 18th street. My favorite place for Mex on 18th, though, is Carnitas Urupan (not far from Wood Street) where you can get great fresh tacos, fresh carnitas (for there and to take home) as well as a nice nopalito salad and cold jarritos. Get there early on weekends.

          1. Yes. It didn't really stand up to another lost treasure from the mid-70's (probably before, but that's when I landed here) in the 500 block of N. State called La Posada del Rey, that had a nice dark little restaurant in front serving mole and other sauces not much seen, with a pool table and bar in the side room.

            1. Good God, yes! Had my first-ever chile relleno there, and found out about many other things oaxaqeno (forgive the spelling if necessary!). It only FEELS as if it was a century ago! Have you tried Lupita's in Evanston, on Main just west of the CNW tracks? That's where I go when I cannot live one more hour without some really fine Mexican.