In the Neighborhood: Chicago Taco Authority

Eric Rodriguez, Writer

Located next to the Irving Park Blue Line stop, Chicago Taco Authority (CTA) offers a place for people that need guidance when ordering Mexican food. Luckily for those people, CTA does the hard work and does it right.

CTA blends an urban, rustic environment with a plethora of playful train puns to make the restaurant feel alive. The place resembles more of a trendy pop-up restaurant than a traditional Mexican restaurant. That isn’t always a good thing, but CTA makes it work.

There’s a certain charm that’s established through the excess of small nods to Chicagoans, like the order signs resemble street signs, the telephone booth in the back and the once forgotten Chicago meter that lays right next to the entrance. Many of the aesthetic touches are small but appreciated the longer you stay.

Another subtlety that I appreciated from CTA were their drink choices. Not only did it have your average Mexican drinks like Jarritos and Sol, but even their Pepsi products were imported from Mexico. While the differences aren’t that drastic, the taste is noticeable. It’s small things like this that make CTA really shine.

Given the lack of choice involved in the menu, the food was surprisingly good. I am usually skeptical of taco places that don’t let you pick your toppings, but CTA does a good job of picking toppings that get to the heart of what makes each taco good. I had three different types of tacos and they were all fairly good. I had a steak taco with cilantro and onions, a taco al pastor, and a chicken taco with guacamole.

The most interesting of the three was the chicken taco with guacamole. While the taco was tough to handle, it had the most interesting taste and is definitely something I would order again.

Overall, CTA is a place that you should go if you’re around the area and want tacos in a good environment. It won’t be the best taco you’ve ever had, but it’ll be a place you know you’ll always have a good eating experience.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars