By Erin Gibbons
2:56 PM CDT, April 10, 2012
After 42 years, the old El Cid taco place near Congress Theater in Logan Square is being reinvented.
Owner Jose Gonzales, who was born and raised in Cuba, bought out his business partners to pursue a new venture close to his heart: Paladar (2115 N. Milwaukee Ave.), a family-run Cuban restaurant and rum bar.
Gonzales has been working with a student of Nitza Villapol, known as the Julia Child of Cuba, to create a menu that’s “authentic with a twist.” Think black beans with apples, three different takes on plantains, ropa vieja sliders (shredded beef with peppers and onions), and a pulled pork sandwich with Cuban barbeque sauce called the Fidel. Sandwiches will be about $6, and entrees will range from $8-$18.
Paladar will freshly squeeze its own sugar cane juice – Gonzales said he thinks it’s one of the few restaurants in the state that has its own sugar cane machine – and its drinks list will be heavily rum-based, with rum tastings, different types of mojitos, and other rum cocktails.
Gonzales has completely updated the old El Cid space to reflect the changing neighborhood. “The place used to look like a diner or a taco place,” he said. “Now it looks more hipster. It looks nicer.”
In addition to opening at 11 a.m. for lunch, Paladar will continue El Cid’s tradition of catering to the late-night Congress crowd with a special quick-bites menu. Gonzales hopes to open in a few weeks.
El Cid 2, the outpost located at 2645 N. Kedzie Ave. will remain open.
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