Looking down Clark Street Sept. 22, it didn’t look much different than any other day — cars zoomed by, rain drizzled down and people huddled under umbrellas to stay dry. But every so often, a group of people looked down at their colorful cards to find a list of Taste of Clark Street restaurants — indicating these were not the average restaurant visits.
With 15 participating restaurants, patrons made their way down Clark Street sampling bits from each eatery along the way for a total $20 fee. Stretching from Devon Avenue to Touhy Avenue, Taste-goers walked off some of the calories they consumed and marked off each stop on the provided card keeping track of restaurants visited.
The majority of the restaurants were located on the north end between Farwell Avenue and Touhy Avenue so participants could pop in and out of multiple establishments easily.
Among that cluster were El Famous Burrito (7047 N. Clark St.), La Choza (7022 N. Clark St.), Urban Tables (6950 N. Clark St.) and Tamales Lo Mejor de Guerrero (7024 N. Clark St.).
Mexican restaurant La Choza served as a starting point of the event. Live music and a sign-in table where participants received their cards welcomed visitors. La Choza served a cheese enchilada drenched in sauce for the participants’ sampling pleasures.
Next door, Tamales Lo Mejor de Guerrero presented the choice of their selection of tamales with a spicy and mild version of the cheese and pork options. The mild pork tamale was flavorful without being overwhelming.
El Famous Burrito didn’t serve up samples of the namely burrito, but instead offered visitors a churro. Most restaurants handed out bite-size portions, but El Famous Burrito didn’t hold back with a full-sized churro, which was everything one could want from the famous Mexican dessert. The churro was crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and perfectly coated in a layer of cinnamon sugar.
Catering company Urban Tables (6950 N. Clark St.) served up an example of one of its fusion dishes — a Jamaican jerk chicken eggroll — and a homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
The eggroll burst with spice and flavor from the zing of peanut dipping sauce to the crunch of the wonton wrapper and the seasoning of the chicken. The mini pie offered a sweet, refreshing follow-up to the complexity of the eggroll. Each creamy bite was complete with the cool, homemade whipped cream.
Autumn Williams, the owner of Urban Tables, said she always pictured having her store located on Clark Street. She praised the Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA) not only for helping her start the business, but also organizing this event to highlight local restaurants.
“I thought because of the rain that that would limit participation, and it probably has some,” Williams said. “But the most exciting part to me is most of the people who come in aren’t people who knew about us or knew much about us so we’ve gotten a chance to tell our story and share with people who we are and what we do.”
The RPBA coordinated the event to promote local eats, such as Urban Tables, according to special service area manager for the RPBA, Carolina Juarez.
“It gives people an opportunity to experience the rich and eclectic dining culture in Rogers Park,” Juarez previously told The Phoenix. “There’s so many different types of food in Rogers Park, but you can almost taste all the different types all in one street, which is Clark Street.”