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Every man must decide in his life whether he will risk everything to succeed or sit back and watch the achievers pass by.
Mexican saying written on the walls of the two “Carnitas Uruapan” stores in Chicago.

Even with the Coronavirus health and an economic crisis hitting the restaurant industry and thousands of Hispanics who work there, the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) is aware of all the struggles and solidarity that fills us with hope in these difficult times.

Chicago’s famous restaurant, Carnitas Uruapan, which has two locations and employs nearly 40 people, made headlines across the Nation for its latest altruistic work, highlighting the spirit of our Hispanic business community and the desire to help those in need.

Even though many of its workers, as a result of the crisis,  have seen their hours reduced, it has not prevented Carnitas Uruapan’s entire team from finding a way to help those on the front lines who do not have enough money to deal with the pandemic.

That is how the #FeedFirstResponders campaign was born. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they distribute 150 lunches in city hospitals, supporting doctors, nurses, and cleaners who are fighting the Coronavirus.

“We want to motivate them,” says Marcos, representing the Carbajal family second’s generation, now responsible for keeping the Michoacán food tradition alive in the heart of our Chicago neighborhoods.

Beyond this brilliant idea, which on one hand serves to help and on the other strengthens the value of Carnitas Uruapan’s brand deserves their business story to be included in our blog. 

Tacos out of this world… with an amazing story

Food Network named Carnitas Uruapan as one of the top 5 taco restaurants in the United States, in the summer of 2015. Yahoo spread the news across the world and today tourists come from many places to taste its exquisiteness.

Even without tourists, their success was imminent with the Chicago’s Hispanic community; the quality of service they provide makes them they’re favorite.

It all began with Don Inocencio “El Güero Carnitas” Carbajal, who since childhood, in Uruapan Michoacán learned from his parents the art of food delicacy. When he arrived in Chicago, he took advantage of everything they taught him to make his way.

He first spent years as a meat loader, until he raised enough money to open his restaurant following his father and uncles’ tradition.

Working from dusk till dawn, with no holidays or days off for many years. “El Güero Carnitas” knew he wanted to work there until his last breath.

He’s been in Pilsen for 45 years, on 18th Street and almost a year in their new restaurant in 55th Street, which was his son Marcos idea, who’s taking the business to another level of expansion keeping their community’s good relationship and promoting the brand.

Marcos has big shoes to fill and at the same time, a great honor to be able to continue the family tradition that his father started so many years ago.

It’s become a Mexican community’s tradition in Chicago. It’s easy to say, but very important for us to continue my Dad’s legacy, said Marcos, who grew up in the restaurant and studied Economics at Michigan’s University and then an MBA at the Kellogg School of Management.

The high level of education allows him to manage a more prepared management team in his company and encourage hope for a secure future.

100% of Mexico’s taste

An important addition at Carnitas Uruapan is their freshly made tortillas, cooked in a special machine imported from Mexico, raising to a high level of quality to each taco they serve.

The business cooks 14 thousand pounds of meat per week, using pork’s belly, skin, and ribs, either in chicharrón or in carnitas.

In Mexico, the tradition of eating carnitas on weekends comes from the markets. The stalls only operate from Friday to Sunday where people line up to buy.

The same happens in Chicago, where the Carnitas Uruapan team always gives a taco to each customer who lines up on the weekends to take home this delicacy.

In the Mexican decoration of its restaurants, the original Purépecha ethnic group original masks illustrations, from Michoacán, stands out the dance of the old men. A tribute to a regional tradition that has been present in Mexico’s culture for centuries. The children wear old people’s masks and dance as the oldest men did centuries ago. They danced with their canes as an offering to the God Sun, which in the Michoacán’s region is called “Tata Jurhiata”.

You can also see textile color patterns seen in Mexico, emblematic of the rebozos worn by Michoacán women who sell crafts in the streets.

Help them to help others

Those interested in donating to this solidarity campaign or in receiving food donations can send an email to or visit Carnitas Uruapan in Pilsen (1725 W. 18th St.) & Gage Park (2813 W. 55th St.).

For additional information, call 312 296-7884

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