The syncopated chops of Atotonilco’s line cooks punctuate the taqueria’s blended sounds of diners, jukebox Mexican pop music, and smoothie machines with a steady rhythm. All four cooks stand behind an L-shaped counter at the far corner of the spacious dining room flanked by an array of meats: pork, chicken, beef, even tongue. Atotonilco is a Sunday lunch favorite for young church-going families in the neighborhood, often attracting large crowds. The taquerÃa, which stands at the corner of 57th and Kedzie, has twenty tables and two waiters, and a relatively fast turnover. Service is quick, and the cooks never stop for a moment’s hesitation between orders. Atotonilco offers eleven styles of taco ($2 each) ranging from their house special of steak, sour cream, and tomato, to chorizo, carne asada, aguacate (avocado), or frijoles (bean) tacos. Yet, despite the large variety, Atotonilco prides itself on one particular delicacy: tacos al pastor. Tacos al pastor, or shepherd’s tacos, are a Lebanese-style taco from the Mexican state of Puebla (a location with a large population of Lebanese descendants). Tacos al pastor’s chili-soaked, spit-roasted pork slices are a favorite among taco lovers. And Atotonilco’s al pastor proves worthy. Served in Mexican-flag-colored plastic baskets, each taco is accompanied by sides of the traditional garnishes, cilantro, lime and chopped onion. The sweet and spicy taco is complemented by one of Atotonilco’s many fresh fruit juices (the orange juice is freshly squeezed). In addition to their taco menu, Atotonilco also serves twelve different tortas, and for the brave, menudo, a Mexican stew made from tripe. Â¡Buen provecho!
Atotonilco TaquerÃa, 1649 W. 47th St. Open 9am-11pm daily.