But thankfully that’s changing.
Witness El Camino, a SoCal-inspired Mexican spot in Bloomingdale, opening later this week.
The vibe: You’ll find it under a sign that says “YESSS Uniforms.” Don’t let that throw you. Inside, it’s basically a little East LA–style Mexican spot: a Spanish-tile bar, light fixtures modeled on lowrider steering wheels, a Virgin of Guadalupe painting, a... oh, just look at it here.
The lineage: It’s from the guys behind 1905, and it’s a similarly small space (50-odd seats). No rooftop here, but expect a patio come spring.
The move: A casual, no-pressure, catching-up kind of situation. With some friends who won’t mind trying a beer cocktail with house-fermented pineapple. Or cucumber margaritas with salted basil oil drops. Been a while since your last one of those.
The meal: Authentic, slow-cooked Mexican, like chicken tinga tacos, tortas and chilaquiles with chorizo, which you can get till midnight on weekends.
Aka taco hour.