La Pasadita – don’t blink there really are three of them

This was another accidental food hunt down the El Line. Originally I was sitting on the number 50 CTA Damen bus heading to Roscoe Village to pop in on the Roscoe Village Burger Fest. I had not read my dates properly and I was a day early so I stayed on the bus and rode it down to the Damen Blue Line stop. A quick consultation of my blog and I saw that I had not stopped off at the Blue Line Division stop yet and this was just a one stop ride from Damen so I jumped on the El and rode it down there. When I walked out of the station I had a quick glance around and just over the road I could see the yellow glowing signs of some sort of food joint so I headed over to investigate.

Now this was confusing I was seeing triple, not double, three places all called the same, La Pasadita, and they all seemed to be selling tacos and the like. One was on the other side of the road so I bypassed that one, the next two were next to each other but did not seem to be joined, the second one of which had some seats inside so I headed into that one. Entering the joint I see a sign with a question “…why are there three Pasadita’s on the same block?”. Why are they asking me, that’s what I want to know as well. Anyhow enough of that, lets get some food and I will find out.

I looked at the laminated menu and decided not to be obvious and just go for a taco, instead I went for one of the plate options a Tampiquena. This was essentially Flamed grilled skirt steak with two quesadillas, rice, beans, guacomole, sour cream, lettuce and tomato for $11.50. While I was waiting I was given a rather sad basket of hard tortilla chips, I ate a few only so that I could try the two accompanying sauces that came in squeezy bottles. One was green and spicy, one was brown and spicy, and that is about all I have to say about that.

While I waited for my plate to come I did some googling to find out why there were three Pasidata’s on the same block. The full story is on their website at but essentially if you have no energy to click on the link the abbreviated story is that

Originally David Espinoza opened the first La Pasadita in 1976, it was a small, box shaped yellow diner, a former burger joint called Hamburger castle, on the eastern side of Ashland. Three years later they were thriving with lines out the door. Then across the street a larger seafood restaurant called El Cancun-came up for sale in 1981, and David bought that one up too keeping the same menu But he didn’t want to close the old restaurant, which was proven success. within a few years the western location was thriving, too. Then, 15 years later, an Italian man from outside the neighborhood saw that the restaurants were doing well and decided to open a Tex-Mex place a couple doors down serving Americanized Mexican food. David then met with the new owner and convinced him to sell him his business. In the end the family decided to adopt the slightly more upscale, Americanized menu the Italian had proposed, in order to target non-Mexicans moving to the neighborhood and the new restaurant opened its doors in 1996 also called La Pasadita.

Now I know that I was sitting in the newer of the three, La Nueva, the three are known as La Chiquita (the small one), the original. El Largo (the long one), the second, and larger one, and La Nueva (the new one).

Ok so in the time it took to filter all that information out from the web my plate of skirt steak had arrived. The steak was OK, I was asked to choose between medium and well done, I chose medium, but based on their interpretation of this I can only assume that well done would have been equivalent to incinerated. It wasnt bad though, perhaps it should have just been shown the flames of the grill in passing then it would have been perfect. In addition to the items listed on the menu I got a pile of brown mole of some description (oh hang on no that was the beans) and a stack of soft tortillas.The quesadillas were soft and filled with gooey cheese, they were quite nice. I mixed up the various other components, sour cream, guacomole, rice and steak and made a few little soft tacos out them with the tortillas. Overall I didnt have anything to complain about but it was a bit pricey for what it was. I guess I was paying for volume in this case. But to be fair having read the website I had picked the wrong one of the three if I had wanted something more authentic, but at least I know for another time which ones to try out.

All three are located at 1132 N. Ashland, 1140 N. Ashland, 1141 N. Ashland but find one and you find them all. The nearest El Stop is the Division stop on the Blue Line

La Pasadita Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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