The Jibarito Shop: A Tasty Hideaway in Pilsen

The perfect Friday consists of certain key elements. Great weather, waking up later than usual, getting all or your errands done, dining at a hidden gem, and taking a nap. This past Friday I was able to partake on all five and it was fantastic. The main highlight being my midday meal at The Jibarito Shop in Pilsen. So, what is a Jibarito? It is a sandwich made with flattened, fried green plantains instead of bread, garlic-flavored mayonnaise, and a filling that typically includes meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. A Puerto Rican sandwich with origins right here in Chicago.

view from the inside of the jibarito shop

The Jabarito Shop is quaint, with a small but mighty menu to match. The Puerto Rican sandwich shop first hit the streets in 2012 as a food truck, earning notoriety for their signature sandwiches, which many still hold sacred to this day. As someone who has lived in Chicago for four years, I was excited to finally check this landmark sandwich off of my local voyager bucket list.

puerto rican national anthem

For my meal at The Jibarito shop, I ordered the full/ grande steak sandwich, a spicy shrimp empanada, and a Kola champagne pop(I’ll never say soda, no matter how much better it may sound). All sandwiches come with choice of cheese as well as Arroz con Gandules( pigeon peas, bits of pork, and rice) or white rice and beans; I opted for the chihuahua cheese and Puerto Rican style rice.

jibarito shop menu

First, lets’ talk about the empanada, fantastic! The deep-fried pocket of deliciousness had just the right amount of spice and a great amount shrimp and pepper filling. After scarfing down the empanada, I moved on to my jibarito sandwich, an excellent choice. The meat on the sandwich was seasoned just right, flavorful enough, so that is complimented the simple toppings of lettuce tomatoes, mayo, and cheese. The plantain that acts as a sandwich “bread” is topped with crushed garlic which adds a little bit of a savory taste to the plantain.

jibarito sandwich with rice and empanada

shrimp empanda at the jibarito shop in pilsen

jibarito steak sandwich at the jibarito shop.jpg

jibarito steak sandwich at the jibarito shop

The budget-friendly meal was simple, savory, and very satisfying. I was stuffed at the end of my lunch! No wonder the shop is ranked for having some of the best jibarito’s in Chicago. Between the heat and the food, I was headed straight for a well deserved, jibarito induced nap.

After partaking in the traditional dish I reflected on my meal at The Jibarito Shop one thing that stuck out to me was the national anthem, La Boriqueña on one of the restaurant’s walls. Even though I was not organically able to ask the employees about their families and the current situation there, I thought about the words of that anthem, how it is a constant reassurance that everything will be okay for their loved ones back home. This is the anthem translated into English:

The land of Borinquen

where I was born

is a flowery garden

of magical beauty.

A constantly clear sky

serves as its canopy.

And placid lullabies are sung

by the waves at its feet.

When at her beaches Columbus arrived;

he exclaimed full of admiration

“Oh! Oh! Oh!

This is the beautiful land

that I seek.”

Borinquen is the daughter,

the daughter of the sea and the sun.

Of the sea and the sun,

Of the sea and the sun,

Of the sea and the sun,

Of the sea and the sun.

Experiencing a meal made with cultural pride, that has a historical representation of both heritage and a new home is always amazing. Supporting neighborhood business like the Jibarito shop is especially important during these times of conflict and uncertainty. So happy I could share this business, my thoughts and prayers with all those families with ties to Puerto Rico.


Know a restaurant like The Jibarito Shop that deserves the ‘Rated Haute’ status? Send in your suggestions for the next featured restaurant.

Taylor J

The Haute Seeker is a digital platform created through the curious lenses of Taylor Justin, whose mission is to actively seek and share the cultural diversity found in the city of Chicago. Taylor is an Ohio-born, Southern-raised transplant who loves to vintage shop, museum hop, and live “like a local” in every city she visits. She is Jill of all trades and has an extensive background in fashion, marketing, sales, event planning, and community engagement.

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