Chicago and New York are certainly no strangers to delicious cuisines and fun restaurant concepts. It can often be challenging for dining options to deliver something new and unexpected, yet Tortazo brings a refreshing experience to the table (no pun intended) with locations in the Windy City and the Big Apple (with a new one opening soon).
Inside Chicago & New York’s Tortazo
“Tortazo was born out of our unwavering love for Mexico City-style tortas. Our favorite torterías (not always a full restaurant / often just a stall on the street or in a market) specialize in these lusty, craveable sandwiches and stake their reputation on them,” Tortazo president Sam Lipp told us. “We seek to emulate the emotion and enjoyment surrounding the torta and are looking to introduce a much wider audience to them here in CHI and NYC. We go to great lengths to source top quality proteins and produce from local farmers in both markets, as we are fervent believers that to make something delicious, it must start with impeccable raw ingredients.”
If you’re looking for something Instagrammable, you’ve come to the right place. “Beyond the torta, we are also really loving the reaction from our guests when they eat our tlayudas,” Lipp said. “While these show-stopper-like gigantic crispy corn masa tostadas loaded with zesty black toppings like chorizo, black beans and roasted tomatillo salsa really come from Oaxaca, they are definitely having a moment in Mexico City. We think they are about to do so here in the US as well, and so we are featuring them in NYC.”
While there are undoubtedly countless Mexican concepts in and around the Big Apple and Windy City, Tortazo aims to set itself apart with its devotion to serving the best experience possible. “There are so many passionate folks bringing incredibly delicious and authentic Mexican food to the US right now, and we like to count ourselves amongst them,” Lipp told us. “That said, we think what sets Tortazo apart is that we deliver on these bold flavors in comfortable, friendly spaces by teams that are genuinely happy to welcome you. We look at each specific store as an opportunity to ingratiate ourselves with our neighbors. In NYC, for example, we recently met an incredible street artist named Victor Quiñonez (he goes by Marka27) and are working with him on a couple of epically-sized murals for the dining room walls of both our Nomad and our Times Square locations. To us, these vivid and completely unique art pieces will bring the color and character of Mexico City to life in New York City.”
While diners can find Tortazo classics on the menus at the newer locations, each city has some specials you won’t find elsewhere. “The core menus (and certainly the thoughtful and warm hospitality) are consistent, regardless of market,” Lipp explained. “That said, not only can you find unique items in each location (alfajores in Chicago and tacos caseros in New York, for example), but our ingredients are also sourced from local artisans and farmers (incredible pork from Gunthorp Farms in LaGrange, IN for Chicago and tortillas from Sobre Masa in Bushwick, Brooklyn for New York).”
The menus will also have seasonal changes to reflect the freshest ingredients for each time of the year. “While the core menus remain consistent throughout the year, we do sprinkle in seasonal changes in each market,” Lipp said. “Chicago is loving our BLT Torta right now, whereas in NYC, it’s the Summer Corn Tlayuda that has been catching eyes (and tummies!).”