Cicero Welcomes Manolo’s Tamales

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Opening up a restaurant is no easy feat; especially, when you have several competitors within walking distance. But when you have the expertise of someone who has three successful family-styled restaurants under his belt, it’s safe to say the odds of crushing your competition are with you. For John Barrera, a native Chicagoan and Chicago Fireman, the dream of owning his own restaurant had long been a pipe dream of his, focusing more on saving the people of Chicago. However, when Barrera unintentionally became the cook at his department, he rediscovered his passion for food and decided to enlist the help of his longtime friend Manolo Chavarin to help guide him through the process of opening a restaurant. “I knew Manolo was the one to help me out. He has been a mentor throughout this yearlong process,” said Barrera. “It has been an adventure from going into business with my friend, to creating the menu; to finding the location…it all has been a great learning experience.” Co-owned with his friend Chavarin, Barrera opened Manolo’s Tamales on 2105 S. Laramie Avenue, Cicero.

As a Mexican-styled restaurant both Chavarin and Barrera offer up some delectable treats, such as sopes, huaraches, gorditas, various version of tamales, and the most famous tamales oaxaqueños, a personal favorite of Chavarin. “We know there are several Mexican restaurants here in Cicero, but we offer here is food made with the best ingredients,” said Chavarin. “We buy quality ingredients so that people will keep coming back. Creating dishes that people enjoy gives me great satisfaction, because it just confirms that I made the right choice in life.” Prior to opening his first restaurant in 2005 in the Gage Park Area, Chavarin worked in a factory and in those years, under grueling management, he vowed to be his own boss. Chavarin first entered the food industry as dishwasher and quickly worked his way up. “I have been in the restaurant business for over two decades. I have done it all. Finally, I get some time to enjoy this latest project.” Before going into business with Barrera, Chavarin launched three successful restaurants in the West Lawn area and Little Village area. Both Barrera and Chavarin would like to invite the Cicero community to try out a variety of mouth-watering dishes, especially our favorite, here at Lawndale Bilingual Newspaper, tamales oaxaqueños. “Try the food and discover what we have here,” said Barrera.

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