Saturday, June 7, 2008

Super Pollo, we hardly knew ye

This place was a boarded up building with no windows when we moved to the area seven years ago. Our former alderman had denied rehab permits over a spat with the owners, but once she was unseated in 2003, the owners prettied up the place and paved the way for a new restaurant.

We tried to support them. We really did. They specialized in skewers and served about a dozen varieties, though they were out of most menu items most of the time. I remember an Asian shrimp kabob I ordered once for 12 dollars: it ended up being six small shrimp, a couple of grape tomatoes tacked on to each end, and a teaspoon of soy sauce in a plastic cup on the side. John repeatedly tried to order the eggplant skewers but they were always 86'd, so he'd end up with cold tofu on a stick. The place was gone in 6 months.

Since then, three different owners have given it a stab: an awesome Colombian chicken joint where you could choose sides of yuca con ajo, black beans, tostones, sweet plantains, or your standard rice and pinto beans. They even got a nice write-up in Time Out Chicago. We discovered this iteration too late, alas. They were "closed for vacation" a couple weeks later.

They reopened after a hiatus "under new management." This crew decided to keep the chicken but get rid of all but the rice-and-beans side, and they replaced the sweet and wonderful 60-something server with a listless teenager who looked like she'd rather be sticking pins in her eyes than taking your order. I think they lasted 3 months.

So imagine my surprise recently when encountering a friendly, natty guy named Jorge emerging from the building. Sure enough, he was the new owner and had big plans: not just the roast chicken and some resurrected sides, but a complete vegetarian menu with even a handful of vegan options. This was cause for hope and celebration. I went on opening night with a vegan friend and had a decent taco dinner. Two days I went back for a tasty lunch of chicken enchiladas verdes. But guess what: after just 4 days of being open, the sad little "Closed" sign you may notice in the window was posted. It's been there ever since.

I guess I have to accept it: the building is cursed. But it won't keep me from blithely heading back for whatever wacky dining scheme comes next: Fruit pizza? Make your own sushi? Potatoes in the shapes of presidents' heads? I'm there.


Diana Sudyka said...

It does seem like some buildings are forever cursed that way. Maybe you will get cupcake cafe in there next. I don't think Logan Square has one yet, and by golly, it is not on the map until it does (sarcasm). It's all the rage with the kids these days. They are mighty taaaaasty.

leslie said...

Oh my god, is Super Pollo wearing a CAPE?? I love it.