Leave it to a pair of sandwich makers to figure out what a neighborhood never knew it needed. For Cely Rodriguez and Moraima Fuentes, owners of the Jibarito Stop (they ran a food truck of the same name), the nabe was the Mexican food mecca Pilsen. The missing sandwich: the Puerto Rican–style, plantain-for-bread jibarito.
Their counter-service joint riffs on the Humboldt Park original (invented at Borinquen Restaurant in 1996), layering tender, slow-roasted pork or garlicky steak morsels with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and gooey American or mild, stringy Chihuahua cheese between delicate yet sturdy fried plantain planks. Two petite-ish jibaritos with white rice and pink beans or Puerto Rican yellow rice and pigeon peas go for $8. Fill up on other Puerto Rican faves here, too, such as crisp-fried empanadas teeming with spicy, toothsome shrimp ($3) or fall-apart beef and cheese ($2). Make ’em a basket ($6.50 for two) with a side of plantains, caramelized to even sweeter perfection. 1646 W. 18th St., 312-988-0585