After two years perfecting its space, menu, and all-around m.o., Chicago’s latest farm-to-fork haven Cantina 1910 (5025 N. Clark, Andersonville, 773-506-1910) will open its doors on September 16. If that seems like a long incubation period, consider that the restaurant embodies two dining trends: Regional Mexican food made with home-grown ingredients.
Helmed by Chicago-born chef Diana Dávila, who grew up slinging tacos at her parents’ restaurant Jalapeño before decamping for Oaxaca to take cooking classes, Cantina 1910’s menu is culled from meals Dávila ate during childhood summers in Mexico. “Everything [on] this menu is like, ‘Remember when we went to this town or that town?’” says Dávila, who landed the job after answering an ad on foodie networking site Culinary Agents. Of course, to source most of Cantina’s dishes from within 200 miles of Chicago—a stipulation of owners Mark Robertson and Mike Sullivan—Dávila had to Midwesternize some classics. “There’s no pineapple here,” says the 33-year-old chef of her pastor adobo, which traditionally calls for the tropical fruit. “[But] grapes grow here, and Local Foods is collecting raspberries and freezing them for us, so we have raspberries and raisins in place of pineapple in our adobo. And it’s amazing.”
On top of a simultaneously transportive and home-grown dinner menu, Cantina 1910 will boast an actual cantina by night (“a place to drink, drink, drink,” per Dávida) and a coffee-centric café by day, open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. respectively. All told, the place will hold 180 people and another 80 once the patio opens, with a dessert menu of Mexican pastries by Andrew Pingul and breakfast and lunch service in the works—not bad for a gig Dávida landed on the Craigslist of cuisine.