After working in Mexican restaurants for more than 20 years, Oscar Alvarado has now opened his own restaurant. Taqueria el Paisa is located at 1827 North Peoria Rd. in the building that originally housed Java Express, and more recently, Taste of Windy City. Alvarado was the general manager of Los Agaves, which closed in 2017.

“A lot of the customers from Los Agaves used to tell me I should get my own place,” Alvarado said. “After they closed down, I decided I’m going to do my own thing and improve it.”

Alvarado said the concept for Taqueria el Paisa is authentic Mexican food, “the same meals you would find if you go there.”  He said it is a family-run business, noting that his wife was also born and raised in Mexico. The menu includes tamales wrapped in the corn shell, along with beef soup and other traditional dishes in addition to tacos, burritos, enchiladas and quesadillas.

“I wanted to try doing something more original than other meals you find around here,” said Alvarado.