Pl-zeñ, a gastrocantina (cantina is bar in Spanish), located in Pilsen, Chicago, is great spot to grab some drinks with or without dinner/brunch. This unique restaurant and cantina is colorfully bright, featuring local artists’ works on their wall and modern, industrial type decor that cozy with warm lighting and wood furnishings inside brick walls. The food is Latin/American contemporary with international inspiration (Latin-American vibes mostly). They serve artisanal cocktails, wine and offer a good selection of beers (crafts, mostly local and imports) and ciders.

To enter, you walk along the side of the building, in a narrow alley type passage that is inclined. You end up in a basement but they have large windows in the wall facing the main road (18th street) so it’s not creepy. You’d never know it was a basement by the way it was beautifully and artfully adorned. I liked the Mexican inspired Dia de los Muertos feel with dressed up skulls and a mix of unusual art and ornaments. Really neat and cool place.

I went on a Tuesday for their BBB offering: Burger, Beer, and Bourbon. Although you don’t get to pick which burger, beer, and bourbon you get, they have a different and inventive combo every week! This particular Tuesday happened to be a Hawaiian type burger made with grilled pineapple, Canadian bacon and grilled red onions, paired with Mexico’s Pacifico beer with a shot of Evan Williams bourbon. All for $15! What a deal, and the burger comes with fries!

We were served our drinks first, along with an appetizer order (calamari – lightly fried and so tender, probably the most tender I’ve had, not chewy at all). We took out bourbon shot first and it was surprisingly smooth. I’ve had Pacifico before, a nice light beer. Not my first choice but it was a good chaser and went well with the burger (ice-cold to wash it down).

This burger was huge and pretty darn good! I was pleasantly surprised, especially for the price. I loved the grilled pineapple and red onion. The slightly sweet brioche bun (or was it Hawaiian? I think so) was a perfect vehicle for this burger (a good half pound of meat cooked nicely pink, upon my request). The fries were really good, home cut style. I eat my fries with ranch and they were accommodating. I dislike when places don’t carry ranch since I’m not really into ketchup unless it’s spicy or something. Anyway, I ate the whole thing and most of my fries. I was stuffed, should’ve stopped while I was ahead, but it hit the spot!

Again, I enjoyed the atmosphere just as much as the food. The decor was intriguing and although bright, not too busy and it had a cozy/romantic feel with the dim lighting.

I will definitely come back for Tuesday’s BBB special. It’s great that they come up with a new combo every Tuesday. They have other specials throughout the week as well such as Taco Thursday. I would love to be back to try weekend brunch at this place too!





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