Many cities boast recognizable foodie districts. And while most of the attention in South Bend is reserved for downtown, there’s an area that shouldn’t be ignored — the Westside.
The Westside’s history is rich in ethnic tradition, known mostly as the place where Polish immigrants set roots. Now the area is largely influenced by immigrants from Latin America, largely Mexico. And the dining scene has flourished.
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Let’s explore some of the must-visit places on the Westside. But keep in mind, this is just a partial list.
NOTE: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many restaurants are offering carryout and/or limited service. Please call ahead before visiting.
Once you’ve hit the mural on the side of Chico’s Mexican and American Restaurant, you’ve reached the heart of the Westside. You’re now in a place where you can get French toast, a burger and authentic Mexican stew all in the same place.
Regulars swear by the red pork stew, called carne guisada, is a traditional Mexican dish served with rice, beans and tortillas.
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El Tecate is relatively new to the Westside dining scene. The restaurant is carving out a space all its own on atmosphere alone as a sports bar — a great place to watch big soccer matches, we hear — with beer and wine.
Seafood takes center stage here. You’ll find wildly Instagrammable and delicious dishes like mojarra frita, fried tilapia where the fish is kept completely intact. Use your fork to pry the meat off the bone. From there you can simply eat the piece as a standalone or grab a few more and make fish tacos.
A West Side staple that also serves up something other places don’t — ice cream, all of it homemade.
You’ll find much praise for the Mexican chocolate flavor among those leaving online reviews (we see you, Yelp commenters) while there are also many of the traditional flavors you’d expect to find. Chamoy, a spicy sauce, is added to many of the specialty items. Don’t be afraid to give your sweet treat a little kick.
Taqueria Chicago is small, charming and considered by many to be the place for tacos on the Westside.
You can go almost any direction with your order by building tacos however you see fit. They’re best served, of course, in authentic fashion on a corn tortilla with cilantro and onion. Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice to taste.
To look like an insider, order the tacos campechanos. These half chorizo, half carne asada tacos aren’t on the menu, but they’re delicious.
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Tortilleria El Sol
Tortilleria El Sol is known for its homemade tortillas, which are best enjoyed straight out of the machine (so warm and soft) rolled up with a little cheese inside. They also fry their chips every morning. If you’re in luck, those will come out warm too.
Two More for the Road
If you think this is the extent of the great food options on the Westside, we’d offer caution. There are several others of note. Let’s end with two more stops for your consideration.
Rosales Super Market: Absolutely buzzes on the weekend. You can buy barbacoa or carnitas by the pound by the deli, or simply grab tacos on the go. You’ll find fresh churros outside on summer Saturdays.
Taste of Mexico: The “real deal” when it comes to tacos, you’ll find an all-encompassing menu here. Same management as El Tecate.