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Purists In Mexican-American Pilsen Oppose Taco Bell

(CBS) – It’s a “not in my hood” kind of fight in Chicago’s historic Pilsen neighborhood.

Taco Bell plans to open a restaurant at 24th and Western in the mostly Mexican-American community.

Many have signed a petition against the chain.

The neighborhood already has a McDonald’s, a Dunkin Donuts and a Subway, but Taco Bell rubs some people the wrong way, in a neighborhood with one of the largest Hispanic populations in the city.

This historic port of entry for Mexican immigrants is arguably one of the most recognizable in the Chicago – for its street art, its people and its authentic food.

At 5 Rabanitos Restaurante, they’re pressing tortillas and serving up fresh guacamole.

But now, the popular Tex-Mex chain Taco Bell is coming to this lot on the corner of 24th and South Western Avenue.

“Just to think of a Taco Bell in a Mexican community — it’s almost a slap in the face,” says Byron Sigcho.

He runs the Pilsen Alliance, which has started a petition to block the 24-hour restaurant with a drive-thru. The local alderman, Danny Solis, is supportive of the Taco Bell.

“Given that this was a vacant lot on a busy, commercial thoroughfare, it is an appropriate location for a commercial use and consistent with the community’s wishes,” he tells CBS 2.

There’s a fear the chain could hurt the small businesses. The people of Pilsen seem to be torn.

“I don’t want it to take away from our culture,” Alvaro Padilla says.

Says Michael Sanchez: “Whatever builds Pilsen is fine with me.”

Taco Bell did not return messages seeking comment for this report.

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