CHICAGO (CBS) — It has always been a neighborhood of immigrants: first Eastern European, now mostly Mexican.
From authentic taquerias like Nuevo Leon to the vivid and expressive murals that line the streets, the people of Pilsen proudly show you who they are.
Since 1962, Nuevo Leon has been dishing up delicious Mexican fare, and the most expensive item is $14. Danny Gutierrez took over the restaurant from his grandparents.
“I’ve seen kids grow up and now they bring their kids in. It’s been kind of fun to watch,” he tells CBS 2’s Kate Sullivan.
Pilsen is also fertile ground for those just starting out with a dream and trying to make life a little sweeter for themselves and their families.
It took Uzma Sharif two years to craft just the right chocolate recipes before she opened her very own store, Chocolat. The Southeast Asian woman with a French culinary background picked Pilsen to set up shop.
“I can walk down the street and find inspiration in every single window I look at,” she says.
It’s also inspirational for Paul Raymundo, a lifelong Pilsen resident who now works to find affordable housing for those in need.
“Eastern Europeans, when they moved from this community, they left anchors like churches. The Mexican community, their anchors are the murals,” he says.
The colorful and expressive works of art tell the story of a community that very much wants to retain its Mexican identity and honor its artistic roots.
“People want to see that identity. Folks that are non-Mexican, if you will, want to come to Pilsen to enjoy Mexican food and enjoy the culture and we want to be able to build on it,” Raymundo says.
To check out Kate Sullivan’s photos taken on the day she worked on this story, click here.