Hundreds of faces stare at you the moment you walk into Cemitas Pueblas, no mean feat for a restaurant that's about the size of a one-bedroom apartment. Don't worry; the place isn't that packed. Rather, posters and photographs of actors and athletes blot out the walls, ceilings and tables of this Humboldt Park spot. Apart from that, not much can be said about the decor. Sometimes called Taqueria Puebla, the restaurant has a dining room barer than a bachelor's fridge, with a tiled floor and fluorescent lights that can be harsh on the eyes. But this means that you're paying for food and only food, and you won't complain once you get it.
Cemitas Puebla is known for, appropriately enough, the cemita, a sandwich that originated from the Mexican city of, appropriately enough, Puebla. Cemitas are made of egg rolls covered in sesame seeds and stuffed with avocado, chipotle peppers and Oaxaca string cheese. But the food extends beyond the namesake dish, with tacos ranging from $1.50-$2, burritos from $5-$6, all the way up to entrees such as enchiladas poblanos for $8.50. Seems like a lot, but not too bad when the dish comes with your choice of meat and gets drowned in a delicious brown mole sauce, another of the taqueria's specialties.
Spanish is the predominant language spoken here, which makes the staffers' ability to extend friendliness and great customer service (not to mention quick prep time) to a diverse crowd that much more impressive.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Kent Green