Our first taste of La Chiva's Colombian street food came at Civic Center Eats two summers ago, when chef/owner Jorge Aguirre would park his brightly colored truck and hand out light, crispy empanadas made from scratch. By then, the truck had been operating for a year and Aguirre was beginning to hatch a plan to make La Chiva a permanent restaurant. That day came this past weekend, when the Colombian IT-professional-turned-cook and his wife opened the doors to La Chiva at 1417 South Broadway.
The restaurant will be in soft-opening phase for the next few days — so expect a scaled-back menu — and will have its grand opening on Friday, June 23. Aguirre says he had his liquor-license hearing last week and everything went well, so he hopes to be pouring beer and wine in about a month.
Although the Aguirres have been cooking the cuisine of their home country their entire lives, Jorge only became a professional chef after ending a career in technology in 2013 to attend cooking school. With the new restaurant, the menu will include larger entrees such as sancocho (a hearty soup/stew) as well as familiar antojitos like arepas and those empanadas. You'll also find a lomito sandwich made with slow-roasted and shredded pork on the opening menu.
La Chiva will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday), and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The restaurant will be closed on Mondays, so you'll have to wait a day to satisfy your Colombian craving. Aguirre says he'll also keep his food truck running, albeit with fewer appearances; look for the truck at locations like the South Pearl Street Farmers' Market and the Rayback Collective this summer.
Keep reading for a taste of La Chiva.