- Michael Gebert
- Tony Anteliz and his father, Antonio, in 2011
If 18th Street in Pilsen is Chicago’s gringo-friendly Mexican strip, 26th Street in La Villita/Little Village is the chaotic one, a sensory overload of music, street vendors, cell phones and LED license-plate holders and quinceañera dresses, all competing for attention. It can be hard to make sense of, but then suddenly you come across a face you recognize.
Two of them, in fact: Guy Fieri and Antonio Anteliz Zurida.
Actually, you only recognize the second one if you’ve been a customer at Cemitas Puebla, the Humboldt Park restaurant owned by his son, Tony Anteliz. Antonio played host there for many years, greeting guests in person and staring back at them from the hundreds of self-publicity shots he collected with sports figures and celebrities during a long career writing for Spanish-language media in Chicago. (He posed with Fieri when the restaurant was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.)
The photos are gone from Cemitas Puebla, and now they decorate the door and the walls of a soon-to-open restaurant at 3508 W. 26th called Tortas y Tacos Mexico. Behind the move, it turns out, is a complex and poignant generational saga.