By Sally Drucker
Welcome to Sonia Soto, the owner and manager of the recently opened Cilantro Taco Grill at the corner of Belden, Lincoln and Orchard. What an inspirational entrepreneur she is! She, her parents and siblings moved from Jalisco, Mexico in 1982 as emigrants. Her father, Javier Morfin, in his 50’s, was the inspiration behind starting a family business here in the United States. She attributes him to the strong family work ethic, values, and positive outlook they have all embraced. This inspired her siblings to create Cilantro, a unique “fast casual Mexican restaurant” with the warmth and personal touch of a family owned business.
Cilantro’s first restaurant was opened in 2013 in Stone Park by her brother, Temoc. There are now eleven locations in the Chicago suburbs, Sonia’s Lincoln Park location is the twelfth and the first in the city. All restaurants are family owned, operated and their pleasure in doing business is that it is family working together! Sonia’s nephew will be opening the Old Town location and the family support he will have is similar to what Sonia received opening the location in Lincoln Park during COVID. If not for the family, she might not have taken the leap of faith. Cilantro is a simple order at the counter, eat in or take out arrangement. There are no waiters and Sonia has been able to manage the price increases of most ingredients without changing her menu prices… yet.
Their cuisine is passed down from their families back home in Mexico; very authentic, fresh and high quality. They make their own tortillas, guacamole, and offer high quality meat, poultry and fish dishes. You can enjoy the outside sidewalk seating when the weather permits and a comfortable indoor environment if you want to eat in. You can even have a margarita or cold beer while you dine! Cilantro also offers take out, delivery through the many services like GrubHub, UberEats and Door Dash. They also offer catering for events!
Sonia worked as a supply chain manager for over 20 years but felt a calling to expand her family’s business and join them in the adventure they have been successful in maintaining over these years. Her biggest fear was opening during the pandemic but with the family’s support and assurances she did it! Her restaurant is a woman owned and managed establishment with a great team of 10 employees.
One message that stood out to me as we talked, was that Sonia and the Cilantro family businesses take great pride in serving authentic, high quality Mexican cuisine and thrive on the joy of working as a family in a business they created and have grown. The personal touch in her approach to her business and serving the community is what we all love to see! We welcome Cilantro and Sonia to our neighborhood and wish you success!