Roscoe Village Resident Opens Contemporary Mexican Restaurant
El Maya, on Montrose Avenue, features a modern take on Mexican food with a BYOB atmosphere.
Customers can taste all regions of Mexico with a contemporary twist at a new restaurant in Ravenswood. That’s the goal of Roscoe Village resident Jimmy Grimaldi, who opened El Maya on Dec. 28.
El Maya is BYOB; patrons can bring in a bottle of tequila and the restaurant will supply the mix.
The space at 1522 W. Montrose Avenue used to be home to Chilapan, another Mexican restaurant. Grimaldi was a partner in that business, which has another location at Armitage and Western avenues. When the partnership split, Grimaldi wanted to start his own restaurant.
El Maya has a different look than Chilapan, with new paint and regional artwork adorning the walls.
“I was thinking of doing something on my own and I was inspired by the Mayan calendar,” Grimaldi said. “It’s a new beginning.”
Originally from Ecuador, Grimaldi started as a bartender at Ralph Lauren Restaurant where he learned the value of customer service.
“I want to make sure every customer walks out happy,” he said.
Grimaldi has traveled extensively through Mexico, and wanted to incorporate all regions of the country on the menu.
Entrées include the Piramde, three layers of chicken chilaquiles with two mole sauces. The restaurant’s signature dish—Molcajete—is cactus, cheese, cilantro molcajete sauce with the options of chicken, steak or shrimp.
Appetizers range from $7-$9, with entrées in the $16-$20 range.
The chef, Javier Cruz, hails from Mexico and makes the sauces, salsas and guacamole from scratch every day.
El Maya is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.