Chupacabra Puerto Rican Kitchen is a cozy place to get cultural food

The interior of the restaurant, with homely orange walls, lights inside glass bottles, balloons and plants completing the picture to make sure the customers feel comfortable

The interior of the restaurant, with homely orange walls, lights inside glass bottles, balloons and plants completing the picture to make sure the customers feel comfortable

By Evelyn Herrera, Reporter

Chupacabra Puerto Rican Kitchen, 31 N. Broadway, Aurora 60505 (708.247.9305). Plates $11-$20; Sandwiches $14; Vegetarian $12-$14; Seafood $3; Sides $1-$10; Desserts $4; Drinks $2-$4.

When you first walk inside the Chupacabra Puerto Rican Kitchen, the sound of friendly chatter emerges from the row of tables to the left. The Puerto Rican music can be heard underneath the soft clamor, bringing you a nostalgic feel from when you used to travel with your family to supermarkets that used Hispanic music to liven up the atmosphere. Once you are seated, and you have ordered, you can enjoy a wonderful meal, listening to the laughter filled conversations of others. You will hear patrons and the friendly service of the staff joking around with some of the customers. There will be delightful music that makes you want to sway along. For a last-minute plan, Chupacabra Puerto Rican Kitchen is the best place to go to relax from the stress of the world.

A look at some of the offerings available at this Aurora-based eatery. (Photo by Evelyn Herrera)

Around 6:01 p.m., on a windy September afternoon, my family and I went to Chupacabra Puerto Rican Kitchen, right after my mom got out of work. We knew the restaurant closed at 7:00 p.m., so we needed to rush. Arriving at the restaurant brought us into a cozy interior of orange walls, soft yellow lights in jars, and a full wall to the left that had a line of mirrors. Tables ran along the mirror wall, and we could see patrons eating and having joyful conversations. One of the servers told us we could sit at any of the empty tables, promising to be ready quickly with our orders.

Once seated, we could take a look around and see the restaurant. While small, it certainly brought in people. From orders through the phone, pick-up, and dine-in, the servers were certainly working hard despite how near closing time was.

Chupacabra Puerto Rican Kitchen, which promotes “traditional flavor with a twist,” opened its doors in 2018 for people who love to cook and share their Puerto Rican food. It is independently owned by Maria and Peter Skokan.

When we had arrived on a September evening, one of the servers at the front desk warned us of some of the food not being available due to how late it was, and we were aware that we were arriving quite late, so there were no complaints on our part.

It did take a bit of waiting time for the server to come to our table, but we saw that she was very busy despite the hour, and she was a kind and lovely woman, so patience is required if you plan to arrive an hour before closing time to a restaurant.

Papi’s Pollo Frito with Guava BBQ, served with a choice of white rice and beans. On the left, the beverage of Malta India, a non-alcoholic Puerto Rican malt drink, can be seen next to the plate to complete a full dinner.

The waitress was patient with us when we would order something that was no longer available for that day, and gave recommendations as needed. The other servers were very apologetic when a mistake was made, such as the wrong beverage being brought to our table, and were quick to accommodate our request for an extra plate.

Throughout dining, the servers made sure we did not need anything else, and were happy to answer questions about the food, such as what type of herb was used for the tostones. (Answer: Garlic aioli).

Once it was time to leave, the servers brought us carry-out boxes and bags to store the food we did not have the space to eat, and gave us a little extra cup of garlic aioli for the tostones, as well as tips to reheat them. (An Air fryer or ovens work best. Who would have thought?)

Overall, Chupacabra offered wonderful service.

We decided to order enough food to feed four people, which consisted of a plate of Mofongo de Pernil ($17), a plate of Papi’s Pollo Frito Guava BBQ ($15.50), an order of Bacalaito ($3), and four order of Tostones ($4 per order). For the drinks, we ordered four Malta Indias ($2.50 each) and a Coco Rico ($1.95). The food was all together delectable and my family greatly enjoyed all the dishes we were presented with. The plates went along with the atmosphere as they were warm and cultural just like the environment.

Chupacabra Puerto Rican Kitchen is a definitive must-go restaurant. No matter how much food you order, be it one plate or all the menu, you will be left feeling satisfied with your choice.