El Coco Loco a great place to eat in West Chicago


Photo by Santiago Carrillo

The Mexican-style tacos at El Coco Loco, pictured with a glass of horchata.

By Santiago Carrillo, Reporter

El Coco Loco | 205 Main St., West Chicago, IL 60185 | 630.293.1101 | Botanas $4-13; platillos $12-16; desserts $1.50-6.

If you have been looking for a new place to eat in West Chicago that is relatively cheap, get ready to learn about El Coco Loco.

Early in December, I visited El Coco Loco around 6:00 p.m. with my mother and brother. This brick building in the downtown area is a familiar restaurant for those who call West Chicago home, and in the summer months, features an outdoor patio in the front of the restaurant. 

We walked in and the delicious smell of tacos and meat immediately hit us, getting us right in the mood for eating. I noticed traditional Mexican decorations along with Christmas decor. Colorful Mexican party banners hung on the ceiling, and holiday wreaths dotted the walls. The decoration made us feel festive and added to the overall experience.

The restaurant is decently large, so it only took about five seconds for us to get seated in a nice quiet and empty area. The menus and a few condiments were already arranged on the tables.

El Coco Loco is an independently owned restaurant located right in the downtown area, near Gorditas Liselena, and so it is easy to walk to for local residents. Those who drive to the restaurant can find street parking easily. Restaurant-goers can also enjoy the other amenities located in the city’s center, such as Kindred Coffee and the thrift store. 

The waitress was friendly and smiled occasionally. Orders are taken at the table, and the waitress pushed them through in a speedy fashion, never taking too long to help us. We were brought complimentary tortilla chips and salsa as an appetizer almost immediately. The tortilla chips were pretty tasty and crunchy, and increased our appetites. It did not take long for the kitchen to make our order. 

The expansive menu at El Coco Loco includes traditional favorites and American fare. (Photo by Santiago Carrillo)

Looking at the menu, there is a lot of variety, all the way from an American breakfast, to soups, and of course, tacos. I requested three plain tacos which were $6.75, a price that seemed pretty low for the taste and amount. The first bite of the taco was amazing, with invigorating flavor that was on par with other tacos I have eaten. The tacos were lipid and savory, and very good for the price. The portion sizes were decent, and I felt quite full after eating my tacos.

One of the murals in the restaurant adds a splash of color to the restaurant’s decor. (Photo by Santiago Carrillo)

For a drink, I ordered horchata, which was $3 and came in a clear plastic cup, allowing a glimpse at the creamy rice mixture and ice. Overall, the drink looked very appealing. The horchata was fairly well-sized, and tasted candy-like; I would highly recommend it. 

My brother ordered two plain tacos and a side of fries, which came to $4.50 for the tacos and $3.50 for the fries. When asked for his opinion, he said that the tacos were “good” and the fries were “alright.” I tried some of his fries and they tasted a bit alkaline; I personally did not like them that much, and so I would not recommend getting the fries. 

My mother requested two Mexican-style tacos; they too were $4.50. She said she liked them “a lot” and described them as “flavorful.” Both she and my brother drank jarrito de mandarinas which were $3 each, and obviously tasted like every other jarrito de mandarina. My mom finished all her tacos and felt full afterwards. My brother also finished all his food, which was rare for him, as he usually always has leftovers. He asked for food as soon as we returned home, so maybe two tacos and a side of fries is not enough food for him. Overall, the portion sizes were pretty fair for the price.

Ultimately, I recommend El Coco Loco, as this local restaurant is a good experience for families at a relatively cheap price. The restaurant looks beautiful, both on the inside and outside, the staff were attentive and polite, and the food was pretty decent. While El Coco Loco’s tacos are not the best I have ever eaten, they were good enough for the price.