Alright, in an effort to avoid being that guy – the one who makes obscure references with the hope of puzzling readers – let's talk a little more about the Elotes Guy.

There are two places in the world in which a person can walk down any street in summertime and be handed a hot ear of corn: Mexico and Chicago. Elotes are simply roasted or boiled ears of sweet corn. The men who purvey them from rolling carts emblazoned with that word are called eloteros. Chicago loves its eloteros. They are one of the things that make us, well, not Detroit.


The city frequently tries to regulate them to death or eliminate them, believing that street vendors carry a ghetto, third-world connotation. Balderdash. Eloteros are as harmful to the community as the ice cream man. Yes, I understand that a rolling wooden cart piloted by a struggling immigrant is likely to experience some lapses in city food hygiene codes.
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But it's corn, water, salt, and butter for god's sake. There's not much that can go wrong there.

Fr. Chuck Dahm of St. Pius in Logan Square (but you knew that was coming) has led the fight to save the eloteros from excessive regulation. The Chicago Reader has called the debate over their survival The Elotes War. We like things that are phrased in terms of military metaphors.

Lest they miss a chance to chug the Latino community's wang in exchange for political support, the Daley fellows appear willing to let the Elotes carts be. But we must remain vigilant soldiers – Minutemen ready to serve in the War should it become necessary.

Viva Elote!

8 thoughts on “ELOTES DEFINED”

  • Fabulous. I actually don't think there is any better food in Chicago than the corn vendors. I think they might even beat out or at least equal Chicago-style pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs…

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