Xavier Hernandez, Irene Acosta and Miguel Hernandez prep test dishes in the Pochos kitchen prior to their brunch opening on Saturday, August 24.

New Restaurant Pochos Launches Luxe Weekend Brunch

Published August 22, 2019

Business Name: Pochos
Address: 2025 W. 35th St.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sat.-Mon.
Online: Pocho's Facebook Page

Pochos restaurant opens this weekend, on Saturday, August 24, with a brunch service that's impossible to find anywhere else in the area, said Irene Acosta, one of the three partners in this new venture. Acosta, along with her husband, Miguel Hernandez, and Xavier Hernandez (no relation) hope to leverage their combined 50 years in the food service industry into a restaurant business that grows, step by step, from its initial weekend brunch.

"We want to build a community around food," Acosta said.  "For years, I hoped my husband would open up a storefront restaurant."

Pochos food samplesShaksouka, avocado toast and deviled eggs await tasters during a test run of Pochos dishes.All three entrepreneurs come from the local area and were friends at the nearby Thomas Kelly High School, from which they graduated in 2005 and 2006. "We've been in the neighborhood forever," Acosta said, noting that she and her husband live one block away from the restaurant.

Innovative Food and BYOB

The food at Pochos is a contemporary and sophisticated mix of Mexican and American cuisine, Acosta said. "We grew up eating the best of both worlds."

Business Grows Here - Space - Resources - Community

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"Our menu employs traditional Mexican techniques, but uses ingredients from our upbringings," said Xavier Hernandez. "It's not in a box of only Mexican food."

Planned brunch dishes include chilaquiles verde, a chorizo-and-poblano benedict, French toast with crème anglaise, deviled eggs with ranchero sauce, avocado toast, and omelettes. A standout plate is the smoky shakshouka: a Tunisian dish of eggs poached in a savory sauce of tomatoes, peppers and spices. Pochos also plans to bring in croissants and other pastries from the baking wizards at nearby Butterdough, Acosta said.

The restaurant is BYOB and ready to help diners round out their meals with mimosas and Micheladas, Acosta said, thanks to their homemade mixers and orange juice. "Bring your champagne and beer to the brunch," she said.

Pochos will only be open for weekend brunch to start, Acosta said, with its Monday hours designed for food- and entertainment-industry workers who might not otherwise get to enjoy brunch. "It's our 'industry' brunch," she said.

Plan for Growth

As the business grows, Pochos would like to add dinner service and eventually a full bar, Acosta said, part of their step-by-step business plan to grow a successful restaurant with limited access to capital. In five to six months, they hope to add to their dining room capacity; they're also looking at catering and hosting private meals in the space, she said.

The only staff members at the start will be the three principal partners, with Acosta leading the front of the restaurant, Miguel Hernandez taking point in the kitchen and Xavier Hernandez helping with prep, plating and service. "We're starting very small," Acosta said.

The business rollout is supported by extensive market research the three conducted in the local area. There are no other restaurants like this on the Southwest Side, Acosta said, yet there's a "huge market" of more than 16,000 millennials who are hungry for a nice brunch experience.

Names and Goals

Acosta noted that the Pochos name is a tongue-in-cheek poke at the term, which is used to describe a U.S.-born person of Mexican descent who lacks couth and sophistication. "We're taking it back," Acosta said. 

She and Xavier Hernandez said they hope to offer a complete "experience" beyond just a meal. "We don't just want to feed you," Xavier Hernandez said.

"We want to be a food hub," he said.

Pochos Miguel Hernandez Xavier Hernandez Irene AcostaMiguel Hernandez, Xavier Hernandez and Irene Acosta stand outside their new restaurant, Pochos, at the corner of West 35th Street and South Seeley Avenue in Chicago.  

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