My heart leapt up when I entered Restaurante Amanecer Tapatio for the first time last night and saw a woman putting balls of dough in a wooden press, pressing down with dispatch, and putting the fresh tortillas on the grill behind her. As far as I know, this five-week-old restaurant operated by a family from Jalisco is the only one in Joliet that makes its own tortillas.
Chicken tacos aren't on the menu, but extremely congenial server Monica Aleman had them made up for me. They tasted of fresh onion and cilantro. The rice alongside was white and of a longer grain than most Mexican restaurants down here serve and had a tinge of citrus flavor. The refried beans were also surprisingly pale, beige in color, but tasted good: beany.
The printed menu is limited (tacos, tortas, gorditas, sopes, quesadillas). What excites me are the specials because they, like the homemade tortillas, are rarely seen in Joliet. Today's are tortitas de camaron and caldo de camaron. Weekends bring pesole. Nothing special to Chicago 'hounds, perhaps, but a step forward here. I got the impression that the kitchen relishes making daily specials, so I'll be stopping by Restaurante Amanecer Tapatio often.
573-575 Collins St. (SW corner of Collins and Liberty in a strip mall containing a pool hall)
M, W, and Th 10-9
F and Sat 10-11