Ronero, one of the newest Latin American restaurants, has recently opened up in the West Loop of Chicago by owner Nils Westlind. Nils Westlind is considered to be a veteran of the Chicago food industry, since he’s worked with other big-name restaurants like Parliament, in River North, and Nellcote, also in the West Loop. But Ronero is going to be much more than just a restaurant: Nils plans to operate a rum bar with South American vibes. He said he’s looking for a Miami/Cuba vibe; a Havana within Chicago. As part of a long line of popular restaurants on Randolph Street, the rum bar at Ronero is sure to stand out from the crowd. Nils Westlind’s parents worked in Bogota and Columbia, so channeling South American vibes comes easy for him.
Of course, we can’t forget about the food at Ronero! Ronero’s menus consists of appetizers, entrees and “El Gran Show”, which is a few options of pricier items for sharing tableside in a group. Most of the appetizers may be fairly recognizable, like Empanadas and a Frijoles Negros dip. Albondigas is an appetizer of pork and beef meatballs with peanuts and cilantro, and the Coxinha de Galinha are chicken croquettes with aioli. The entré selection at Ronero features dishes from chicken to red meat to seafood, such as the Arroz con Pollo, which is Amish chicken, bomba rice, gordal olive, and piquillo sofrito. The Tocino dish is crispy pork belly with brussels sprout, mango, white bean and aji Amarillo jus. There are vegetarian-friendly dishes, as well, such as the Coles de Bruselas: a plate of brussels sprouts, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin seed granola and chancaca. The El Gran Show features large platters, like the Pescado Frito, which is a whole fried red snapper with coconut-cola rice and fried plantains.
This El Gran Show also offers a 16-ounce rump steak and a 32-ounce pork shoulder. While there are a few ingredients here and there that aren’t instantly recognizable, the menu at Ronero is very friendly towards guests who are experiencing Latin American food for the first time.Nils Westlind has divided Ronero into two sections. The front of the restaurant is intended to have a more party vibe, with loud music and bright colors. The dining area should make guests feel like they are sitting on a balcony, overlooking the ocean with their sexy date. The back area of the restaurant will feature the bar and have more of a speak-easy vibe. While many places in Chicago, especially in the West Loop, are catering to the “hipster” scene, Nils hopes his restaurant will appeal to corporate-style dinner guests. However, this late-night, adult getaway dinner places is inviting to all guests.