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Jo W., March 2011
Psst. Look up at this restaurant's title. See that last part? "& Catering"?
I'm here to tell you that their catering is DA BOMB and will make you popular around the office pretty quick.
This time of year we have events a couple times a week, and I am so freaking sick of every single chain caterer we were ordering from. I whined to the person in charge of catering, "can we PLEASE try something new?" Her response was: "Restaurant X has the cheapest catering around. If you find something better and cheaper, then yes."
In the words of the great Barney Stinson... CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Enter Irazu. I showed her the menu. Showed her the prices. Somehow, I convinced her to try them out for a smaller event.
And Irazu passed with flying colors. Everyone loved it. The food was delicious and we had plenty to go around. My boss loved the prices. They delivered on time. Set up was easy. They gave us actual silverware to use for serving (that I am determined to return to them, because, really?). And I think everyone agreed that we love supporting a local business over Corporate Caterers R Us.
My coworker told me that the man at Irazu she's been working with has been a dream. After we used them a second time, I happened to be standing at her desk when he called to make sure everything went smoothly for us. Gotta love the follow up.
So kids, if you want to have delicious, local food at a fair price at your next event, give Irazu a call. You will not be disappointed, and you will earn at least 15 popularity points around the office. Trust.
Charles A, December 2010
Irazu is just is one of the best restaurants in this city. The food is hot, green, fresh, zesty, flawless. Never skimping on the fillings, sides, or sauces where others hold back - whether with the garlic, avocado, peppers, or black beans - the offerings taste as fresh as they are generous in portion. It is easy to leave here in danger of being overfull.
Besides the food, Irazu just kills in the other categories: price, atmosphere, service. Food is more important than all these things, but price is a constraint you cannot tune out like the other two, and Irazu, for the portions, is pretty much as good a deal for great food as you can find outside of Hot Doug's or your favorite place for fried rice. The burritos are just immense, the patacones are plentifully plated, the shakes tall. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that given the quality and quantity that they could double the price on half their items without losing many customers. Especially in Wicker Park. The biggest money saver, however, may be that it is BYOB and located across the street from a high- end boutique of beer, wine and spirits, which is an awesome convenience.
The service is so warm you either wonder how someone can be so exuberant at work or feel ashamed for complaining so much at/about your own job. If they don't remember who you are by face - and I think they do - they do an amazing job pretending, and in sincerely treating returning customers like friends.
If I ever get in a debate as to whether a cheap eat can match fine dining, I bring up Irazu. Most times that I get some delicious $30-plus entrée elsewhere I still say to myself "Irazu's spinach burrito is as good."
Sitting outside in the summer is a perfect way to start your night. In the winter, you may opt for their delivery service, which goes from Des Moines to Memphis. Actually, I think Pulaski to the lake and Roosevelt to Montrose. How that's profitable, I have no idea. Clearly, the ownership is driven so much by that.
Yelp Review on Catering
Tracy K, November 2010
Just went to a catered event and found out Irazu was the behind the scenes caterer. Amazing! All foods that were supposed to be crunchy were crunchy, meat was tender not tough. The flavors were just like I remembered from my Costa Rican get-away last Spring. If you're looking for a somewhat healthy & unique option to the pasta / American type cuisine for your holiday bash, I would highly recommend Irazu! Not your standard Catering!
Rachel W, January 2010
I work as producer, and in this bizarre and crazy world we get food all day long. Including catered lunch. I took over ordering lunches because for starters I love food, trying new food, and supporting my favorite restaurants, and also because generic catered food starts to taste exactly the same each time.
I have now gotten Irazu for the crew 3 times, and each time we are blown away. I order the Casado in steak, chicken, & veggie. The chicken is pull apart, tender, flavorful and yummy, as is the meat. It comes w/rice & beans, sweet plantains, and cabbage salad. I can't vouch for the salad because cilantro is #1 on my most hated things, but people give it 2 thumbs up. Also, their guac is beyond. Super salty chips. Heaven.
These wonderful people also take care of me...last time they brought me their famous oatmeal shake which lives up to its name, and this past time a mango shake. Woah. I had to share w/my coworkers as it tasted like the sweetest mangos in the world.
Yelp Review on Delivery
Vanessa M, November 2010
Irazu delivers. Everywhere. Well, almost everywhere. Their boundaries are the biggest in the city: North to W Montrose Ave, South to Roosevelt, West to Pulaski, East to Lake Shore Drive. And it's fast (about an hour at most). So. Damn. Worth. It. They're like Santa. But deliver deliciousness.
Mary F, August 2010
Irazu is simply the best. Affordable, BYOB, and the best waitstaff ever! I would eat here everyday if I could.
Testimonial on a Wedding Catering
I must admit, the wedding day was a bit of a blur, but it was a good blur, and the food was delicious and promptly and well served. I didn't have to deal with any issues, the servers took care of everything. Thank you so much for making the catering process so easy and smooth. We would definitely do it again, and look forward to visiting you in the restaurant in the future!
Laura and Grant
Sorry to take a little bit to get back to you, I jumped right back into school and have been catching up on homework.
Everything was excellent! The food was delicious, Omar and the team were phenomenal, and everyone had a fabulous time. I can't thank you and your team enough for everything, at every step of the way. I will have pictures for you as soon as I get them... I think Angela took some great shots of the food.
And you, Henry, were such a joy to talk to. I always felt calmer and more excited about the wedding after every conversation we shared. Thank you so much for everything, and for being above and beyond.
I really can't think of a single critical item of feedback. Henry was extraordinarily helpful and easy to deal with every step of the way. Omar, Justin, and Amanda were terrific and amazing. They were like ghosts in the attic - I'd occasionally see them out of the corner of my eye, but they never intruded or disrupted or made themselves conspicuous. When I chatted with Omar before the ceremony and reception, he said he'd had a small problem with LSA's heating cave, but he was able to troubleshoot and find a solution on his own, without disturbing me or asking any questions. In a good way, I feel like "Geez, what'd they even do on Sunday", but it's because they did everything perfectly without ever drawing attention to themselves.
The food was excellent and praised by everyone- it was great that Irazu's beautiful unique food could be scaled up to make consistently amazing meals for 100 people.
Check out this review on the Oatmeal Shake July 2010