Archives for posts with tag: restaurant

One of our biggest and most interesting challenges at 4 Suyos is to create food that EVERYONE can eat. We want all of our customers to be able to enjoy the incredibly dynamic tastes of Peru, whether they are vegetarian, vegan, or have a gluten-free diet. Aside from our current menu that has some vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, we will do our best to modify or transform a dish to our customer’s liking–often replacing regular wheat beer with our chef’s homemade chicha de jora (more on that later). However, one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made over the last few months is telling our customers that our mazamorra morada (purple corn pudding) is not gluten free. Well, I was wrong. I sat with the chef yesterday and watched him prepare our mazamorra, and to my surprise, he was using sweet potato flour! So, for all those gluten-free folks I steered away from the mazamorra, I’m so sorry. Come back and try it!

Now, if you’ve not been to 4 Suyos or any other Peruvian restaurant, you may be thinking, what IS mazamorra? Mazamorra is a traditional Peruvian dessert made with the extract of purple corn. It is made by first making chicha morada. Then the chicha is mixed with pineapples and plums and then thickened into a pudding.

It is delicious served as el clasico. El classic is the combination mazamorra morada and arroz con leche. It is named for a famous futbol match between the two biggest soccer teams in Peru, Alianza Lima and Universitario. (If you haven’t been to the restaurant, you may not know about the photo scandal concerning this dessert…)

So, no gluten in 4 Suyos homemade mazamorra. Enjoy!!


Only days after we filed for a Illinois Business Tax number, we received a notice in the mail that we would be responsible for a Chicago soft drink tax (Home Rule Municipal Soft Drink Retailer’s Occupation Tax). I was floored. I thought my sister had created the form as an elaborate prank. The one-page form was extremely informative and covered the basics of who should file, what “soft drinks” consist of, and when I need to file.

Basically, if you sell soft drinks in Chicago, you are responsible for paying this tax. Soft drinks include soda, sport or energy drinks, sweetened tea, flavored waters, beverages with less than 50% fruits or vegetables, and all other drinks known as “soft drinks.”

We all have to pay taxes, so it’s not the tax I’m worried about…it’s having one more thing to remember.

We at 4 Suyos are currently in the application phase of the restaurant. APPLYING online was a cinch, knock on wood inspections will be too.

All I did was go here,  clicked on the “Get Started Online” button, and followed the step-by-step instructions.

I needed my Federal Employment Identification Number, which you can apply for here.

I also was asked for my Corporation Number which was assigned to me when I created my corporation at the IL Secretary of State.

I submitted my application, and upon submission, I was asked to submit two documents via fax–proof of sanitation certification and a lease. Once I submitted those, I was emailed and asked for my Illinois Business Tax Number, which I applied for here.

Now, we wait. We wait to get an inspection appointment and wait to see if we pass.

In the meantime…our heater broke. 😦 Oh well, good things and bad things, but more good things!

Finding tables, chairs, fixtures, etc. on craigslist has been a savior. However, we’ve had to put a few miles on the old volkwagen. We found a great deal on table bases (for our concrete table tops) in Elgin. We spent the morning driving out to Elgin. After loading up the car with 11 bases, two highchairs, and a few other charms from a previous restaurant owner, we made a quick stop to Home Depot for spray paint (side note: the Chicago ban on spray paint makes obtaining it in the city a total annoyance). On our way out of the Home Depot parking lot, we heard a loud whistle sound. Of course, it was the back tire.

Thankfully Humberto had just filled up the spare and put it back in the trunk. I have no idea what made him do this, but all I know is that we had a spare. He wins this round!

We had to remove all the bought items to get to the spare, but it was changed and we were on our way back to Chicago with our table bases covered!




It’s freezing in Chicago today. Just something to note. However, today we made our biggest mistake to date. After four full days of sanding and priming, someone opened the semi-gloss paint and painted the entire ceiling in eggshell (which I have learned is basically semi-gloss).

It doesn’t seem like much, but in order to repaint with the intended flat paint, we have to resand, reprime, and then paint. It’s midnight, and we’ve just finished an entire “makeup” day. Whew!

We got through it. Tomorrow–paint, lay tile, and hopefully enjoy a few friends’ Christmas parties!

A view of the ceiling

What it feels like after finding out you have to resand, reprime, and repaint your entire ceiling.

Yesterday was a full-on megathon work day. My dad is leaving tomorrow, heading back to Austin via train, per his request, and there is so much to still do.


Breaking up broken tile

We started the day by pulling out all of the cracked tiles–easy, breaking up the cement underneath is turning out to be a different story. To remove the cement underneath the tiles, we used a sawzall with a grout-cutting blade. We can score the cement along the side of the good tiles to keep them safe when the earth-shattering hammer hits the cement.

While the less-than-talented (me) bang up old tile, my dad worked on painting the awning. We called for an estimate to replace the old awning, and we were quoted $900.00, which is way outside our budget. Thanks to my dad and a few friends urging us to salvage the old awning, we decided to try to paint it. It’s a nylon awning, so we used black enamel outdoor paint. Hello $900 in my pocket; it worked!


Dad gets a passerby to chip in

While my dad is pushing sixty, he spared no time getting to know the local ladies and even charming them into pitching in.

There is still so much to do with only 10 hours left with my dad. We need to decide on a wall color to match the odd red, white, and blue tiles we are stuck with.

We started the morning with a few shades of yellow, green, and tan, with only one green remaining, and ended the day with a gold, green, and light blue. The light blue has been ruled out, and it’s now between the gold and green.

The final three

Wall colors

Beto models potential wall colors

I first need to start out by saying that we are making no structural changes to the location. Pulling a permit and working with a licensed contractor in Chicago is too expensive for our meager budget. Thus, I called my extremely handy father in from Austin, TX where he was an organizer for Occupy Austin. (Sorry Occupy Austin, he’s on his way back Friday.)

Instead of building, we’ve opted to clean, sand, and paint. This is hard–the hardest work I’ve ever done in my life. Every wall has to be sanded several times, old paint has to be scraped, caulk has become our wall nutrition, and the balls of grease scraped from the fryers and ventilation system–well, I’ll save you the gory details.

Below are a few photos of the restaurant before and during construction. The crazy blue-eyed man is my dad; Humberto is the “feminine” sander; Daniel is hiding around the corner giving a thumbs up; and Courtney, my sister, is apprehensively adding joint compound to the entryway via a makeshift ladder system devised by my dad. Oh, and I’m the blurry one hammering at the wall.

You can see more photos here.

4 Suyos Construction

Humberto sanding the mural

4 Suyos Construction

Erin Hammering Away

4 Suyos Construction

Here's Kevin!

4 Suyos Construction

Daniel Peeking

Courtney Compounding