Ravenswood’s New Cuban and Filipino Diner Serves Lumpia and Cubano Breakfast Burritos

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Raquel Quadreny says her restaurant, Bayan Ko — the Cuban and Filipino hybrid in Ravenswood— has always offered “diner hospitality,” despite not being a diner and serving only dinner.

“We’re just a very wholesome place, welcoming and very focused on being a neighborhood spot,” Quadreny says.

That’s one of the reasons that Quadreny and her husband, chef Lawrence Letrero, naturally gravitated toward opening a diner a few doors down from their original restaurant. Bayan Ko Diner debuted in early May, bringing the all-day crowd back inside the former Glenn’s Diner. They’re open only for breakfast and lunch. They’ll eventually expand to dinner.

“It’s just as much about enjoying yourselves while eating your food,” Quadreny says. “And you have to be the being taken care of by someone who’s being nice and kind to you so that you can feel comfortable.”

The Filipino silog will probably draw some comparison with Chicago’s legendary Uncle Mike’s Place. There are pancakes, breakfast burritos, and even a cake of the day baked by Letrero’s sister, Tricia, a dentist who is a self-taught baker. Letrero gushes about her carrot cake: “I don’t even mess with carrots,” he says.

The original Bayan Ko opened in 2018 and has recently shifted to a prix fixe format, allowing Letrero to use fancier ingredients, but retaining the laid-back vibe that drew a diverse group of customers. Some of the the original menu has moved to the diner. Quadreny grew up in Miami. The menu sees Cuban influences with tropical milkshakes, Cubano sliders, and a burrito stuffed with ropa vieja.

Glenn’s Diner served daily and weekly specials, and Letrero continues that tradition. Bayan Ko’s popular chicken wings will be a diner special and so will oxtail soup.

Regular menu items include a brick chicken inasal marinated with lemongrass with runny juices that saturate a diner’s choice of fries or garlic rice. There are also Cubano sliders. Letrero, a Filipino Canadian, also hinted at items like Filipino spaghetti, using hot dogs and that familiar sweet tomato sauce that many Americans know from Jollibee: “We’re just having fun with the menu,” Letrero says.

The family-owned diner is special for Letrero and Quadreny. They say their unique bond has connected them with other Filipino-Cuban families in Chicago who have dined at their restaurant. Tour the space and check out some of the dishes below.

Bayan Ko Diner, 1820 W. Montrose Avenue, open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays; dinner coming soon.

Bayan Ko

1810 West Montrose Avenue, , IL 60613 (773) 698-6373 Visit Website

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