Walking into Alex’s Chimis feels very welcoming. The modest Jamaica Plain restaurant has a lot of big windows, making it easy to see into from the outside. The menu, written mostly in Spanish, hangs above the register—the employees were very helpful, explaining the dishes in English. I spoke to Clara Lopez, the owner’s wife, about the origins of Alex’s Chimis.
Alex Lopez, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, traces his restaurant roots to baseball. After games, Lopez’s team would come to his house for homemade Dominican-style burgers called chimis. One day, a friend gave him the idea to sell chimis at the ballpark. People seemed to really enjoy them, so Lopez decided to take his business a step further. He needed a bigger space. In October 1998, he bought that space—358 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain.
The Lopez’s main focus is the community. Most of their employees are locals—friends and friends of friends. All of their food is homemade and they use the same recipes they have been using since the restaurant opened. The prices are very low and affordable.
“[Our] prices haven’t increased in five to six years,” Lopez said. “Our goal isn’t to take all of people’s money but to share our food and culture with the community.”
Alex’s menu features a variety of meat including chicken, ribs and pork. The Lopez’s also sell chimi combos, which include a sandwich, fries and a soda. The restaurant offers a wide variety of smoothies and juices, from orange to mango to pineapple and more. Flan, pastelitos and stuffed potatoes are also popular dishes.
When I visited Alex’s Chimis, I had the chicken chimi combo. It was lunch hour when I went so the restaurant was packed, but I still got my food surprisingly fast. The chicken was sliced and mixed with onions and tomatoes. The bread was perfectly toasted; it wasn’t too hard, but it wasn’t soft enough for it to rip. The fries weren't overly salty, and you could tell they were freshly cut from potatoes instead of being bought frozen.
Alex’s Chimis has good service and great food. I would recommend this small, family-owned restaurant to anyone in the neighborhood who is looking for a quick meal.