When Razz Cortés- Maceda was laid off from her job as a software designer in 2017, she asked herself “What’s the next chapter?” Her career working for Silicon Valley companies in the Fortune 50 was “awesome,” but she sought “something fun.” Cooking had always been a favorite pastime, and in her 20s she had owned two Mexican restaurants in Chicago, where she grew up. As she weighed her options, she noticed a building for sale on E. Montview Blvd. in Aurora. She closed on the building in March 2018, and opened her restaurant, Carm & Gia Metropolitan, on Feb. 3, 2020.
“When the lovely people at the administrative offices in the City of Aurora caught wind of our project, they became keenly interested in what we were doing,” says Cortés-Maceda. Aurora’s Restaurant Incentive Program offered some support for the building’s renovation and the City also encouraged her to apply for a low-interest loan from HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development). These funds helped support the site development, including landscaping and beautification. “A lot of things conspired in a positive way to realize this little dream that I had,” says Cortés-Maceda.
That dream materializes in Carm & Gia’s menu, which features some of the rich names and flavors from Chicago, Colorado, and Mexico, the country of Razz’s birth. Burgers and hotdogs are the eatery’s mainstays, with toppings including onion straws, green chile, sweet peppers, hot giardiniera, crema, chimichurri, pork belly, and chorizo. Burritos filled with everything from rajas, cotija cheese, carne asada, and toasted pepitas to chicharrón offer something for everyone. A lot of these ingredients are also available in smothered fries. If you have a sweet tooth, churros, shakes and floats complete the menu.
Though Cortés-Maceda opened right before the pandemic forced many businesses to close and continues to run on a “skeleton crew,” she is moved and impressed by the outpouring of community support. “We have a lot of repeat customers and a lot of praise on social media…it is almost altruistic because customers can go anywhere for their take-out, but they’re choosing to swing by and keep the employees employed and keep us going.” Cortés-Maceda hopes to soon be able to seat people on the patio for dining, but in the meantime, customers can order online at https://www.carmandgiametropolitan.com/ or call 303.747.4008. Delivery is available via the website, or pick up at 9598 E. Montview Blvd.
Photos courtesy of Carm & Gia