THE BUFF BRICK BUILDING HAS SAT on the street for nearly a century; hardly anyone today notices the ornate stone carvings at the top, once its pride. But this weekend, it opens its doors to the public, and so you venture inside… and almost gasp when you see what it’s been hiding. It might be an Art Deco lobby out of a Fred and Ginger movie, or an auditorium with a lapis lazuli painted sky, or a ballroom with rows of glittering bulbs… or even a model train set. In any case, it is a piece of another time, preserved out of sight like the ruins of Pompeii, until the weekend of Open House Chicago.

This is the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s ninth year of opening the doors to over 250 locations around the city, covering everything from churches to industrial sites to apartment buildings and startup offices. And this is my eighth year, going back to Grub Street Chicago and the Reader, of offering suggestions of where to eat in the neighborhoods where the buildings are part of the event. What’s the connection between architecture and food? Simply that both represent entry points into the cultures of neighborhoods, all over the city—if you want to know the city, do it by knowing how it eats as well as how it lives and works. (See the full list of sites and other info here.)

Here’s my updated guide to each featured neighborhood on this year’s list, showcasing some of the architectural highlights—and then a few restaurant suggestions for each one (skewed toward lunchtime) that also, in some way, convey the history and the makeup of the neighborhoods, just as the architectural choices do. (I left out Downtown—which accounts for about a quarter of the total sites—because it’s kind of grim eating on weekends and you probably already know what there is, anyway. But just because this guide focuses on the neighborhoods, don’t overlook it too.)

And if you like getting my suggestions for where to eat all over the city, check out The Fooditor 99—though I will point out that the 2019 edition currently available at Amazon will be updated later this year (in time for holiday giving).

 


Andersonville


What it is: On the list for the first time, a diverse community rooted in its Swedish heritage.

What to see: The Norman Gothic St. Gregory the Great and the Swedish Ebenezer Lutheran Church; the Edgewater History Museum, in an old firehouse.

Where to eat:
• Big Jones, 5347 N. Clark. Upscale takes on vintage Southern classics.
• Taste of Lebanon, 1509 W. Foster. Venerable middle eastern restaurant, especially strong for vegetarian dishes. (Closed Sunday.)
• Little Bad Wolf, 1541 W. Bryn Mawr. Locally beloved spot for burgers and cocktails.


Austin


Assumption Greek Orthodox Church

What it is: A former suburb on the economically disadvantaged west side with several sites trying to make new use of buildings from past eras.

What to see: Catholic Charities’ peace center in the 1913 Austin State Bank building, the freshly restored modernist Catalyst Circle Rock school, the Austin Town Hall Cultural Center (which was actually Cicero’s town hall when Austin was part of it), modeled on Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, and churches including Assumption Greek Orthodox Church and the Fraternité Notre Dame, an independent Catholic order serving the poor.

Where to eat:
• Flavors Southern Cooking, 5721 W. Division. Homey, welcoming soul food sit-down restaurant specializing in fried chicken, pork chops and classic sides.
• 3-D’s Jerk Chicken, 5317 W. North. Arguably the standout in a jerk chicken-rich part of town.
• Macarthur’s, 5412 W. Madison. Venerable west side soul food institution—every Chicago politician you’ve ever heard of has his picture on the wall somewhere. Fried chicken, smothered pork chops, and don’t miss caramel cake (from Brown Sugar Bakery) and banana pudding for dessert.


Avondale


What it is: Less well defined than hot Logan Square next to it, Avondale is a traditional Polish and industrial neighborhood turned up and coming restaurant hotspot.

What to see: Pumping Station One, a cooperative maker space, and Guild Row, an entire manufacturing complex in development devoted to maker culture.

Where to eat:
• Honey Butter Fried Chicken, 3361 N. Elston. Locally beloved hipster fried chicken spot with a fast-moving line out the doors most days; if the weather is nice, head for the patio.
• Taqueria Mazamitla, 3610 W. Belmont. Very good Mexican family restaurant.
• Moonlight Vulture, 2889 N. Milwaukee. Arty little vegan (almost; there’s some cheese and seafood) cafe.


Back of the Yards


What it is: Historically, the rough and tumble neighborhood occupied by stockyard workers, now finding a second life as a food business incubator, with three sites related to food and drink production.

What to see: The Plant, a whole building devoted to self-sustaining food production, including Whiner Beer; St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church.

Where to eat:
• Back of The Yards Coffeehouse and Roastery, 2059 W. 47th. Neighborhood-focused coffeehouse.
• Cafeteria Yesenia, 4244 S. Ashland. Friendly spot for coffee and Cuban sandwiches.
• Butterdough, 3452 S. Western. Brand new bakery and coffee shop with a Mexican tinge.


Beverly


What it is: Suburb-like neighborhood at the city’s far southern end with a relaxed 1950s feel (and a remarkably successful record of integration without social strife).

What to see: Beverly’s most famous landmark, the Givins Castle; the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association; and the Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery.

Where to eat:
• Top Notch Beef Burgers, 2116 W. 95th St. Burger restaurant dating back to the 1940s with beef ground in house, fries fried in lard and chocolate milkshakes—all sublime.
• Calabria Imports, 1905 W. 103rd St. Italian deli and shop with a fine eggplant parm sandwich, among others.
• Ain’t She Sweet Cafe, 9920 S. Western. Cheerful sandwich and salad cafe.


Bridgeport


Zap Props

What it is: Traditional power base of Irish Chicago (but home to Lithuanians and many other groups back in the day), now a fast-rising real estate market and a growing Chinese neighborhood.

What to see: The funkiest site on the whole list has to be Zap Props, whose jumbled warehouse of old stuff supplies period detail to Hollywood and restaurants alike; go early as they only take a few at a time inside. New this year is the ComEd training station and the Monastery of the Holy Cross, inside an early 1900s German church.

Where to eat:
• Big Boss Spicy Fried Chicken, 2520 S. Halsted. Like the name says; be sure to get a side of pickles.
• Laura’s Pizza and Pasta, 1546 W. 35th. Italian sandwiches and pasta made with above average quality. (Read more here.)
• La Mom Kitchen, 3312 S. Halsted. Shanghainese noodle and dumpling dishes of a high caliber.


Bronzeville


First Church of Deliverance

What it is: The traditional center of African-American Chicago.

What to see: Ebernezer Missionary Baptist Church (“the birthplace of gospel music”), the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed NEIU Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, and the Boxville retail area made out of cargo containers.

Where to eat:
• Peach’s Place, 4652 S. King Drive. Soul food breakfast and lunch spot with good southern dishes.
• Yassa African Restaurant, 3511 S. Martin Luther King Dr. Enjoy yassa chicken and djolof rice at this Senegalese restaurant.
• Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles, 3947 S. King Dr. Soul food brunch classics in a stylish space.


Edgewater


What it is: In the 1920s, it was Chicago’s answer to Miami Beach—swanky hotels and apartments and the upscale businesses that served their residents.

What to see:  1920s Chicago comes alive at the Edgewater Beach apartments and a few vintage mansions, including the George Maher-designed Colvin House—which has been renovated as a co-working space.

Where to eat:
• DAK, 1104 W. Granville. Chicken wings and other simple, tasty Korean dishes.
• Mama K’s Cafe, 1036 W. Bryn Mawr. Paninis and desserts in the old Zanzibar space.
• Phlour Bakery & Cafe, 1138 W. Bryn Mawr. French bakery and cafe sandwiches.


Englewood


St. Benedict the African

What it is: Once the commercial center of African-American Chicago, Englewood will show a couple of sites that are part of efforts to revitalize the neighborhood.

What to see: The modernist St. Benedict the African church; Growing Home’s Wood Street Farm.

Where to eat:
• Kusanya Cafe, 825 W. 69th. Coffeeshop and sandwich cafe with punny names (“Tuna Turner”).
• Garifuna Flava, 2518 W. 63rd. Jerk chicken place representing the flavors of a little-known Caribbean subgroup.
• Cutie Pie’s Kitchen, 752 W. 78th. Mostly takeout soul food spot.


Evanston


Stained glass at the Alice Millar Chapel

What it is: Historic suburb that’s home to Northwestern University.

What to see: Some churches, and many Northwestern buildings including the Alice Millar Chapel with its spectacular stained glass, the Dearborn Observatory, and the psychedelic-Gothic Levere Memorial Temple, headquarters of the SAE fraternity—don’t miss the murals of dwarfs (the Snow White kind) engaged in all kinds of collegiate fun in the basement rathskeller.

Where to eat:
• Edzo’s Burger Shop, 1571 Sherman. Much-beloved burger joint.
• Cupitol, 812 Grove. Former site of the notorious Keg, where you couldn’t get in without a fake ID, now a chic coffee and sandwich place with excellent housemade croissants.
• 10Q Chicken, 816 Church St. A chicken sandwich spot from the owners of BopNGrill.


Garfield Park


Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica & National Shrine

Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica & National Shrine

What it is: African American community has some spectacular vintage sites within a disadvantaged area with signs of redevelopment.

What to see:  Churches including the enormous Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica (which is where Sean Connery first told Kevin Costner about the Chicago way), the food and beverage business incubator The Hatchery, and the Great Lakes Yard, which supplies recovered lumber.

Where to eat:
• Al’s Under the L, 2908 W. Lake. One of the city’s oldest and certainly lowest-frills hot dog and burger stands.
• Life Kitchen, 3858 W. Madison. Healthy soul food place for fish, salad, wraps and more.
• Inspiration Kitchens, 3504 W. Lake. Soul food and Cajun-flavored west side outpost of the organization that trains the homeless to become cooks and servers.


Gold Coast


What it is: Wealthy lake shore enclave, very ecumenical in its churches and in mansions turned into museums.

What to see: Vintage mansions from the late 19th and early 20th century including the Madlener House (now an arts organization), and St. Chrysostom’s Episocopal Church.

Where to eat:
• 3 Arts Club Cafe, 1300 N. Dearborn. As spectacular as any building on the tour, this society women’s club turned Restoration Hardware outlet has a stunning cafe.
• Marisol, 205 E. Pearson. Cafe from Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe) inside the Museum of Contemporary Art.
• Petit Margeaux, 11 E. Walton. Casual French cafe and patisserie in the posh Waldorf-Astoria.


Hyde Park


What it is: The home base of the University of Chicago.

What to see: The newly restored Hyde Park Bank & Trust, with its spectacular 2nd floor lobby, and several churches such as KAM Isaiah Israel.

Where to eat:
• The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue West. Impressive bar, restaurant and music venue complex from the same group as Longman & Eagle and Dusek’s.
• Nella Pizza e Pasta, 1125 E. 55th. Authentic Neapolitan pizza from the woman who helped open Spacca Napoli.
• Plein Air Cafe & Eatery, 5751 S. Woodlawn. Pleasant cafe with light lunches and a view of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House.


Irving Park


What it is: North side residential neighborhood.

What to see: Massive Carl Schurz High School, with some impressive mural work inside, is the highlight of this residential neighborhood, plus the Masonic temple that has been rehabbed into Eris Brewery.

Where to eat:
• Eris Brewery & Cider House, 4240 W. Irving Park. Housemade cider and solid bar food in this rehabbed Masonic temple.
• Finom Coffee, 4200 W. Irving Park. A historic 19th century grocery/tavern now houses this coffee shop serving hearty Hungarian food.
• La Nonna, 3400 N. Lawndale. Friendly Argentine sandwich and empanada shop.


Jefferson Park


What it is: Northwest side residential neighborhood

What to see: The Copernicus Center, formerly the Gateway Theater, and the Ed Paschke Art Center, devoted to the Chicago Pop artist.

Where to eat:
• Smak-Tak, 5961 N. Elston. Beloved Polish food spot with a forest lodge theme.
• Westons Coffee and Tap, 4872 N. Milwaukee. Relaxed coffeehouse with paninis and salads.
• Mother Cluckers Kitchen, 5200 N. Elston. Solid, friendly Southern food spot.


Lakeview


What it is: Affluent housing area on the lake front, mostly dating to around the 1920s.

What to see: Several theaters, the Salvation Army college at Broadway and Addison, and a B&B with a secret bar underneath.

Where to eat: Lakeview has plenty of places to get a burger and beer, so I’ll focus on some of the lesser-known food cultures in the area:
• Crisp, 2940 N. Broadway. Korean chicken wings and other tasty Asian things.
• Yakisoba Misoya, 2852 N. Clark. Stir-fry Japanese noodle spot from the same chain as Ramen Misoya.
• Zizi’s Cafe, 2825 N. Sheffield. Very friendly Turkish restaurant with fresh-baked bread.


Lincoln Park


What it is: Another affluent housing area on the lake front, a little older than Lakeview.

What to see: Lincoln Park’s short list includes several churches, the shrine of Mother Cabrini, and the Egyptianate Reebie Storage building, now the New Elephant resale shop.

Where to eat: Like Lakeview, Lincoln Park is full of fast food and sports bars, but here are a few more interesting choices:
• The Gundis, 2909 N. Clark. Kurdish cafe offering shawarma sandwiches and other central Asian specialties.
• Del Seoul, 2569 N. Clark. The L.A. Korean taco craze came to Chicago at this place, and they’re pretty good.
• Xi’an Dynasty Cuisine, 2218 N. Lincoln. Unusually good and authentic Chinese food for the north side.

Fooditor 99 monolith

Lincoln Square/Ravenswood


Krause Music Store

What it is: Repurposed factory buildings and a German heritage brought back to life in new businesses.

What to see: The DANK Haus, Louis Sullivan’s last design at the Krause Music Store, and the Ravenswood Event Center, a massive former billboard-painting studio, now home to a car collection (Sunday only).

Where to eat:
• Baker Miller, 4655 N. Lincoln. New and improved location for the inventive bakery and coffeeshop.
• River Valley Farmer’s Table, 1820 W. Wilson. Farm to table sandwiches and salads from the people you see selling mushrooms and jarred goods at the farmers markets.
• Luella’s Southern Kitchen, 4609 N Lincoln. Upscale takes on southern comfort food.


Logan Square


What it is: One of the city’s hottest restaurant neighborhoods mixes survivors of old Norwegian and Polish Chicago with repurposed buildings.

What to see: The Logan Square Auditorium, and churches around the square such as the Norwegian Minnekirken.

Where to eat:
• Revolution Brewing, 2323 N Milwaukee. Popular beer and pub food spot.
• Lula Cafe, 2537 N. Kedzie. Farm to table cafe has long been a hub of the neighborhood, located as it is in the towering Logan Square Auditorium building (which is on the tour).
• Paulie Gee’s, 2451 N. Milwaukee. Artful thin crust pizzas and hearty Detroit-style ones.


Morgan Park


Morgan Park Academy Library

What it is: Little-known community making some reuse of 1890s structures, when it was a new suburb reached by rail.

What to see: The Morgan Park Academy Alumni Hall, once part of a military boarding school; the antiques-filled Ingersoll-Blackwelder house from 1874.

Where to eat:
• Horse Thief Hollow, 10426 S. Western. Brewpub and restaurant with southern flavors.
• Manzo’s Burger, 2353 W. 111th. Above average burger joint run by a cheerful Mexican family.
• Ellie’s Cafe, 10701 S. Hale Ave. Another friendly cafe with nice breakfast and lunch choices.


Near North Side


What it is: Where the quality have lived since the 19th century in Chicago.

What to see: Mostly churches, along with the Newberry Library and the truly lavish Driehaus Museum.

Where to eat: 
• 3rd Coast Cafe, 1260 N. Dearborn. Longtime wine bar and cafe.
• Mozzarella Store, 822 N. Michigan. Housemade mozzarella goes into pizzas, salads and more.
• Maple & Ash, 8 W. Maple. You don’t have to drop a wad at this steakhouse evoking midcentury Gold Coast glitz—stick to the bars (one as you walk in, another on the top floor) and you can savor the atmosphere while ordering more modestly.


Near West Side


What it is: Industrial and food market area that’s become a tech and startup center and a hot restaurant row, stretching down to the UIC area.

What to see: The toy-filled headquarters of Big Monster Toys (Saturday only), who concept new toys for kids and grownups; St. Ignatius College Prep; the twice-restored St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church; and so far as I know the only police station ever on the tour—UIC’s, in an 1888 Daniel Burnham building originally built for the CPD.

Where to eat (all open both days): 
• Publican Quality Meats, 825 W. Fulton Market. Sandwiches and a few other things (like the hearty ribollita soup) in this spinoff from the fancier spot next door.
• Relo’s Board Game and Dessert Cafe, 1321 W. Taylor. Paninis, dessert and board games.
• Chilango Mexican Street Food, 1437 W. Taylor. Tasty little hole in the wall near UIC area.


North Lawndale


Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center

What it is: An old industrial area, home to Sears and populated by Eastern European Jewish immigrants, now largely African-American and the site of various efforts to reuse its buildings.

What to see: The remaining Sears buildings (the tower and the power house, now a technology high school).

Where to eat:
Honestly there isn’t very much in the area. Try the entries for Garfield Park, or:
• Dave’s Red Hots, 3422 W. Roosevelt Rd. A truly vintage hot dog stand, seemingly unchanged since the neighborhood was Jewish in the 20s and 30s.


Oak Park


Stained glass at Pleasant Home

What it is: The closest suburb straight west has many fine churches and homes.

What to see: The star architect to see isn’t Frank Lloyd Wright but his Arts & Crafts-ish contemporary George Maher, who did Pleasant Home and Unity Church—not the same as Unity Temple.

Where to eat:
• Spilt Milk, 103 S. Oak Park Ave. Pies and quiches from a baker who worked at Blackbird and Hoosier Mama.
• Maya Del Sol, 144 S. Oak Park Ave. Nice upscale Mexican cafe.
• Lola Tining’s Cuisine, 1141 Garfield St. Tasty range of Filipino specialties.
Thanks to David Hammond for suggestions!


Old Town


What it is: Eclectic neigborhood that still has traces of its 1960s heyday as a folk music and comedy center, though the head shops are gone.

What to see: Second City, the Moody Bible Institute’s church, St. Michael’s of Old Town.

Where to eat:
• The Glunz Tavern, 1202 N. Wells. On the tour, German-American restaurant filled with memorabilia and furnishings from past German establishments and the Glunz family’s century-old liquor business.
• Old Jerusalem, 1411 N. Wells. Venerable middle eastern restaurant/relic of the old Old Town.
• Forastero, 449 W. North. Korean tacos, including vegan options.


Pilsen


Liam Gebert

Hector Duarte Studio

What it is: Mexican neighborhood with a Czech heritage, and lots of Mexican food to sample.

What to see: Just four locations, including the Hector Duarte art studio with its mural exterior and St. Paul Roman Catholic Church.

Where to eat:
• 5 Rabanitos, 1758 W. 18th. Excellent family-run Mexican restaurant (the dad had experience in Rick Bayless’ restaurants), serving top tamales, tacos and other dishes.
• Pollo Express, 1315 W. 18th. Char-grilled chicken joint, you’ll smell it a block away.
• Ca Phe Da, 1800 S. Carpenter. The more informal side of the Vietnamese restaurant HaiSous offers delicious coffees and simple, tasty rice dishes.


Portage Park


Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church

What it is: Northside residential neighborhood.

What to see: Lake Effect Brewing, and Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church.

Where to eat:
• BRGRBelly, 5739 W. Irving Park. Much-admired spot for freshly made burgers and buns and craft beer.
• Hagen’s Fish Market, 5635 W. Montrose. Old school Scandinavian fish market serving fried shrimp and po’boy sandwiches.
• Pueblo Nuevo, 4342 N. Central. Friendly family-run Mexican spot.


Rogers Park


What it is: Beachfront neighborhood, a highly eclectic mix of grand homes and immigrant businesses.

What to see: The lavish St. Jerome; Piper Hall, one of the last of the old lakefront mansions, complete with Tiffany windows.

Where to eat:
• Smack Dab, 6730 N. Clark. Cute, very woke cafe and bakery.
• BopNGrill, 6604 N. Sheridan. Much-loved spot specializing in burgers and Korean bibimbop.
• SP Kebab, 6808 N. Sheridan. Nicely run Turkish/Greek kebab and wrap spot.


South Loop/Prairie Avenue


What it is: The original getaway from downtown for the wealthy in Chicago, with some beautiful houses on Prairie Avenue (when they weren’t torn down long ago).

What to see: A feast for old house fans, including the city’s oldest house (the Clarke House Museum), the Romanesque Glessner house, and the Second Empire-style Wheeler Mansion. Go on Sunday as a couple of the main ones are closed Saturday.

Where to eat: You’re so close to Chinatown (and it’s most likely to be open on Sunday), so head there:
• Cai, 2100 S. Archer Ave., Suite 2F (upper level). Busy, popular dim sum place in the Chinatown mall on Archer.
• Slurp Slurp Noodles, 2247 S. Wentworth. How do you like your noodles, hand-pulled or handcut? Get them either way in soups or stir fries here.
• Wentworth Seafood House, 2229 S. Wentworth. Cantonese favorites executed especially well.

For more Chinatown suggestions, see this Fooditor Guide.

HP

South Shore


Book collection of Johnson Publishing, at Stony Island Arts Bank

What it is: African-American neighborhood long in the shadow of the steelworks.

What to see: Theaster Gates’ Stony Island Arts Bank; WGN Flag & Decorating Co., maker of giant flags (an excellent stop if you’re touring with kids who will be delighted to walk away with flag swag).

Where to eat:
• 5 Loaves Eatery, 405 E. 75th. Charming breakfast/soul food spot for things like chicken and waffles.
• Lem’s Bar-B-Q, 311 E. 75th. The city’s oldest barbecue spot, cooking up rib tips and hot links in a vinegary sauce. Take-out only.
• Soul Vegetarian East, 205 E. 75th. Tasty vegetarian choices covering a lot of different types of cuisines.


Ukrainian Village


Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral

What it is: Ukrainian enclave is gentrifying, but its immigrant character is still plainly visible.

What to see: A host of spectacular Ukrainian churches, including Louis Sullivan’s Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral (the smallest but most harmonious of the bunch), plus the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.

Where to eat:
• Shokolad, 2524 W. Chicago. Ukrainian dishes with an emphasis on dessert crepes.
• Ann’s Bakery & Deli, 2158 W. Chicago. Eastern European baked goods and prepared foods.
• Whisk, 2018 W. Chicago. Funky breakfast place with a decorating thing for Ron Swanson.


Uptown


Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Society

Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Society

What it is: An eclectic mix of big buildings reflecting onetime prosperity, reused industrial spaces along the Ravenswood tracks—and the city’s other “Chinatown.”

What to see: The newly restored Lawrence House with its vaulted-ceiling bar, a Buddhist temple, and the Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad club in the park fieldhouse.

Where to eat:
• It may not have any historic buildings, dating only to the 1970s, but the north side Asian district on and near Argyle street includes a number of outstanding restaurants, including Sun Wah (5041 N. Broadway) for Hong Kong style BBQ pork and duck, Ba Le (5014 N. Broadway) for banh mi sandwiches, Chiu Quon Bakery (1127 W. Argyle) for pastries and BBQ pork buns, Pho 777 (1065 W. Argyle) for Vietnamese soup, and Immm Rice and Beyond (4949 N. Broadway) for authentic Thai food (see this Fooditor guide).


Washington Park


What it is: Signs of redevelopment near the University of Chicago.

What to see: Just two sites: the K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center (Saturday only) and the Green Line Performing Arts Center.

Where to eat: A bit sparse, but I can recommend soul food takeout from Miss Lee’s Good Food, 203 E. Garfield Blvd. Otherwise very close to the listings for Bronzeville or Hyde Park.


West Ridge


Park Castle Condominiums

What it is: A diverse, mostly residential neighborhood on the north side.

What to see: The charming, hidden swimming pool inside the Park Castle condo building; a water treatment facility (Saturday only).

Where to eat:
• Khan BBQ, 2401 W. Devon. Grilled meats Pakistani-style.
• Taza Bakery, 3100 W. Devon. Shawarma and savory hand pies with middle eastern flavors.
• La Llamarada, 6977 N. Western. Cuban and South American food; stop by Lickity Split across the street for ice cream afterwards.


West Town


Ignite Glass Studio

What it is: A Polish neighborhood, an industrial neighborhood, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

What to see: A host of Polish Catholic churches, sculptor Jerzy Kenar’s studio and that big concrete factory you pass going west on Chicago.

Where to eat:
• Boeufhaus, 1012 N. Western Ave. Neighborhood steakhouse has a hearty menu of well-crafted sandwiches at lunch, as well as outstanding French onion soup.
• Papa’s Cache Sabroso, 2517 W. Division. Puerto Rican restaurant specializing in roast chicken and pork, also does an excellent jibarito.
• Podhalanka, 1549 W. Division. The last full-fledged Polish restaurant in the area, Podhalanka serves hearty, homey Polish food—though the old style hospitality has been known to become upselling, so make sure you want what’s being ordered for you.


Wicker Park


What it is: Polish turned artists’ neighborhood turned hot real estate for young people.

What to see: Galleries including the Flatiron Building, theaters, St. Stanislaus Kostka.

Where to eat:
• Cafe Robey, 2018 W. North. Brunch spot in the triangle skyscraper that is Wicker Park’s landmark.
• Oiistar, 1385 N. Milwaukee. Ramen and other Japanese dishes.
• Rakki Cafe, 1375 N. Milwaukee. Simple Asian dishes and softserve ice cream in flavors like black sesame seed and ube.


Woodlawn


What it is: The area just south of the University of Chicago, future home to the Obama Library (not on the tour).

What to see: Mostly churches, including the Shrine of Christ the King which is coming back impressively as a restored ruin after a 2015 fire.

Where to eat:
• Daley’s Restaurant, 809 E. 63rd. Diner and soul food restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in the city, dating to at least the early 1900s (though this location is new as of last year).
• The Slab Bar-B-Q, 1918 E. 71st. New barbecue spot, takeout only, cooking in the classic south side style.
• Wesley’s Momma Made Burgers, 6658 S. Cottage Grove. Okay, I actually haven’t been there, but with a name like that, how could it not be 1) great 2) exactly what it sounds like?

 


Michael Gebert is the adaptively reused editor of Fooditor. He adaptively reused some of past years’ text and pictures, too.

COVER IMAGE: Pleasant Home by George Maher, Oak Park


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