Chicago’s Bucktown – Featured Neighborhood

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Chicago’s Bucktown is a young, fun neighborhood with great independent boutique shopping and fun restaurants. Don’t miss:

Mindy’s Hot Chocolate: A great neighborhood spot with really good food. It is a restaurant and dessert bar. Don’t miss the desserts as chef Mindy Segal received a 2011 James Beard Foundation nomination for Outstanding Pastry Chef in the country. 1747 N. Damen.

Le Bouchon: A traditional French bistro with great ambiance and food. You will feel like you are in a small neighborhood restaurant in Paris. 1958 N. Damen. They are also open for lunch which I prefer to avoid the crowds.

Feast: A great restaurant just north of the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North. They have a lovely outdoor seating area that is perfect for lunch on a gorgeous summer day. 1616 N. Damen

Club Lucky: Looks like an old neighborhood supper club with good Italian food and retro atmosphere. The Christmas decorations in December are outstanding. 1824 W. Wabansia.

Buzz Killer Espresso: A local coffee shop, that was just redone, is a good spot for a shopping break. 1644 N. Damen.

LOKaL Restaurant and Lounge, 1904 W. North Ave.: Always good comfort food with a Polish influence. The restaurant becomes a busy bar and cocktail lounge late in the evening. They also have a popular brunch. I have eaten great entrees here in the past two years.

Lillie’s Q is located at 1856 W. North Ave. It is a great spot for barbecue.  I read it was a great spot for brunch where they feature shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, other egg dishes and more. I enjoyed my meal with a local friend.

Two great new stores include the hot retailer, Shinola at 1619 N. Damen and the creative Bucketfeet for artist designed tennis shoes, flip flops and more. 1647 N. Damen.

A wonderful new addition to the city is in the Bucktown neighborhood at the corner of North, Damen and Milwaukee right at the Blue Line stop. Groupo Habita from Mexico City has opened two properties in two historic buildings. The first, The Hollander, is a 20 room, high-end hostel, featuring shared as well as private rooms. It is good for singles, families and small groups. They have a coffee shop in the lobby run by Metric Coffee with a grab-and-go menu. A bike repair and rental shop is planned in the future. Next to it is the 69 room The Robey Chicago which has 69 rooms. It is aimed at independent and global travelers who appreciate great style and design. The Robey features 400-thread count sheets, WiFi and a swimming pool. The second floor lounge offers coffee by day and cocktails by night. Cafe Robey, is a French American bistro on the ground floor and there is a 35-seat rooftop bar overlooking the neighborhood which is open to guests and their friends. I thought the meal and service were really outstanding. The salmon entree, grilled octopus appetizer, plus butternut squash and brussel sprouts sides were perfectly prepared. The view from the upstairs bar is amazing.

I enjoyed my recent experience at Antico at 1946 N. Leavitt at Armitage. This is a fun neighborhood Italian cafe and restaurant. They feature seasonal ingredients and make all of their pasta, bread, gelato and sausage in-house. I was able to share several excellent dishes including the roasted beet and arugula salad with a goat cheese and fig vinaigrette and a pappardelle pasta with pork ragu. They have a lovely garden patio for the warmer month. I will definitely go back!

I just went to a recently opened gastropub, The Royal Grocer & Co. located at 2118 N. Damen. They offer a small, but creative menu along with a large selection of beer, wine and ciders. I enjoyed a fun meal with local friends.  They have a lively front room, a quieter back room and a large patio.


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