Andersonville is a northside neighborhood in Chicago that is known for it Swedish roots, historic architecture and thriving number of independent and local businesses along N. Clark St. There are a number of neighborhood events throughout the year, from wine walks, holiday events, a restaurant week and summer farmers market.
I recently went back for brunch and was very impressed with the many new stores, coffee shops and galleries since I was up there last. There are a number of spots that make it a perfect spot for a weekend brunch. My recommendation include:
Where to Eat in Andersonville
I have always enjoyed The Bongo Room on N. Milwaukee in Wicker Park. I also like the one at 5022 N. Clark in Andersonville and east of Ravenswood. It has great food for breakfast, brunch or lunch and has an outdoor patio for warmer months. The best is there is free parking in the lot south of the restaurant.
Nearby is Big Jones, known for its Southern specialties for brunch, lunch and dinner at 5347 N. Clark. I have enjoyed their shrimp and grits for Sunday brunch. I was just back and had another good experience enjoying the Simple Southern Breakfast with two eggs, smoked ham, a biscuit and grits. It is very popular, so book your reservation online before you go.
Lost Larson: I really enjoyed this excellent bakery and coffee shop. I didn’t know it was there until I read a review in the Sunday New York Times, the day I was heading up for brunch in the area. It was a great new find! I loved the latte and rye raisin cookie as my dessert. Bobby Schaffer, the chef and owner, has led the pastry programs for some of the world’s best restaurants including Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York and three star Michelin restaurant Grace, in Chicago. 5318 N. Clark.
Kanela Breakfast Club: At 5413 N. Clark, this casual spot is one of six in Chicago. Organic, local with a Greek influence.
A Taste of Heaven Cafe & Bakery: A fun breakfast spot, at 5401 N. Clark, that offers a number of breads, cakes, scones and cupcakes as well as serving breakfast and lunch items from soups to sandwiches.
Svea Restaurant: This colorful Swedish cafe dishes up a number of omelettes, hot sandwiches and meatballs for breakfast and lunch. 5236 N Clark.
George’s Ice Cream & Sweets: At 5306 N. Clark, this is a colorful neighborhood ice cream shop, since 2009, serving classic and unique flavors, plus sundaes, cupcakes and coffee drinks.
Colectivo Coffee: This is branch of the Milwaukee-based coffee roaster at 5425 N. Clark. The coffee drinks are always great. They have four Chicago area locations.
defloured A Gluten Free Bakery: This is a small, colorful bakery featuring gluten-free cakes, cookies and other desserts. 1477 W Balmoral Ave.
Andersonville Brewing: This is a casual sports pub that brews their own beer. Their focus is on a number of ales and small batch seasonal beers. They are affiliated with the casual Hamburger Mary’s next door which is known for its burgers and sandwiches. 5402 N. Clark.
Likewise on my list to try is Passerotto. It is getting rave reviews for its modern interpretation on classic Korean dishes with an Italian influence. 5420 N. Clark. It is only open for dinner.
Cowboys and Astronauts: At 1478 Summerdale Ave., this is a very stylish men’s lifestyle store featuring apparel, accessories, grooming products, travel supplies, home goods and gifts.
Brimfield: This is a popular antique and retail store, featuring a large selection of home furnishings and accessories. They are known for their many plaid items! 5219 N. Clark.
Need a crazy or fun gift, stop in at Strange Cargo for custom T-shirts and great gifts. 5216 N. Clark.
Martha Mae Art Supplies & Beautiful Things: Located at 5407 N. Clark, this is a small boutique featuring art, art supplies and other home and personal accessories from books, stationery, hand bags and notebooks.
Andersonville Galleria: This is a “year-round art fair” as it features works by over 100 independent artists under one roof and on two levels. I thought some of the ceramics and photography was excellent. They also features exhibitions, special events and classes. 5247 N. Clark.
Norcross and Scott Home: This is a lovely contemporary retail and interior design studio. They carry a nice selection of home furnishings, books, accessories and art. 1476 W. Berwyn.
Things to Do and Explore
Swedish American Museum: Over the years I have gone to the museum on several occasions. At 5211 N. Clark, the museum is dedicated to preserving the Swedish heritage and educating the public about the Swedish language, art and culture. Make sure to visit the permanent exhibit on Swedish immigration to Chicago which started over 150 years ago. The have a nice gift shop as well. When I was back recently they had a fun Christmas market with food and entertainment. They also have films, language and music classes and special events throughout the year.
St. Lucia, the Swedish Festival of Lights, is a great time to come back and see the procession throughout the neighborhood. The procession highlight is the appearance of the specially chosen “Lucia Girls”, who lead the crowd, wearing long white robes and beautiful crowns of candles and singing “The Lucia Song”. I have seen it in the past and it is really lovely.
Steep Theatre: A local friend, who sits on a number of theater boards, raves about the Steep Theatre. It is a modern 55-seat theater offering plays by emerging writers performed by its resident acting company. It is located at 1115 W. Berwyn, just east of Andersonville and the Clark St.corridor.