Chicago’s Bucktown Neighborhood

 

Category

Attractions

Destination

Chicago

Share

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

Mindy’s Hot Chocolate is now Mindy’s Bakery. This was a great neighborhood spot from chef Mindy Segal received the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in the country. Her focus is now on bagels, breads, quiche, croissants, cookies, bars, coffee cakes, donuts, cakes, tarts and pastries along with coffee and hot chocolate. Formerly at 1747 N. Damen, it relocated in the summer of 2022 to 1623 N. Milwaukee. I recently went for the first time and had a hard decision on what to buy as everything looked wonderful. I loved the loaded chocolate chip cookies that I bought for me and two local friends.

Mindy’s Bakery

Le Bouchon: A traditional French bistro, since 1993, 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. I recently went back after several years and loved the experience with great food and service. The French onion soup and the moules frites or mussels and fries made for a perfect lunch.

Le Bouchon

 

Le Bouchon

Next door is Pompette at 1960 N. Damen. This is a new find that I found through Restaurant Week in January 2024.  I went for brunch. I decided not to order the prix fixe menu, but had a very tasty tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich which was perfect on a cold Sunday. It is owned by three locals and has a young vibe with great food and service. The menu consists of daily brunch and dinner long with coffee, wine and cocktails. I recommend that you try it.

Pompette

 

Pompette

 

Pompette

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.

Club Lucky

 

Club Lucky

Make sure to stop in at the popular retailer, Shinola at 1619 N. Damen. I enjoyed visiting their Detroit store in the past. They have a great selection of watches, clocks and leather goods.

Shinola

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 a wonderful property located in two historic buildings. The Robey Chicago which has 69 rooms that 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, the Clever Coyote offers  offers cocktails and food items. Café Robey is a bistro on the ground floor and there rooftop bar, The Uproom looking the neighborhood.  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. The former Hollander, a 2o room, high-end hostel, featuring shared as well as private rooms, is now called The Annex Lofts and features three room configurations attached to the hotel.

Rooftop Lounge The Up Room

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!

Antico

The Royal Grocer & Co. is a new spot at 2118 N. Damen. They are open for dinner plus brunch on weekends. For dinner they features a selection of small and shared plates. I enjoyed my meal with local friends.

Pagoda Red, the well-known specialists in rare and unusual 19th Century Chinese antique furniture, accessories, art and artifacts, have moved back to Bucktown in a large warehouse location. They also represent emerging Chinese and Asian-inspired artists and designers. 1740 W. Webster.

My most recent find is etta restaurant. At 1840 W. North Ave. this is a contemporary, casual spot featuring  an merican menu of wood-fired fare and brunch plates. I went with a neighborhood friend a and really enjoyed lunch on the upstairs terrace. They also have a restaurant in River North at 700 N. Clark St.

etta

 

etta

Nearby at 1856 W. North Ave. is Firewood BBQ. Opened in early 2023, this is a casual, neighborhood sport that has a menu of salads, appetizers, sandwiches, platters and entrees. I went for their weekend brunch on a Saturday and was very pleased that I chose the smoked brisket benedict served on sourdough bread with greens, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce along with roasted potatoes. They also have food and cocktail specials throughout the week. It has a great atmosphere and service. They have three other restaurants including Ella’s BBQ in Lincoln Park that I have enjoyed in the past.

Firewood BBQ

 

Firewood BBQ

Another great new find is Lottie’s Pub 1925 W Cortland St. I have driven by it many times but had never been. On May 17, 2024 I heard on WGN TV that this historic bar was celebrating its 90th anniversary of opening in 1934, so I went a week later for lunch.  It started as a grocery store and bar by Lottie Zagorski who transformed it into a full-service bar with a speakeasy below during prohibition.

According to their website, “Zagorski’s soon became a place of anonymity for public officials and gangsters. The rathskeller was a concealed spot where horsebetting, gambling, stripping and plenty of other vices thrived. Photo/Lottie’s PubBackdoor deals between city officials and mobsters were also a daily occurrence at this neighborhood spot. Zagorski’s rathskeller became an escape from Mayor Kelly’s fight on crime.”

It has a fun atmosphere with a menu of drinks along with a food menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, tacos, burgers, Venezuelan arepas and pizza. I enjoyed the Chicago Med Turkey Burger with cheese that was named after the NBC television show, Chicago Med, which was filmed at the bar past seasons. They are also a place where you can watch the University of Kansas basketball and football games, along with other events from Team Trivia, Chicago Cubs Game Day specials, Chicago Blackhawks Game Day specials and the Kentucky Derby.

Lottie’s Pub

 

Lottie’s Pub