Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood

 

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The Arts

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Chicago

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Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood is a great destination for theater, restaurants and shopping. It is an area bounded by Diversey Pkwy. on the south, Irving Park Rd. on the north, N. Lakeshore Drive on the east and N. Ravenswood Ave. on the west. The Southport Corridor along Southport Ave. is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city to visit.

N. Southport Ave.

Some of my favorite neighborhood spots include:

Tango Sur, 3763 N. Southport Ave: This is a great spot for Argentinian specialties. I recently went back with a group of local friends and enjoyed the food and service. The portions are large and it is a BYOB  restaurant which makes it a great value. It is very popular, so make sure to book your reservations in advance. They recently opened a more casual Bodega Sur next door at 3755 N. Southport. They serve Argentinian specialties including a daily brunch menu.

Tango Sur

 

Tango Sur

 

Bodega Sur

El Mercado Food Mart: At 3767 N. Southport, this Argentinian grocery store, a part of Tango Sur, is known for its quality meats.

El Mercado Food Mart

Bombastic Café is a coffee house where they serve single origin specialty coffee beans that are roasted in-house. They also feature specialty teas, infused sparkling sodas, color-changing lemonades and seasonal craft cocktails. I really enjoyed the staff and the experience. 3732 N. Southport Ave.

Bombastic Café

Also, fun is the colorful Cafe Tola Loncheria y Tacos for coffee, tacos and empanadas. 3612 N. Southport Ave.

Cafe Tola Loncheria y Tacos

Corridor Brewery & Provisions. This is a casual local craft brewery and gastropub at 3446 N. Southport. I went with neighborhood friends and enjoyed my experience.

Corridor Brewery & Provisions

 

Corridor Brewery & Provisions

Music Box Theatre: Since 2007, this is the place to see foreign and independent films in Chicago. Their sing-along White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life is a must during the Holidays!!

Music Box Theater

I was sad to learn that during the pandemic in 2020/21 that the Mercury Theater at 3745 N. Southport Ave. was permanently closing. But in late 2021, I was thrilled to learn that it was reopening and would continue to play a prominent role in musical theater in Chicago. It has been a popular venue for its homegrown productions such as Avenue Q and Spamalot, which I saw there in its larger Mainstage Theater. I was recently back for two Mainstage productions of the musicals Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Big River.

In addition, they have a smaller and more intimate Venus Cabaret Theater, where I have really enjoyed recent productions of Company, An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas Show and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, a one-woman musical about Billie Holiday. I hope you will go and support this important local venue!

Mercury Theater

 

Mercury Theater – Company

 

Mercury Theater

 

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

 

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Close to the Mercury Theater is the casual Doña Tola at 3751 N. Southport Ave. for Mexican cuisine and cocktails. I went after my last performance for cocktails and guacamole with friends. I loved my old fashioned with a smoky mezcal. The staff was very friendly.

Doña Tola

 

Doña Tola

Before or after a performance you can enjoy a meal at Ela Elli  at 1349 W Cornelia Ave. which features an upscale, international menu. I was there and enjoyed the experience and the service. It is popular and has limited seating, so make sure you book it online in advance. We were lucky and found a great spot near the fireplace in the bar area without a reservation, after going to the Mercury Theater. I loved the roasted tomato, burrata and basil pizza and a great glass of red wine. They have a several charcuterie and toasts, pizzas and pastas and vegetables plus seafood and meats.  I look forward to going back.

Ela Elli

 

Ela Elli

Next door at 3455 N. Southport Ave. is Crosby’s Kitchen for American comfort food and a weekend brunch in a family-friendly setting.

 

Crosby’s Kitchen

Other recent finds include Brou’nē Dessert’s fourth Chicago location at 3721 N. Southport. This is a bakery and coffee shop featuring decadent brownies, cookies and blondies. The Bobby chocolate chip cookie with milk and dark Belgian chocolate was well-worth the calories!! On my second visit, I enjoyed the dark chocolate cookie with Nutella.

Brou’nē Desserts

Next door is the guild, a colorful boutique featuring clothing and accessories, art, jewelry, home accessories and more. Their mission is to source products made sustainably by artists, artisans, and indigenous tribes using fair trade and charitable practices, offering something for everyone. 3717 N. Southport Ave.

the guild

Steingold’s of Chicago: Originally opened in 2017, this popular Jewish Deli opened their Lakeview location in 2021 at 3737 N. Southport Ave. They are known for their New York bagels, bagel sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, soups, salads and coffee drinks. Be prepared to wait in line, during the popular weekend times. I loved their classic lox sandwich on a sesame bagel with Nova lox, cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, lightly pickled cucumbers, capers and a side of potato salad.

Steingold’s of Chicago

 

Steingold’s of Chicago

5411 Empanadas has opened another Chicago location at 3715 N. Southport. They carry a large menu of Argentinian empanadas, desserts and coffee drinks.

5411 Empanadas

At the north end of the corridor is Port & Park Bistro & Bar at 4000 N. Southport. This is a casual bar and restaurant in a vintage tavern setting with a lounge and patio. I was pleased to have found it and went for brunch with a friend who was visiting from Michigan. I loved being on the outside patio on a beautiful fall day. They have a large brunch, lunch and dinner menu along with cocktails. I recommend the California frittata with cheese, tomatoes, spinach and avocado plus breakfast potatoes.

Port & Park Bistro & Bar

 

Port & Park Bistro & Bar

Athenaeum Theatre:  Located south of the Music Box and Mercury Theatre, the Athenaeum is an historic theater, and for  over 100 years and is Chicago’s oldest continually running off-loop theater. With a large main stage and three smaller studio theaters, it is home to a number of theater companies, dance companies, comedians and concerts. Make sure to check out their website for the current schedule. On my last visit, I saw an excellent contemporary opera presented by the Lyric Opera. Street parking is available, but they also have two nearby lots they share with a neighborhood church. 2936 N. Southport.

Athenaeum Theatre

Before a performance at the Athenaeum, I recommend having dinner at Sal’s Trattoria two blocks south at 2834 N. Southport. This is a neighborhood Italian restaurant open for dinner and Sunday brunch. I enjoyed the warm atmosphere along with the service. I recommend the beet salad and the mussels steamed in white wine. They also make all pastas in-house. It is owned by the same group as The Butcher & Burger, one of my favorite spots in Lincoln Park.

Sal’s Trattoria

Just west of Southport at 3856 N. Ashland Ave. is Tribu Caffe. Opened in June, 2023, this is a casual breakfast and lunch spot with a large menu of eggs benedicts, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and panini.  I really enjoyed the experience!  I loved the smoked salmon benedict and talking to the lovely staff who were from Mexico and Ecuador. I can’t wait to go back.

Tribu Caffe

 

Tribu Caffe

Angelina Ristorante: At 3561 N. Broadway, Angelina has been a neighborhood favorite since 1988. They serve excellent Italian food for dinner and for brunch on weekends.

Wood: At 3335 N. Halsted, Wood is one of the best restaurants in Chicago since it opened in 2012 and has received the Michelin Bib Gourmand designation several times.

To the south is a new find, Drew’s on Halsted, which was recommended by local friends.  This a casual restaurant serving lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends. I went for brunch on a Saturday with other friends and really enjoyed it. The staff was excellent and the menu had many great choices. I was pleased to have ordered the crab cake eggs benedict and a latte.  They have a full bar menu as well as an outdoor patio in the summer months. I will definitely go back. 3201 N. Halsted at Belmont.

Drew’s on Halsted

At 3307 N. Clark is the French café, Maison Parisienne. Opened by three friends from France, they offer not only coffee and tea but several varieties of quiche, sandwiches, soups and salads, plus wonderful macaron, croissants and pastries. I enjoyed the Quiche Lorraine with a salad plus a wonderful almond tart made from a 200 year-old French recipe. It is a casual spot, BYOB along with a small patio in the rear. I loved the sign on the wall that states 100% homemade by real French people. The chocolate, flour and butter are all imported from France, so the quality is outstanding!

Maison Parisienne

Maison Marcel. Having read about Maison Marcel as a great breakfast/brunch spot in Lakeview, I had to try it.  This is a casual French bakery what offers a large number of drinks and pastries along with a menu featuring quiche, egg dishes, soups, salads and tartines. I really enjoyed the salmon tartine which included smoked salmon served on toasted rustic French country bread, herbed cream cheese, sprinkled with chives and capers and  served with a mixed greens salad. I will definitely go back. 3114 N. Broadway.

Maison Marcel

Opened in 2007 is Wilde Bar & Restaurant at 3130 N. Broadway. I had not heard or read about it until a local friend suggested we go for lunch. This is a literary-themed upscale Irish pub in a warm, comfortable setting. They have a large menu of American and Irish dishes including soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches and entrees including fish & chips and shepherds’s pie. They also have weekend brunch menu and a gluten free menu. I had a great reuben sandwich and really enjoyed the experience.

Wilde Bar & Restaurant

 

Wilde Bar & Restaurant

Nearby at 3107 N. Broadway is The Bagel Restaurant and Deli. This is a classic Jewish deli/diner, started over 70 years ago,  with an extensive menu of traditional favorites from salads, sandwiches, blintzes, soups, burgers, fish dishes, omelettes, breakfast dishes, fountain treats and desserts. Their Old Orchard location recently closed.  According to owner Danny Wolf, “at our Chicago location we will continue our tradition of home-style cooking and hospitality established by my parents and grandparents when they brought their recipes and kitchen skills from Europe.”

I was very pleased to have found it and really enjoyed the diner atmosphere and the avocado toast with lox. It was a prefect choice before a performance at the Timeline Theatre nearby.

The Bagel Restaurant and Deli

 

The Bagel Restaurant and Deli

At 3415 N. Broadway is one of the three locations for Ann Sather Restaurant. This is a local breakfast and lunch spot that has been in business for over 70 years. Ann Sather bought a former Swedish restaurant in 1945. I have enjoyed the 909 W. Belmont location several times in the past. I recently met a friend for brunch/lunch at the N. Broadway location. It has a colorful, casual decor and an extensive menu of breakfast and lunch items. I highly recommend it.

Ann Sather Restaurant

TimeLine Theatre Company: Located 615 Wellington just west of Broadway, this is a theater company that continually gets great reviews for its productions. It is celebrating its 27th season and has presented 90 productions, including 13 world premieres and 41 Chicago premieres. I have seen four plays in the last few years and the quality is really outstanding! I went in February 2024 to see the production of Notes from the Field written by Anna Deavere Smith. They are in process of moving to a larger and new permanent venue at 5033-5035 N. Broadway Ave. in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.

TimeLine Theatre Company

For great a great small theater experience, check out the schedule for the productions at Stage 773, a performance venue at 1215 W. Belmont. I have seen several productions there. Next door at 1229 W. Belmont is Theater Wit. I went to my first production a few years ago that was excellent. They have three performance spaces.

One of my favorite neighborhood spots is Coda de Volpe at 3335 N. Southport. It is a sleek restaurant featuring Italian pastas, pizzas and specialties. I went back a second time and loved the pasta, pizzas and salads. I went back for the third time and loved sharing a margherita pizza, an arugula salad, the wood-grilled octopus and the oven roasted butternut squash with apples, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds for a lite bite with friends.

Coda de Volpe

Across the street is Little Goat Diner. This is Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s casual spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It relocated to this new Southport Corridor location from the West Loop on Randolph in April, 2023. I had to check it out for lunch. It has a fun menu. Since the shrimp and grits was sold out I opted for a tasty reuben sandwich. I sat at the counter as there was a huge wait for table both inside and outside. I suggest going early and possibly avoiding weekends.  It is located at 3325 N. Southport Ave. in the former Southport Lanes building. In the same building is  GG’s Chicken Shop by chef Lee Wolen of BOKA restaurant, and Japanese restaurant Itoko by chef Gene Kato of Momotaro.

I made a point to try GG’s Chicken Shop on my last visit to the neighborhood to attend a musical at the Mercury Theater. I really enjoyed the chicken burger with caramelized onions, gouda cheese, dill pickles, lettuce and roasted garlic aioli on a brioche bun along with the broccoli slaw made with brocolli,  almonds, raisins, dill and lemon poppy seed dressing. They have nice outdoor seating.

Little Goat Diner

 

GG’s Chicken Shop

 

Schubas Tavern

South of Coda de Volpe is the Tied House at 3157 N. Southport. It is next and attached to Schubas Tavern, a popular bar and music venue for over 30 years. Tied House is open for brunch on the weekend and dinner nightly. It has a bright, contemporary design and a very fresh and interesting menu. Chef Debbie Gold  earned the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Midwest award in 1999 for her work at The American in Kansas City.

Tied House

I also love the Left Coast Food + Juice at 2878 N. Lincoln. This is a health food spot featuring creative salads, grain bowls, wraps & juices in a great casual atmosphere. They have a large terrace for warm weather dining.

Left Coast

For  Scotch drinkers, The Duke of Perth offers a fun experience.  Opened in 1989, they feature a large number of single malty whiskeys, beer and a traditional food menu including fish and chips. I have always had a great time there over the years. I went back after several years and really enjoyed the experience. They have a nice patio in the summer months. Currently at 2913 N. Clark, they are moving in June 2024 to a new location 2827 N. Broadway.

Duke of Perth

Next door at 2909-11 N. Clark is a great new addition to the Neighborhood. The Gundis Kurdish Kitchen opened in early 2017.  I really loved the decor, the food and the service. The homemade Kurdish bread with a vegetable topping was excellent as were the lamb shank entree and the sea bass entree in a tomato sauce with capers. The chocolate mousse topped with pomegranates was very tasty as well. The wine list was quite extensive. It has a fun international vibe from the food to the servers who were from Romania, Turkey and Guatemala. They are open for dinner and brunch daily.

The Gundis Kurdish Kitchen

Having enjoyed Farm House Tavern in Chicago and in Evanston, I was excited to find their Farm Bar, in Lake View at 1300 W. Wellington. It is a smaller, gastropub featuring a local, seasonal menu that features a number of burgers, sandwiches and salads. They also offer ciders, craft beers and cocktails.  For dinner, they also offer a supper club menu or special that changes nightly.  I enjoyed it for brunch on a beautiful Saturday in July with the windows open and a lovely breeze. The eggs benedict was very good. They are open for dinner and for brunch on weekends.

Farm Bar

Thanks to the suggestion of a local friend, we tried Andy’s Thai Kitchen at 950 W Diversey. It is a casual BYOB spot with an extensive menu of Thai favorites. I thought the food was very good. I had been wanting chicken pad Thai for a while. It is conveniently located across from the CTA Diversey Brown Line Station. You can now make reservations online.

Andy’s Thai Kitchen

Further north at 2954 N. Sheffield is DMK Burger Bar. This is a casual, popular spot that has a large menu of grass-fed burgers, shakes and fries along with beer and cocktails. I was not aware of it until I watched a segment from 2011 on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri. I then met friends there for lunch  and tried his recommended  bison burger with a blueberry barbecue sauce, goat cheese and marinated onions. It was great as were the sweet potato fries. He also loved the the salmon burger with Thai curry mayonnaise and Asian coleslaw. I will try it on my next visit.

DMK Burger Bar

 

DMK Burger Bar

 

DMK Burger Bar

When visiting the neighborhood, make sure to check out some of its great architecture. Famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the Commonwealth Promenade Apartments built in 1957 at 330-340 W. Diversey Pkwy. 

330-340 W. Diversey Pkwy.

To the west is Surf-Pine Grove District which is predominantly centered around the 400- and 500-blocks of W. Surf St. and 2800-block of N. Pine Grove Ave.  Designated a Chicago Landmark, “within the district can be found rugged-looking, Richardsonian Romanesque-style row houses, small-scale corner and courtyard apartment buildings from the years just before and after World War I, and a variety of tall apartment buildings and apartment hotels.” Here you can find some beautiful apartment buildings, homes and row houses.

N. Pine Grove Rowhouses

 

The Brewster Building 2800 N. Pine Grove

 

2828 N. Pine Grove

 

N. Pine Grove Ave.

Another beautiful area is the Meekerville Historic District east of Sheridan Rd along Wellington and E. Lakeshore Dr. A highlight is the mansion of  capitalist Arthur Meeker Sr. located at 3030 N. Lakeshore Dr.

Meeker Mansion

 

Meekerville Historic District

 

Meekerville Historic District

Another new find for me was visiting the Alta Vista Terrace Historic District. This is a US Historic District and  listed on the US Registry of Historic Places. Built in 1904 to imitate the rowhouses of London, this residential development was the work of Samuel Gross. The street is one block long and contains 40 small, single-family rowhouses that were built with 20 different architectural styles. You can see Gothic arches, Palladian windows, stained and leaded glass, bay and box windows, Doric and Ionic wood pilasters and beautiful decorative woodwork. It is located between Grace and Byron and Kenmore and Seminary.

Alta Vista Terrace Historic District

 

Alta Vista Terrace Historic District

 

Alta Vista Terrace Historic District

I just visited the Hawthorne Place Historic District after many years to see its historic homes. The district was built, featuring homes on large lots, in the 1890s by various architects including the McConnell brothers, Burnham & Root, and Pond & Pond. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on March 26, 1996. It is located east of N. Broadway and north of W. Roscoe.

Hawthorne Place Historic District

 

Hawthorne Place Historic District

 

Hawthorne Place Historic District

 

Hawthorne Place Historic District

 

Lakeview

 

Lakeview

 

Belmont Harbor in Lakeview