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Jan 11, 2001 12:08 AM

North side small place

  • s

I used to live in Chicago about 8 years ago and had a couple of great meals at a place in or near the "Bucktown" area. This was when that area was starting to gentrify. It was on Division St. near Phylliss, the music bar. The water was served out of those old dented colored metal retro glasses and I think the cook was this blonde woman that wore high top sneakers and there was a mini fridge that looked like it had lived through a couple dorm room lives. I remember pretty diverse ethnic food in such a small place. Is this around any more, is it still small and cool and good. Is there anything like this anymore or is everything got too much money invested in an interior designer and architectural cracker baskets? Do you know what I mean? I'll be in Chicago twice this month and want to find real places.

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  1. You're talking about Leo's, at 1809 W. Division. Yes, its still there. Its probably very much the same as you remember it. If this is your thing, you might want to try Bite, at 1039 N. Western Ave.

    Erik M.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Erik M.

      i havent eaten at leo's lunchroom in years because i prefer my food without accompanying cigarette smoke. people smoke there - anywhere they want, always in front of the sign that says 'positively no smoking'. leo's customers seem to get great pleasure from that. the place has less than 40 seats, so is not obligated to have a non-smoking section. if that doesnt bother you, the place hasnt changed much. across the street, new since you lived here, is smokedaddy's, great bbq. (smoking allowed, but in half the restaurant only). a wonderful selection of cd's. playing, vast alcohol selection, and live r&b every night, late. it manages to avoid, like leo's does,the trappings of the obvious yuppie invasion of the 'hood.

    2. Oh, BTW, that cook that you described... she left. Now she's at Bite. [I think that she owns it.]

      Erik M.