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Avondale/Belmont Cragin Area?

Hey, everyone. New to the site and the boards here. :-) I'm a college student living in dorms without access to a kitchen or any place to cook food besides the microwave on top of my mini-fridge. Not an ideal situation for one who loves to cook. Thankfully, however, after this semester, I'll be moving for the Summer months to an apartment on Belmont Avenue in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago. My own kitchen for the first time in my life!

I was wondering if anyone could make suggestions as to good places to shop for ingredients, good places to eat, etc.

My mother's side of the family is Polish and my grandmother still lives in Avondale, so I've already got Alexandra's Pierogi place and Gene's Sausage Shop in my past and looking forward to visiting there on my own sometime soon! I've also had the pleasure of shopping once at A&G Fresh Market...Great produce, great prices.

Any other suggestions? Bakeries? Cafes?

Thanks very much in advance!

--Jess D

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  1. Welcome to the neighborhood!

    Bulldog Bakery on Elston just north of Belmont...never tried it.

    Shopping:
    Cermak Produce on Berteau on Kedzie (a couple of blocks north of Irving Park) for reasonably priced goods...meat, fish, produce, prepared foods, etc.

    The Bar and Grill variety:
    Kuma's Corner Pub on Belmont one block west of Elston for fine pub grub and a great outdoor patio.
    The Orbit Room on Kedzie just north of Belmont for creative pub grub in a funky atmosphere. Outdoor patio.
    Village Tap on Roscoe in Roscoe Village a few blocks west of Damen for decent bar food in a fun neighborhood atmosphere.

    Live Tunes:
    Beat Kitchen on Belmont east of Western Ave for Eclectic Live Tunes.

    Restaurants:
    Que Rico for upscale Mexican on Roscoe one block east of Western.
    Las Tablas Columbian Steakhouse
    Semiramis for Tasty Lebanese on Kedzie north of Wilson
    Noon O Kabob for excellent Persian on Kedzie one block south of Lawrence.
    Mirabel on Addison 2 blocks east of the Kennedy: For authentic German food and beer. Fun local crowd

    4 Replies
    1. re: amoncada

      Thank you! I've heard of Kuma's and plan on visiting there when I get the chance :) Any menu recommendations?

      You were very, very helpful. Thank you so much. The list of various restaurants with different cuisines is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for! Mirabel is now on my list of places to check out! Love German food!

      1. re: cowgirlthunder

        Glad you like my list!!

        I've only been to Kuma's during the summer months for lunch. The burgers are outstanding!! The burger comes with a pile of warm greens, a light dressing, avocado, and topped with a tiny fried egg....YUM!!! One of the best burgers around!
        Also try:
        Chief O'Niels on Elston a few blocks south of Addison for above average Irish Pub Grub, live tunes, and one of the best outdoor patios in the city. I like the authentic Irish Pub feel at Chief O'Neils. Occasional whole roasted pig, lamb cook-outs. I especially like the corn beef and cabbage and the curried wings!!

        Also check out Andy's Produce on Kedzie just south of Lawrence.

        Taqueria El Asadero for some of the very best char-grilled steak tacos and burritos in the entire city. Located on Montrose just east of Lincoln at Leavitt. Griddle tossed chicken burritos and tacos are pretty decent too...everything else in only so so.

        Garcia's Mexican Restaurant in the square in Lincoln Square at Lawrence/Western/Lincoln Avenues for very good late late late night eats!

        Also try Resi's Bier Stube on Irving Park Rd one block west of Damen for authentic German food & beer, atmosphere, and outdoor patio.

        1. re: amoncada

          Thank you so much! :) I'm vaguely familiar with the area since both of my grandmother's live around there, but...they're not much into the getting out and about business!

          This has been very, very helpful and I'll definitely be referencing your list when it comes time for me to start exploring!

        2. re: cowgirlthunder

          Kuma's is great, and just about any burger on their menu is worth a try. However, if you live in the neighborhood, go on off hours, particularly for a first visit. The waits at prime dining times (and even not so prime) can be long and off-putting.

      2. I live right nearby- welcome to the neighborhood!

        Don't forget Chicago Food on Kimball, just north of Belmont. It is the best Asian market in the area and even has a great little restaurant.

        1. I am all the way out on Central, in Belmont-Cragin, just south of the A&G. Paprikash, my favorite Hungarian place closed recently, sadly. For a nicer Mexican meal I highly recommend Sol De Mexico on Cicero around Belmont. I second the Kuma's recommendation, and would add that their make your own mac and cheese, if available, is great, as is the deconstructed ravioli. If you happen to come out west to the Brickyard mall for anything, stop by Pollo Camparo for sure. Fast food chicken from Guatemala that rocks. Get the beans. Oh, and of course, Hot Doug's on California, just south of Addison! I think they close at 2pm, and are usually packed up until then, but it is well worth it.

          I am a fan of Dunley's in Logan Square for dinner, the wine list is really reasonable, and they have great late night specials. It is much more traditional American pub fare, but I think it is quite good. And for brunch, Lula's cafe is the best, also in Logan Square.

          6 Replies
          1. re: kstaigs

            Sol De Mexico!
            Ostrich.... Homemade tortillas...
            Heaven!

            1. re: gordeaux

              Oh no, kstaigs! I'm SO sad to hear about the Hungarian place closing! I'm 1/4 Hungarian and have had very few chances to try traditional Hungarian food...Do you have any other local Hungarian recommendations?

              Sol De Mexico sounds good! I absolutely love Mexican food! Thanks, kstaigs and gordeaux!

            2. re: kstaigs

              Yep, Dunlay's on the Square in Logan Square serves top notch eats!!...certainly a step above your ordinary pub grub. Lula's is great too!!

              I have yet to try Sol De Mexico...perhaps this weekend. We'll see how it holds up to moms!! Haven't had mole since La Casa del Pueblo in Pilsen around Thanksgiving.

              1. re: amoncada

                amoncada -
                One word. Ostrich. If you are a steak eater, and haven't tried ostrich, I think you really should. I'd start with a mole sampler, and then pick out the best mole, and ask for the ostrich cooked med rare or rare in that mole. My mouth is seriously watering right now.

                1. re: gordeaux

                  I agree. A good way to try some different moles is the sopes app. If I remember correctly it features a couple different kinds. It has been a while since we have been in, sadly, but I plan to remedy that soon...

                  1. re: kstaigs

                    The mole sampler has a small amt of all of their current moles, and a few tortillas. You can try them all, and see which one you like the best for that day.

                    I'd also stay away form the chicken enchiladas - they were all white meat. dry. yuck.The other stuff way overcompensates for the shortcomings. If you consider making average tex-mex offerings shortcomings - lol.
                    Ostrich, ceviche, skirt steak, (if I got the tampiquena again, I'd ask for ANYTHING besides a chicken enchilada) lamb, order the things not associated with tex mex, and you'll be very happy.