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pre-concert dinner near Old Town School of Folk Music

Hello Chicagoans,
It's been 5 years since I lived in Chicago, and husband and I are visiting next weekend. Mostly we'll be hanging out in my old haunts (Ravenswood/Andersonville area) but we're going to a Saturday night concert at Old Town School of Folk Music. I suspect there are lots of options, but don't remember the area that well. My goal is a moderately priced dinner for 2 with lots of vegetarian options for husband, and a noise level that permits conversation--but with a dash of style. Any suggestions would be welcome; also any friendly local bars to catch a drink afterwards.
Thanks much!

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  1. Concerts are at their 4544 North Lincoln location, just south of Lincoln Square. There are lots of good, stylish, and moderately-priced restaurants in that area, including Bistro Campagne, Tank Sushi, and Fiddlehead Cafe right on Lincoln, and Cafe Selmarie and Spoon Thai in/near Lincoln Square. Of these, I think Bistro Campagne (a French bistro just a few doors down from the Old Town School) may be the best choice for what you're looking for; you can see their menu at www.bistrocampagne.com If that's not moderate enough in price, then maybe Cafe Selmarie - www.cafeselmarie.com Slightly more expensive than these but still mid-priced, and a place that really has a dash of style (I love the contemporary decor) is Sola ( www.sola-restaurant.com ). It's slightly further, but still not far, about 3/4 mile south on Lincoln, just past Irving. You can view menus, including prices, on all three websites.

    1. Essence of India on Lincoln & Wilson.Plenty of vegetarian options here. A stones throw from The Old Town School of Folk...love that place!! Lincoln Square is a pretty cool neighborhood too. Enjoy.
      Greek and Italian options too at Lawrence and Lincoln

      1. Are you going to the Magnetic Fields show? I will be at the 10:30pm show that night, and my husband and I are also figuring out where to eat. I work at Sola, so you can take my positve revue of it with a grain of salt if you wish, but I do agree with nsxstasy that it is a great place. Make a reservation if you want to go there, it fills up on Saturday nights. Chalkboard has wonderful food, but it might already be full. We were thinking of going to Bad Dog, which is a more hip tavern type place with really good food, but it is pretty noisy, so it might not be up your alley. I also really like Jury's, which is a little more family comfort food-ish. All are on Lincoln.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kstaigs

          P.S. In case you decide to go to Sola, please note that the entrance is on Byron (the side street) even though the street address is on Lincoln. It's easy to drive right by it on Lincoln without even noticing it!

          You can check availability and make reservations for Sola, Bistro Campagne, and Fiddlehead Cafe on opentable.com

          1. re: kstaigs

            Yes, we'll be at the 10:30 show too! The first "real" date my husband and I went on was to a Magnetic Fields concert, and our best wedding present was a ukulele signed by Stephin Merritt.

          2. I truly believe the most taleented kitchen is at Fiddlehead Cafe on the northwest corner of Wilson and Lawrence. They brought in a new chef a couple months ago and the food has been phenominal and extremly creative. His vegitarian options are great and he always includes a couple on each weekend specail. http://fiddleheadcafe.com/

            2 Replies
            1. re: CGC

              Oops! I'm sure you meant to say that Fiddlehead Cafe is on the northwest corner of Wilson and LINCOLN (the former Square Kitchen location)... :)

              1. re: CGC

                I've heard mixed reviews about Fiddlehead...with the old chef. I may have to make a stop there to try out the new chef's creations.

              2. Thanks for all the suggestions! I still don't know yet where we'll be come Saturday night, but these are great ideas....

                1. How about Adobo Grill on Wells and 64 North? It's moderately priced, nice Mexican food with a great atmosphere and great taste!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chew on That

                    The Old Town School of Folk Music's headquarters and concert venue are at 4544 North Lincoln Avenue, which is a long way from North and Wells. The school building backs on Oakley, which is 2300 west.

                  2. Bistro Campagne is a no brainer.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Vlajos

                      Bistro Campagne meets most of the OP's criteria but does not have many vegetarian dishes on the menu: macaroni and cheese or a crepe filled with cheese under sandwiches. For meat or fish eaters with similar requirements it would be my top choice.

                      We had lunch today at a new restaurant, Skewers Grill, that seems to meet all criteria. The owner is Syrian. Music was light jazz with a Middle Eastern touch at a modest volume. There are acoustical panels in the ceiling while the floor is tile and could be somewhat reverberant. Tables have white tablecloths topped with glass. I don't know how much the noise level would be if it were full of people taking advantage of the BYOB status. We arrived about 1 PM and were the only customers. The baba ghanouj has some texture, not pureed to a mush, has a fair amount of minced garlic and parsley and is topped with sumac and olive oil. We also had chicken shawerma and chicken skewer sandwiches, both quite flavorful and served on a plate size griddled bread somewhere between lavosh and pita in thickness. They did not stint on cardamom in the Turkish coffee. The starters and salads cover the typical range of Middle Eastern mezes or appetizers and are all vegetararian although the salads can have meat or fish skewers or shawerma additions. Entree skewers range from vegetarian at $8.95 to shrimp at $15.95, the most expensive item on the menu by $2. Entrees come with rice, grilled vegetables and pita. While we were eating my wife commented that this would be a great place to eat before a concert at the Old Town School.

                      Skewers Grill
                      4609 North Lincoln Avenue
                      Chicago 60625

                      Carry out and catering but no delivery.

                    2. Just to follow up, thanks to this thread, my husband and I dined at Fiddlehead before the show (we went to the same show as the poster) and we had a great time. Although none of the dishes was a stand out, everything tasted fresh and all the meats were very well cooked. The real stars of the night were the wine and cheese flights. They had a great selection of both, and it is always so much fun to be able to try 3 different wines and stay sober! And I know it isn't the point of the thread, but the concert was AMAZING!