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Restaurants in my new 'hood - Division and Wood?

b
BryanZ Sep 8, 2009 08:56 PM

I'm moving to Chicago in the coming days and am looking for solid neighborhood recommendations around my new place at Division and Wood Streets. I'm well-versed in Chicago's destination dining scene but part of the reason I love and chose to live in the Wicker Park/Division area is its walkability. Looking for places that I could easily walk to from my place on a whim. Any cuisine, any price point, restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, whatever.

Thanks for the help. I'll be sure to report back.

  1. m
    ms. chow Sep 9, 2009 03:58 AM

    Division is dining central in your neighborhood. Some of my faves:

    Letizia's Natural Bakery - great coffee shop and baked goods
    Enoteca Roma - excellent wine bar, sibling of Letizia. The monthly wine dinners are also excellent.
    Jerry's - great sandwiches
    Milk and Honey Cafe - good breakfast
    Crust - flatbread. One of the few certified organic restaurants in the country.

    -----
    Crust - Eat real
    2056 W Division St, Chicago, IL

    2 Replies
    1. re: ms. chow
      chicgail Sep 9, 2009 04:40 AM

      To say nothing of Mirai Sushi. And all the cute little cafes and bars on Division just east and west of Damen.

      1. re: ms. chow
        b
        BryanZ Sep 9, 2009 07:15 AM

        Great. Thanks for these. I will have to check them out.

        Division St. itself is an interesting one. The double-wide sidewalks really give it a walking promenade kind of feel. If I'm going to take one issue, however, it's that a lot of the offerings seem, based on a couple quick walks along the street, a bit staid and/or corporate. This isn't to say that they're not good nor is it to say down-to-earth neighborhood spots don't exist, but are there any other gems beyond what ms. chow mentioned?

      2. j
        jesteinf Sep 9, 2009 09:50 AM

        You're not too far from Mado.

        Mado
        1647 N Milwaukee Ave
        773-342-2340‎

        1 Reply
        1. re: jesteinf
          b
          BryanZ Sep 9, 2009 10:25 AM

          I was at Mado relatively recently when I was apartment hunting. A very solid spot, though I will say I wasn't as floored by it as most were. I thought everything was solid, but the headcheese felt a bit amateurish and the charcuterie across the board was much too cold. To me, the definitive neighborhood spot that every restaurant should have. I fully anticipate becoming a regular, but I wouldn't call it destination dining, even though many bloggers, board posters, and the media apply that label.

          Maybe I'm lazy but the mile from my place to Mado is a bit further than I was planning.

        2. p
          pm1214 Sep 9, 2009 10:32 AM

          Welcome to the neighborhood Bryan Z! I just moved back to Wicker Park/Bucktown after a brief hiatus in Old Town- so happy to be back!

          There are TONS of places to eat. I will 100% second Ms. Chow's suggestion on Enoteca Roma. It's a great little place, and if you get there relatively soon there back patio is nice. Via Carducci la Sorella is also a good Italian place to check out.

          If you walk east on division there is a BYO sushi place called Kin that is good (not as good as quality as Mirai, but cheaper!) and Alliance Bakery is a great little place to get some sweets! I haven't been to Mana Food Bar, but there is a lot posted on this board about it.

          If you walk a couple blocks towards the Damen/Milwaukee/North intersection you'll find a ton of more places. Some of my favorites include:
          Mado (BYOB) 1647 n milwaukee
          Feast- much better brunch than dinner IMHO
          Sultan's Market- (North and Hoyne) eat in or take-out Middle Eastern. Good falafel!
          Violet Hour- there is no sign, but it's on Damen next to the National City Bank across from Wicker Park. Ridiculously well made cocktails.
          Hot Chocolate- great for dinner, but definitely try the desserts or home made hot chocolates made by James Beard nominated chef Mindy Segal
          Spring- right under the Damen Blue Line. Seafood focused, same owner as Green Zebra and Custom House. Probably the most pricey in the neighborhood.
          The Bristol (a bit of a walk, Damen & Webster) is great eatery. The Monkey Bread and duck fat fries are awesome
          Schwa- not sure if this is still considered in the neighboorhood (Ashland & Le Moyne), but if you want a real "foodie" meal, and can nab a reservation (they never pick up the phone!) you are in for a treat. Michael Carlson was named a F&W Best New Chef in '06.

          Hope this helps!

          2 Replies
          1. re: pm1214
            b
            BryanZ Sep 9, 2009 10:40 AM

            These are great suggestions and I've been to many of them and know of a lot of them. I lived in Chicago for a summer a couple years ago and ate quite well.

            I well acquainted with the VH. I've meet Toby a couple times, both in Chicago and in NYC, and I have nothing but respect for his bar and, probably even more so, his training standards. Contrast that with Schwa, a restaurant with which I've had a long, complicated history with and still haven't even eaten there. A canceled reso on my part, two on theirs. It's a battle.

            1. re: BryanZ
              m
              ms. chow Sep 9, 2009 12:07 PM

              I'm with ya on Schwa. Another sigh.

              How about El Barco? Hope it's not too far, Wicker Park adjacent. The fried snapper is a hoot. Also eagerly anticipating the new taqueria from the VH folks. Oops, Chow doesn't want me to talk about places yet to open.

          2. j
            jbw Sep 9, 2009 12:54 PM

            Looks like you're right down the street from Podhalanka (1549 W Division St), one of the better Polish storefront restaurants in the city. And if you go in the other directions from WP you'll wind up on Chicago where Habana Libre and Hoosier Mama Pie are to be found!

            1. j
              jeanpoutine Sep 9, 2009 05:23 PM

              I lived in this area for a year and never found much on the Division strip that really did much for me, but there are lots of good options in the neighborhood.

              Pasadita (3 locations on Ashland south of Division) is among my favorite taquerias in Chicago. Purists tend to prefer the minimalist east side location, but the bigger sit down place on the west side is my go to for the rib eye super burrito. I live in Pilsen now, but I still hop on the 9 bus from time to time to get a Pasadita burrito.

              Also, Piece on North makes excellent thin crust pizza (East coast style, not Chicago cracker crust) and brews their own beer. I also love Harold's fried chicken on Miwaukee, and while it is certainly not among the bbq greats in Chicago, Smoke Daddy on Division turns out a tasty pulled pork sandwich.

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