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Jul 10, 2010 07:07 PM

Wicker Park

Hi all:

We're staying in Wicker Park mid-week, end of July. I'm looking for your help for breakfast and/or dinner recommendations in the area or within walking distance - patios are a bonus!

With thanks!

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  1. You will be in the land of interesting restaurants. Walking distance depends on where you are staying and how far you are comfortable walking.

    Breakfast -- Bongo Room on Milwaukee Ave or Milk and Honey on Division or Toast on Damen (really in near-by Bucktown, but you'd have to count it). The last two have outdoor areas.

    Dinner -- many places have patios and there are good dinner restaurants all along Damen, North, Milwaukee and Division Sts. Can you provide any more direction about what you would like in terms of type of food (Mexican, Tapas, gastropub, sandwiches, pizza, Italian, etc.)

    10 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      >> (really in near-by Bucktown, but you'd have to count it)

      Yes, Wicker Park and Bucktown are often considered one neighborhood, and people rarely differentiate between the two. I've read that technically Wicker Park is south of North Avenue and Bucktown is north of North Avenue, but you'll hear people refer to the entire area as Wicker Park (and also as Bucktown). As chicgail notes, there are many good and interesting restaurants throughout the area.

      1. re: nsxtasy

        we're very comfortable walking! we're from Toronto and are pretty much game for anything! we're staying on west division near damen.

        thanks for the breakfast suggestions!

        1. re: East of Yonge

          Ok then.
          Right near you on Division and Damen are:
          Crust -- organic flatbread pizza and good salads
          Adobo Grill -- not the best Mexican in town, but I always enjoy it. Good Margaritas also.
          Mirai Sushi -- one of my favorite sushi place in town. Very interesting combos
          Jerry's Sandwiches -- huge menu. Sandwiches don't get better than this.

          Walk down Damen to Six Corners (Damen, Milwaukee and North Aves) and you'll come to Blue Star. You'll know it because it's almost all outdoors and there's a line down the street. It's basically a taco bar with awesome food, good drinks and a wide variety of beer.

          Right after Blue Star is Francesco's Forno. Italian. Part of well-respected local chain. Focus on small dishes.

          Turn left onto Milwaukee (the angled street) and you'll see Mado, a mom and pop farm-to-table restaurant that butchers its own meat and uses almost all of it. Excellent.

          Further down Daman past Armitage is Coast Sushi (also always crowded) on the east side of the street. The Bristol, one of my favorite gastropubs, is another block down on the left.

          And seriously, that's just the start. Lots more good places east on both North Ave. and Milwaukee. If none of these appeal to you, let us know and we can tell you about more.

          Mado Restaurant
          1647 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

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

          2020 W. Division St., Chicago, IL 60622

          Coast Sushi Bar
          2045 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

          Adobo Grill - Wicker Park
          2005 W Division, Chicago, IL 60622

          Jerry's Sandwiches
          1938 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

          1. re: chicgail

            Hey, chicgail, you're slipping! You forgot to mention these other places, and I know some of them are among your favorites in Bucktown/Wicker Park: Spring, for seafood; Belly Shack, for Asian/Latin; the Bristol, for Mediterranean/American contemporary; Irazu, for Costa Rican; Le Bouchon, for French bistro; and Bin Wine Cafe, the wine bar.

            >> Adobo Grill -- not the best Mexican in town, but I always enjoy it. Good Margaritas also.

            I agree. Keeping in mind that provincial Mexican cuisine is something that Chicago offers far beyond what's found in most cities on this side of the border with Mexico, if you'd like to try some of our better Mexican places, here are a couple more recommendations. Fuego is on Milwaukee in Bucktown, and has great moles (they also do an excellent tres leches cake). And just south of Wicker Park is West Town, where you'll find Mexique, with contemporary Mexican bistro fare with a French flair.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              I didn't forget. I just didn't wander too far off the north/south Damen strip (and I did mention The Bristol, which I love). But I should have included Spring which is just west of Damen on North Avenue and Le Bouchon right on Damen, just before Armitage in those recommendations. Pracically next door to Le Bouchon is Takashi for upscale Asian fusion. They are supposed to have a nice Sunday brunch (as does The Bristol), but I've never had Takahi's.

              I was hoping that the OP would give us a little more direction before I wrote one of the longest posts ever.

              I agree with what nsxtasy added. Some much good food. So little time.

              Le Bouchon
              1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

              1. re: nsxtasy

                BTW, from Division and Damen, Mexique is roughly half a mile south, and half a mile east.

              2. re: chicgail

                I think you're referring to Big Star, not Blue Star as the taco place with great beer and drinks.

                1. re: jasont

                  Oh, of course. Big Star. Thanks.

          2. re: chicgail

            >> Breakfast -- Bongo Room on Milwaukee Ave or Milk and Honey on Division or Toast on Damen (really in near-by Bucktown, but you'd have to count it). The last two have outdoor areas.

            Bongo Room specializes in unusual pancake dishes, such as their pretzel pancakes with white chocolate caramel sauce. If you enjoy sweeter dishes at breakfast, it's a great choice. Tip: their standard portion consists of three ENORMOUS pancakes, but you can also get one-third and two-thirds portion sizes at reduced cost, for smaller eaters or those who want to try more than one dish.

            Toast has a rather creative menu and is very good. The menu at Milk and Honey Cafe, where I ate this morning (and will post about to the breakfast topic at in a moment, so look there for tips about it) is slightly more conventional; they do a great French toast.

            All three of these places get busy on Sunday mornings. 9:30 a.m. seems to be the "witching hour"; before 9:30 you can walk right in at many breakfast specialty places, but after 9:30, be prepared to wait for seating.

            If you're just interested in a croissant/pastry and coffee, you might also consider Alliance Bakery, a few blocks east of Milk and Honey on Division. It, too, has an outdoor area. But this is a bakery/coffeehouse only, with no egg/pancake dishes.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              thanks for the help! now to decision time!

          3. I'm a fan of the Bongo Room, Takashi, and People's Tapas (for sangria and tapas outdoor - super chill time and people watching).

            Bongo Room
            1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605