June 5, 2007
Looking for a Restaurant in Chicago’s Bucktown, Wicker Park, or West Town?
Today’s hipster renaissance in the area sprouts from streets where generations of immigrants and industries left their marks. Large areas of Wicker Park are designated as Chicago landmarks for the Victorian mansions built by beer magnates at the turn of the 20th century. Around the corner from these expensive homes are the bars and restaurants […]
Today’s hipster renaissance in the area sprouts from streets where generations of immigrants and industries left their marks. Large areas of Wicker Park are designated as Chicago landmarks for the Victorian mansions built by beer magnates at the turn of the 20th century. Around the corner from these expensive homes are the bars and restaurants that bring new life to the area; the chefs we feature are notably green and serve healthy foods in handsome rooms.
1. Hot Chocolate
1747 N Damen Ave
True to its name, Hot Chocolate excels at sweets. Just ask chef Mindy Segal, whom the James Beard Foundation nominated this year for Outstanding Pastry Chef. But the seasonal American dinner menu does not disappoint.
The design team, Olsen | Vranas, emphasized Segal’s focus with a rich palette of mochas, chocolates, and browns.
Segal is a regular at the Chicago Green City Market, where she is hoping to set up shop with pints of her homemade organic ice cream. Even though most of the ingredients come directly from the market, the product must stand up to the same stringent vetting process as those of all the other purveyors at the Green City Market to ensure organic standards.
2. West Town Tavern
1329 W Chicago Ave
You know you’re in Chicago when you walk into West Town Tavern. The traditional, rustic, cozy feeling that is so Midwestern is exuded by a space built in 1875. The original brick walls, wood floor, and tin ceilings have been preserved.
Chef Susan Goss’s passion for the heartland flavors every dish in every season. She’s developed relationships with farmers, promising to take the less beautiful but still delicious tomatoes off their hands; she uses these to make sauces that last through the long Chicago winters. In return, she gets first picks from their springtime crops. “To have a freezer full of summer tomatoes is so much more pleasurable than having canned ones come in off the U.S. Foodservice truck,” she says.
2039 W North Ave
Spring is located in a former bathhouse, which inspired its designer as much as the chef’s layers of fresh ingredients and Asian-influenced tastes. The result is a Zen motif that retains a sense of sensuous relaxation. It is the first of three establishments founded by acclaimed restaurateur Shawn McClain, each focusing on a different culinary subject, with the “field-to-plate” concept always at the heart. Spring specializes in seafood prepared with Asian influences according to the flavors of each season. The second location, Green Zebra, is vegetarian; the latest, Custom House, focuses on meat (see Downtown listings).
2056 W Division St
Michael Altenberg is a fanatic for organics, and his flat bread reflects that. Just opened this spring, Crust is the first certified organic restaurant in Chicago, an honor more typically bestowed on farms.
Joe Lambke’s design is a healthy mix between the purity of the food and the chaos of everyday life. It is uncomplicated, fresh, and fun—upholding the idea of healthy living in a playful space.
… MORE WICKER PARK EATS
2005 W Division St
Upscale Mexican in an upbeat atmosphere—guacamole is made fresh tableside in the traditional molcajate.
Bin Wine Café
1559 N Milwaukee Ave
Sister-space to Bin 36 offers a seasonably inspired menu including thin crust pizzas and flights of wine and cheese.
1254 N Milwaukee Ave
Newest sushi lounge in Wicker Park.
1805 W Division St
Authentic Japanese cuisine in a hip upscale environment with a cool warehouse feel.
2111 W Armitage Ave
Originally opened in Cuba in 1950—try the house specialty paella valencia.
1824 W Wabansia Ave
Club Lucky is a 1940s-style supper club and cocktail lounge serving handmade pastas and signature martinis.
Coast Sushi Bar
2045 N Damen Ave
Delicious sushi amid minimalist upscale décor—this intimate low-lit restaurant is BYOB.
(SPANISH SMALL PLATES)
1520 N Damen Ave
Hip restaurant designed by Suhail.
2144–46 W Division St
Pair homemade pasta with wine from the extensive bottle menu.
Feast Restaurant & Bar
1616 N Damen Ave
A funky Wicker Park favorite with bohemian trimmings.
1434 W Chicago Ave
Urban cooking with a Latin twist based on the flavors and ingredients of Sante Fe, New Mexico.
1576 N Milwaukee Ave
Newest opening of this Northern Italian small plates eatery.
Friendship Chinese Restaurant
2830 N Milwaukee Ave
Top-notch traditional Chinese with French influences.
1958 N Damen Ave
This cozy spot complete with green and white tile floor and lace curtains keeps the regulars coming back time and again for simple French classics.
1413 N Ashland Ave
A taste of Morocco and live belly dancing Friday and Saturday nights.
1670 W Division St
Mas embraces the spirit and soul of the Latin lifestyle.
2537 N. Kedzie Blvd
Delicious dishes from almost all local ingredients.
and Wine Bar
2118 N Damen Ave
A romantic, casual setting with an extensive menu of mainly California wines and an all-weather outdoor veranda for al fresco dining.
2020 W Division St
Sip cocktails, eat sushi, and unwind in the futuristic upstairs lounge.
1745 W North Ave
fare is joined by creative interpretations.
(BREWERY & PIZZERIA)
1927 W North Ave
A lively pizza joint and bar in a former garage.
Salud Tequila Lounge
1471 N Milwaukee Ave
Upscale favorite dishes and over 80 varieties of 100 percent agave tequila.
1466 N Ashland Ave
New on the Wicker Park dining scene, Schwa relies on local growers and sustainable production.
1952 N Damen Ave
Low ceilings, pillowed banquettes, and ruby-colored walls.
1540 N Milwaukee Ave
New Italian eatery dedicated to cuisine from Piedmont.
501 N Ogden Ave
Enjoy a margarita on the rooftop deck, or try a Jim Beam on tap from the impressive bourbon menu.
Vintage Wine Bar
1942 W Division St
A sophisticated neighborhood spot with over 50 wines and champagnes plus a menu of cheeses, entrees, and appetizers.
1633 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Artful, fresh dishes with vegetarian options at this new Wicker Park eatery.