Happy Thursday! Today I am continuing with my Chicago Neighborhood Guide series and discussing all things Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park is about 3.5 miles north of downtown Chicago and is a very desired neighborhood to live in.
Today’s post is brought to you by my friend and Lincoln Park resident, Mandy! Mandy and I met just a short time ago through our church. Last fall I joined a women’s small group that she leads from her home. Mandy loves art and photography, is hilarious, and you will always find her laughing or with a smile on her face. She is also a Boilermaker alum which made us instant friends. 🙂
Lincoln Park. Tree lined streets, historic brownstones, boutique shops. With a 10 minute commute to downtown, lakefront access, and complimentary attractions such as the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Zoo – it’s no wonder Lincoln Park is one of Chicago’s favorite neighborhoods.
I have lived in Lincoln Park for 8 years now (shockingly, in the same apartment). Winters here look like kids playing pick up games of hockey over on the north pond, families with small kids ice skating at the tiny charming rink by the zoo, Zoo lights, and adorable storefronts at Christmas time. Summer days are most magical in this neighborhood. Ivy covers many buildings, and brownstones boast beautiful (and sometimes secret) gardens. Farmers markets, a stroll through one of the many parks, reading a book along the lakefront, soccer games at the Lincoln Park Turf Field. If you’re lucky, while walking down Orchard Street in the summer (near Oz Park) you can find an older gentleman with a beard and a cowboy hat playing his banjo on the porch. He will smile and tip his hat to you as you walk by.
Favorite Cafe: The Bourgeois Pig Cafe 738 W. Fullerton
The Bourgeois Pig has a vintage feel to it, its got character – and lets face it, its fun to say. They have a great selection of teas (jars and jars and jars of loose leaf to choose from) and they make a great latte. They also have some excellent sandwiches (all named after classic novels) and desserts. My favorite sandwich is the “pilgrims progress” – so simple yet so tasty. The set up is rather obnoxious, one side is for ordering food and the other for ordering beverages – but once you’ve gathered everything, its nice to sit and enjoy the charming atmosphere or people watch on the patio. The music selection is also always great.
Favorite Patio: Las Fuentas 2558 N. Halsted
This place has a fantastic patio. You are almost always guaranteed a seat. Pop in during a beautiful day and share a margarita pitcher with friends. I love this place for several reasons – the patio is peaceful, charming (has a lovely little fountain), I can go with a group of friends, get seated quickly (have never had to wait) and can enjoy their conversation (not noisy or distracting). They also typically have some sports games playing near the bar if you need to catch a game.
Favorite Breakfast: Toast 746 W. Webster
I took a friend who was visiting from out of town to Toast once, and now it’s all she talks about. Every time she comes back, it’s just automatically assumed that we will return. The wait can be pretty brutal if you go too late, but if you hit Toast early, you can get a seat pretty quickly. It’s small, but efficient. Once you order, your food comes out really fast. Coffee refills are frequent. The veggie eggs Benedict is my favorite, the breakfast burrito is my second favorite, and the french toast orgy comes in third. I don’t think there’s anything on that menu that I don’t like. It’s all. so. yummy.
Favorite Bakery: Molly’s Cupcakes 2536 N. Clark St.
This is tough. It is a toss-up between Sweet Mandy B’s and Molly’s, but I think Molly’s wins my heart in the end. The ‘original Molly’s’ chocolate cupcake with the brown butter frosting is divine. I wish I had one right now. They also have amazing (and enormous) rice Krispie treats. Other sweets include pie, ice cream, brownies, cheesecake, cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, and a variety of cupcakes with different “stuffing.” How can one go wrong with some ganache or Nutella peanut butter buried inside a cupcake!? Heavenly. Molly’s offers a cute atmosphere with a couple swing seats at the coffee bar and some great board games to play. Its a nice place to duck into on a snowy day to grab a treat and play a few games of Connect Four with a friend. They also serve ‘Intelligentsia’ coffee – bonus!
Favorite Pizza Joint: Pequod’s 2207 N. Clybourn
Hands down, my favorite pizza in the city. If you haven’t tried it, do it. You can thank me later. I had a friend who was leaving the country for a few weeks (to a country where the food selection was questionable). I asked her what she wanted as her ‘last meal.’ She picked Pequod’s pizza without hesitating. It sounded so good, we ordered and ate it. For dessert we had Molly’s Cupcakes. I mean, I wouldn’t do it every night cause I want my heart to keep working – but for that night, it was perfection.
Favorite Upscale Restaurant: Perennial Virant 1800 N. Lincoln Ave.
Any meal you get here is great. Brunch, lunch, dinner – I love it all. One time a waiter offered to bring me out a balsamic whip for my omelet (it typically goes with a duck dish) – I can’t eat an omelet to this day without craving that amazing balsamic whip to go with it. Also, if you have time afterwards you can pop up to the roof of the Lincoln Hotel for a great view. It’s typically pretty crowded, so I never stay long, but the view is fantastic.
Favorite Dive Bar: Burwood Tap 724 W. Wrightwood
I think I like this place so much because it reminds me of my old college bar, Harry’s Chocolate Shop. Burwood has a popcorn machine, classic rock, and is charming – in a dingy sort of way. There is wallpaper on the walls. WALLPAPER. I mean – it’s just great.
Here is a list of some of my other favorite places that are unique to Lincoln Park:
Noodles in the Pot (Thai, great food, great patio)
The Pasta Bowl (quick, cheap, DELICIOUS)
Sapori Trattoria (get the hand stuffed pumpkin ravioli with pine nuts and sage – GUH. Amaze.)
Tarasca’s (fan-tastic food and margaritas. Maybe only get 2. They’re strong)
Mayan Palace excellent Mexican and excellent margaritas (disclaimer: my bestie is part Mexican and loves a good margarita, so as a result I know of A LOT of good margarita joints, ha!)
Toro Sushi (it’s tiny, get there early, best sushi)
La Fournette Bakery & Cafe (one word: macaroons)
I hope you enjoyed reading all about Lincoln Park today! Didn’t I tell you Mandy is hilarious?? Lincoln Park is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago and I can’t wait to try out some of these places! Thanks again, Mandy!