On today’s edition of the Chicago Neighborhood Guide we are taking a look at one of my favorite neighborhoods for dining – the West Loop. Many of my favorite restaurants are located in this neighborhood and I love the industrial feel that all of the meat markets and warehouses provide.
Our West Loop narrator today is my good friend, Callie. Callie and I met through our church a couple of years ago and have participated in several women’s Bible studies together. Callie is a southern girl who moved to Chicago from Mississippi and I am slightly jealous of her accent. She has an awesome sense of style and a huge heart for the Lord and other women. She and her husband Gabe have two adorable dogs and I am especially in love with her French Bulldog!
I love living in the West Loop because there is always something new and exciting opening up every time I walk down the street. We have some of the best restaurants in Chicago and I am fortunate to live on “Restaurant Row”. The West Loop is growing with lots of new construction and exciting things coming but it has also remained true to the character of the meat packing district. If you walk down Fulton Market, you will see men in white butcher gear hauling in fresh meats and produce for distribution to restaurants and shops across the city. If you are looking for a fun, unique day in the city, head on over!
Best Coffee Shop: La Colombe, 955 W. Randolph
Grab an iced coffee in the summer which has a shot of espresso on top, sure to get you going!
Soho House is another fun spot that has a great afternoon tea menu with lots of comfy chairs and an industrial/chic vibe.
Best Burger & Ice Cream: Grange Hall Burger Bar, 844 W. Randolph
Everything on the menu here is delicious! Chicago’s only Farm To Table Burger Bar dedicated to wholesome Grass-Fed beef, Free-Range turkey and local farm fruits and vegetables – stolen from the website :). They make all of their ice cream in house and it is Ah-maze-ing. They also have a delicious brunch on the weekends!
Best Date Night Spot: Maude’s, 840 W. Randolph
It is cozy, dimly lit, with a French flair. The food is delicious – we especially love the King Crab if you are treating yourself.
Night Out with Friends: Nellcote, 833 W. Randolph
I really like Nellcote for a night out with the ladies! The décor in here is beautiful with chandeliers lining the ceilings. It is European style small plates. Great for sharing with friends and don’t skip the bread! It is made from flour milled in-house. After dinner, venture back to RM Champagne Salon for champagne and pastries made from an in-house pastry chef. If you go when it is warm, sit outside on the gorgeous patio. The atmosphere is incredible and you will forget you are even in Chicago.
Neighborhood Restaurant: Green Street Smoked Meats, 112 N. Green St.
Although this is a newer restaurant, I feel it really plays off the feel of the neighborhood. It is in a category of its own. Walk into this open industrial loft and serve yourself to some melt in your mouth house-smoked Texas BBQ.
Nail Salon: Jewel Nail Spa, 838 W. Adams
You can get a mani/pedi M-W for $35. Their pedicure is fantastic! They have the massage chairs that really get in there and relax your back. They also include a hot stone massage on your feet and calves as well as a paraffin wax for no up-charge. They usually play re-runs of Friends making this delightful!
If you are looking for a no-chip that really lasts, check out Elle Nail Spa, 912 W. Madison. They guarantee 10 days of a no-chip and will fix for free. They also have talented technicians who can do the latest trends.
Best Place to Work Out: Core Power Yoga, 1313 W. Randolph
I am hooked on Core Power Yoga! I love all of the teachers here and always feel challenged in my poses.
If you are looking for something a little more intense, check out Cross Town Fitness, 1031 W. Madison St. Make sure you are ready because this workout is hard core.
Favorite Hidden Gem: Randolph Street Market, 1350 W. Randolph
One of my favorite things about the West Loop is the Randolph Street Market. This is a once a month antique flea market with tons of unique finds from nick-knacks to art and jewelry. Go in the summer when they expand outdoors. I could spend a day wandering around and I always leave with a cool, new treasure.
One spot that you can’t miss is Girl and the Goat. You need to make reservations, probably 4 months in advance but it is oh so worth it. Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard has created dishes that I can’t even describe. I highly recommend the cauliflower, goat empanadas, and pig face. Yes, pig face and goat! Don’t think about it, just eat it! You won’t be disappointed.
Reading this post made me so hungry! A lot of the restaurants Callie mentioned are also some of my favorites. I am definitely planning a trip to the Randolph Street Market this summer now! If you aren’t familiar with the West Loop, be sure to hop on the green/pink line and check out this fabulous neighborhood!