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Just moved to Wicker Park - Chicago


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just got my first job and i have moved to wicker park in chicago. i am looking for cheap and good places in the vicinity. i have a car and would love to know about some good places, especially ethnic. i come from nyc and will eat almost all types of food. thanks.

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just got my first job and i have moved to wicker park in chicago.  i am looking for cheap and good places in the vicinity.  i have a car and would love to know about some good places, especially ethnic.  i come from nyc and will eat almost all types of food.  thanks.

Wow, you have an unlimited array to choose from. Nearby you that is cheap and ethnic:

Pasadita (there are three of them on Ashland, just south of division. The one that is furthest north on the west side of the street is the best.) Taqueria, ultra cheap and very good. The carne asada there is perfect.

On Division there is Milk and Honey, good breakfast and Lunch. Further West on Division there are several decent Puerto Rican places - Maiz, south of Division on California, is very good. As is Feed, just a couple blocks south of that, although it's a soul food/comfort food place.

In Wicker Park proper, you can't go wrong with Sultans - cheap middle-eastern, justifiably famous for their falafels but the Lentil Soup and Schwarma is great too.

Bon Bon is south of Chicago on Ashland, a really awesome authentic mexican taqueria. Also on Chicago, a couple blocks west of Ashland, is Tacos Veloz, which has a great carne en su jugo.

Wicker Park's restaurants are mostly trendy, hipster spots. I would avoid all of them with the exception of Spring and maybe Bin 36's wine cafe. Everything else in the hood - Salud, Mas, Papajin, Earwax, etc. is over priced and sub-par. However, the New Haven Pie at Piece is terrific. Just get it to go. The service there is terrible and the atmosphere is loud and awful. Letizia's on Division is pretty good for a coffee/pastry shop, but their wine cafe next door is highly recommended. The best coffee in that hood can be found at Atomix, at Chicago/Ashland. Avoid Filter like the plague.

As far as more expensive places go, Cafe Matou, on Milwaukee, is awesome. They change their menu daily and offer a 3 course menu for 22 dollars Mon-Thursday. across the street from there is Irazu, very good and very cheap costa rican food. Get the garlic tostones and the veggie burritos.

I'm sure there are plenty of places I'm forgetting. But, in all honesty, if you're looking for cheap and ethnic and good, you need to jump in that car of yours and get way the hell out of Wicker Park - head down to Pilsen or further south to the chicken shacks, or up north to Devon and all the Indian/Paki places. Or to Chinatown. Wicker Park is probably the least diverse neighborhood in the city.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Our daughter's preschool teacher recommends Pizza Metro on Division. I haven't tried it yet...

Oh yeah, Pizza metro rules. Like I said, I am probably forgetting something. But that place rules. I like to just sit in there and absorb the atmosphere - all old school Italians. And the pizza is awesome. And cheap. When my then-fiancee (now wife) was in the hospital, the food she most wanted me to bring her was Pizza Metro pizza.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Our daughter's preschool teacher recommends Pizza Metro on Division. I haven't tried it yet...

Oh yeah, Pizza metro rules. Like I said, I am probably forgetting something. But that place rules. I like to just sit in there and absorb the atmosphere - all old school Italians. And the pizza is awesome. And cheap. When my then-fiancee (now wife) was in the hospital, the food she most wanted me to bring her was Pizza Metro pizza.

Would we be ok going with two little kids? (two LOUD little kids?)

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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I second Sultans Market. Smoke Daddy's on Division has good BBQ and the beans are amazing. Peoples tapas on Milwaukee is fun. I go there and sit at the bar for a few sangria's and watch a movie that is projected over the bar. The calamari is really good. Le Bouchon on Daman and Armitage is one of my hangouts. Tuesdays is prix fixe for anything on the menu. See at the bar there on tuesdays :) Don't miss Red Hen breads on Milwaukee/Damon. Some of the best in town. My favorite cheap no-brainer place is Nick's Pit Stop on Damon and Armitage. Slow grilled chicken at it's finest. Get some chicken with coleslaw and put some salsa verde on it and eat it with the warm pita slices. This place has at least 5 cops in it at all times. You know a place has good cheap large portions when all the cops in town are there.

Edited by pounce (log)

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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Our daughter's preschool teacher recommends Pizza Metro on Division. I haven't tried it yet...

Oh yeah, Pizza metro rules. Like I said, I am probably forgetting something. But that place rules. I like to just sit in there and absorb the atmosphere - all old school Italians. And the pizza is awesome. And cheap. When my then-fiancee (now wife) was in the hospital, the food she most wanted me to bring her was Pizza Metro pizza.

Would we be ok going with two little kids? (two LOUD little kids?)

Definitely. there's always kids there.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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I second Le Bouchon - it's always packed on Tuesdays, but it's a great deal - 3 courses for something like 25 dollars. The veal kidneys and the cassoulet are terrific. I have had some very bad experiences there with other customers being complete a-holes to the staff, but if you ignore them they go away. It comes with the territiry in that neighborhood. A couple other higher-end places in WP that I forgot are Scylla, which is a good, albeit pricey, restaurant specializing in fish, and Hot Chocolate, which is good for dessert. And south of WP, on Chicago Ave, is A Tavola, which is a hidden gem and one of my favorite places in all of Chicago to eat. Not cheap, but not a wallet-buster either.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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I second Sultans Market. Smoke Daddy's on Division has good BBQ and the beans are amazing. Peoples tapas on Milwaukee is fun. I go there and sit at the bar for a few sangria's and watch a movie that is projected over the bar. The calamari is really good.

I went to people's right when it opened. I thought the wine list was weak but I really liked the food (vodka-cured salmon, flank steak with chimichurri sauce and something else that was good - I think it was the calamari). I think, as far as Tapas places go, the Bin 36 wine cafe across the street is better. I've never been to Francesca's Forno (it's hard to get in) but heard it's good as well. Pretty much everything Mia Francesca does is good.

Smoke Daddy is fine for the neighborhood, but if you don't mind driving to the southside there are dozens of better smoke shacks. At least dozens.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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If you're not in the mood for an informal evening and just want some nice food, Spring also now has a bar menu that's not inexpensive, but it won't break the bank and as always Sue's there with great wine suggestions and interesting cocktails.

I third Sultan's, we always went there Sunday for lunch before we went to work. Really good chicken schwarma and falafel.

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A nice long walk south from Wicker Park is West Town Tavern, one of my faves. I'm surprised there's been no mention of it on eG, as far as I can tell. It's American/eclectic and moderately priced as opposed to mono-ethnic and cheap, but I think it's worth a visit or three. Their special wine dinners usually are a good value for the money.

Edited by Alex (log)

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A nice long walk south from Wicker Park is West Town Tavern, one of my faves. I'm surprised there's been no mention of it on eG, as far as I can tell. It's American/eclectic and moderately priced as opposed to mono-ethnic and cheap, but I think it's worth a visit or three. Their special wine dinners usually are a good value for the money.

Gotta admit, I always loved WTT - not quite Wicker Park, but very good, and decently priced.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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A nice long walk south from Wicker Park is West Town Tavern, one of my faves. I'm surprised there's been no mention of it on eG, as far as I can tell. It's American/eclectic and moderately priced as opposed to mono-ethnic and cheap, but I think it's worth a visit or three. Their special wine dinners usually are a good value for the money.

Gotta admit, I always loved WTT - not quite Wicker Park, but very good, and decently priced.

Ogh yeah, if you go there to WTT, the signature dish is the Zinfandel-braised pot-roast. It is every bit as good as you can imagine. One of the best dishes I ever had in Chicago.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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I lived in Wicker Park 1988-1991 . When the Busy Bee was one of the few restaurants near the park.

The Double Door was a biker hangout. Stores and restaurants have come and gone. For a great selection on beer, locals know that... D and D Liquors at 2006 Division is the best. For a family meal I also recommend Irazu at 1865 N Milwaukee and Hilary's Urban Eatery 1500 W Division. As for buying groceries, the Jewel on Ashland and Milwaukee has always been a dump. I don't think it has improved.

We use to drive to Treasure Island on Clybourn, but that was way before Clybourn became a mega shopping nightmare. As much as Wicker Park has improved and became family friendly it's still the city and I recommend to keep your guard up. I grew up in the city and still live in the city but never underestimate safeness.

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  • 1 month later...

Just moved to Wicker Park as well.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

FYI- Hillary's Urban Eatery has closed. Sometime this past spring.

Also, whats up with the Bongo Room, I've gotten recommendations to go there, but everytime I do, it sucks, but theres always a line.

Bad taste in others or my own bad luck?

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It's wicker park- lots of places suck but people go anyway - see Bite, Rodan or the Pontiac Grill for further examples. Or Filter, Romeo Romeo, Earwax, Flying Saucer, Smartbar, Santullos, Papajin, Salud, etc. for more examples.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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