A chill is rolling into the Chicago area, we know you’ve been feeling it in the morning, but don’t panic just yet. August and September may have rolled by but the warmer temperatures are still going strong and fall walks are still great (after all, we run our walking tours through October).
This past summer we saw the long awaited 606 Trail and park open to the public, connecting several neighborhoods including Bucktown, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, and Logan Square, and a lot of great stuff and Chicago things to do along the way. With that as our inspiration we want to help you find some of the best eats and entertainment along the trail before it’s all covered with snow. So we consulted the map, our taste buds and our favorite hangouts to create a list of our staff picks for a few of our favorite foods and activities off of and near The 606.
Our picks for lunch focus on quick eats that you can grab for on the go, or take a seat and enjoy without waiting (at least too long) for service.
You’ve no doubt heard of Au Cheval and the legendary lines that last hours, or maybe you’ve been in that line for a burger yourself. Well you can bless the gods of burgers, for Small Cheval cuts that wait with a “fast food” version of Au Cheval where your only choice is the burger and beverages (including alcohol). Head over in the early afternoon to beat the crowds on weekends, but any wait you have will be worth it. As an added bonus if the wait is long, your drink order is taken in line so in no time you’re holding a beer or cocktail as you finish up your wait. Seating is mostly outdoors and easy to grab, or you can take your burger to-go. smallcheval.com
The Goddess & Grocer (Bucktown)
While Small CHEVAL is burger only, with The Goddess & Grocer you get the exact opposite. Straight from the menu sandwich, salad and soup options combined with an artisan grocery make this a perfect option for either eating in or making a picnic to go. We stop at The Goddess & Grocer on our Bucktown and Wicker Park Food Tour and we highly recommend the tasty kale salad, even if it sounds too healthy to be delicious—trust us, we convert at least one meat eater to a kale-salad lover per tour. www.goddessandgrocer.com
For a Snack
Snack picks are obviously more of the take and go variety and easily enjoyable as you walk.
Miko’s Italian Ice
Miko’s is only open seasonally so we suggest you get your fill now of perhaps some of the most perfect Italian ice in town. With a variety of fresh fruit flavors that change daily, there’s bound to be something for everyone. It’s (basement window) counter service and cash only, so be prepared to have a few bucks on you. www.mikositalianice.com
Xocoatl Churro Factory
The perfect sweet take & go treat can be found here either in a classic Churro, or one of many flavors, including a flavor of the day. Or really go for it with a churro Sunday! Though it may be a little more difficult to walk with…we bet you’ll find a way to make it work. www.churrofactory.com
Two of our main picks fall in Logan Square just steps away from one another on Armitage Avenue, and both restaurants feature seasonal, fresh ingredients (which we love).
Table, Donkey and Stick
We love any restaurant where you can start things off with a delicious charcuterie platter of amazing meats and cheeses, and Table, Donkey and Stick fits the bill in that aspect. Their Alpine inspired dishes are full of comfort and pair perfectly with the cozy atmosphere which is “a whimsical take on the inns known as burghers or auberge de montagne that offer refuge to hikers in the Alps.” We highly recommend stopping by on Mondays for $5 burgers, and on Tuesday nights when they feature special sines by the glass at wholesale cost. tabledonkeystick.com
Get a taste of the northwestern region of Italy (Piemonte to be exact) at Osteria Langhe where you’ll find many rich and delightful dishes ranging from “grilled chile honey glazed octopus” to “hand pinched ravioli.” We love that their dishes are small enough to fill you up but not stuff you, leaving plenty of room for one of the many delicious wines on the menu. www.osterialanghe.com
Tips for dining like a pro…
- If you’re with close friends or family we always like to suggest getting several dishes for the table and sharing at places like this where it’s worth trying just about everything.
- Not sure what to eat or drink? Both of these restaurants’ servers are highly knowledgable and always happy to help you figure out what to get so don’t be afraid to ask!
You can catch a show at Subterranean where you’ll find larger performers but also smaller, talented bands not charging an arm and leg to see them. Plus, the venue itself is a great place to see a band whether you want to stand in the thick of it or station yourself in the cozy balcony.
Subterranean calendar of events »
While the music scene at The Hideout is very similar to Subterranean, the standout here are their Saturday night dance parties. Every Saturday starting at 11pm The Hideout hosts all kinds of DJs with a vibe much like dancing in your friend’s basement. Plus, outside of music and dancing The Hideout also hosts all kinds of events like book launches, standup, storytelling and event flea markets just to name a few!
The Hideout calendar of events »
Have you spent any time exploring the neighborhoods along The 606? Share your own favorite spots with us in the comments. We’ll add reader picks to the list!