WICKER PARK—We used to say that Wicker Park was the most New York-feeling part of Chicago and now, with the soon-to-open Crocodile on Milwaukee, it's getting another piece of the Big Apple. The bar, with outposts in Manhattan and Brooklyn, will open here in the next couple of weeks. The bi-level space, which was last home to Thyme Cafe, will serve salads, paninis and weekend brunch, but the hook is the free 8-inch pizza with every beer. Crocodile will have nine beers on tap that will rotate and a variety of wine. The warm space opens up downstairs to a cool lounge that will have DJs on the weekend and be available for private events.
BUCKTOWN—Looks like the wasteland of Damen between Fullerton and Webster is about to get a little tastier. Luscious Layers bakery is being built out and, according to owner Ashley Galliart, hopes to be open within the month. While Luscious Layers' main focus is on crafting gorgeous wedding and birthday cakes, they also bake cookies, cupcakes and other sweets, which will be available in the store's bakery cases. Galliart, a native Chicagoan, received her cake decorating training in Memphis and has been working out of rented kitchen space until now.