In a new weekly series, Summer in Chicago, Eater is highlighting places to eat and drink—sometimes lesser-known spots—in different neighborhoods for when your out-of-town friends come to visit. First up: Lakeview.
El Nuevo Mexicano's hidden back patio [Photo: Facebook]
Summer in Chicago – the season that makes all those awful winters worth it. Also the season that out-of-towners pounce on our metropolis, eager for all the deep dish and hot dogs they can stomach. But not this time, tourists. Every week, Eater will provide a list of the different places throughout each neighborhood and break it down into categories—the famous, the hidden gems and more—to guide your summer culinary journeys and arm you against the typical tourist traps.
Famous: The Chicago Diner
Address: 3411 N. Halsted
The low-down: Meat free since 1983, the Chicago Diner leaves even the staunchest carnivore satisfied. Don’t let its hipster vibe scare you off – the staff is exceptionally warm and knowledgeable, whether you’re looking for something lactose free or gluten friendly. A perfect blend of sweet, savory, spicy and filling, the bi bim bap is not to be missed.
Under the Radar: El Nuevo Mexicano
Address: 2914 N. Clark
The low-down: Its traditional Mexican fare and unpretentious atmosphere make El Nuevo Mexicano one of the better gems of Lakeview’s ethnic food scene. Modified dishes (think gluten free or seafood only) make everyone feel at home. If the sun is shining, grab a margarita and head for the back patio. You may even forget you're steps from the craziness of Wrigley Field.
Lunch: Uncommon Ground
Address: 3800 N. Clark
The low-down: Despite its coffeehouse vibe and bustling bar, Uncommon Ground’s menu is not to be overlooked. From eggs benedict (a different variety daily) and huevos rancheros to the beef burger or Uncommon Chopped Salad, the restaurant brings local and seasonal ingredients to a great midday meal in the area. And add a side of the sweet potato fries for the table—though you’ll have to ask for extra goat cheese fondue.
Cocktails: Elixir Lounge
Address: 3452 N. Halsted
The low-down: Elixir Lounge has no shortage of classic and innovative cocktails, made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. In true Boystown fashion, they're strictly served by friendly, muscle-y men in tight shirts. Try a cucumber mint martini, if only for the shake.
Dinner: Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar
Address: 3358 N. Paulina
The low-down: Forget the deep dish. Thin crust pizza featuring specialty ingredients is the way to go at this Italian restaurant. An impressive wine list complements the cozy atmosphere, which is perfect for a romantic evening or a group of friends.
Sweets: Bobtail Ice Cream Company
Address: 2951 N. Broadway
The low-down: Whether you need something sweet after dinner or a snack on the go, Bobtail’s homemade, hard-pack ice cream is a must have. The shop is reminiscent of a 1950s ice cream parlor, but the flavors are all new, inspired by local flavors and seasonal ingredients. The Cubby Crunch – vanilla ice cream with Oreo, toffee, sprinkles and chocolate chips – is a Bobtail staple for kids and adults.
Late Night: Clark Street Dog
Address: 3040 N. Clark
The low-down: Before stumbling back to your digs, be sure to stop in at Clark Street Dog. Serving Chicago-style hot dogs and beer, this is the ideal late night spot if you have a hankering at 3 a.m. You knew we couldn't let you leave without at least one Chicago dog...
Eater Intern Alison Kessler contributed this article