Wicker Park has become ground zero for the Chicago ramen boom, and today the neighborhood gets a casual noodle and dumpling restaurant from a very noteworthy chef. Bill Kim opens his second Urbanbelly for dinner service today in the former Penny's Noodle Shop space, bringing his time-tested takes on Asian street food to Damen Avenue.
Kim and Cornerstone Restaurant Group turned the space around quickly—Penny's only shuttered on Jan. 2—but the space now has a much different feel. Upon entering, customers are greeted by a front counter wrapped around an open kitchen before taking a seat at one of the long communal tables. They opened up all the front windows that wrap around the prominent corner space, lining them with counters perfect for Wicker Park people watching.
Urbanbelly 2 should capitalize on the nightlife in the neighborhood with late hours on Fridays and Saturdays (until 1 a.m.) and budget-friendly drink options such as $3 Kirin Ichiban drafts and $4 shots of Japanese whiskey. While the drink menu is different, the food menu is nearly identical to the original—which was originally in Avondale before relocating next door to BellyQ in the West Loop—which means both traditional and creative takes on noodles, dumplings, rice and protein bowls, and mini doughnuts will be served. Read through it below, and also look for rotating specials.
Urbanbelly Wicker Park, 1542 N. Damen Ave., (773) 904-8606. Regular hours are open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. Lunch service should begin sometime within the next week.