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Rogers Park has plenty to eat and drink.
Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images

Where to Eat and Drink in Rogers Park

The neighborhood’s restaurants feature the area’s trademark diversity

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Rogers Park has plenty to eat and drink.
| Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rogers Park is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago — economically, racially, internationally — and its restaurants reflect that. From small, family-owned diners and taquerias to big fast-food chains that cater to students at Loyola University, there are plenty of dining options, and each one has its own fiercely partisan following — for good reason.

As of June 11, Chicago restaurants have fully reopened and the city has lifted restrictions on capacity and social distancing. However, on July 30, the city issued guidance recommending that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following safety guidelines. The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is available here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Badou Senegalese Cuisine

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Badara “Badou” Diakhate is the owner/chef behind this Rogers Park restaurant specializing in Senegalese fare with a few soul food dishes, too. His specialty is a jambalaya of okra cooked in a thick tomato sauce with onion, shrimp, and smoked turkey. There’s also boulette, a Senegalese beef patty accompanied by braised collard greens, and bissap, a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage of hibiscus, anis, vanilla, and mint.

Sol Cafe

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This cheerful, plant-filled cafe at the end of the Red Line on Howard Street is an excellent place to meet a friend for a chat or camp out all day with a laptop to get some work done. The owners promise that the monthly Sol Suppers, prepared by guest chefs, will return when the pandemic is over, but for now, guests can fuel up with a breakfast sandwich or bowl or one of the creatively flavored lattes.

R Public House

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Now that the block of Jarvis Avenue just east of the El has been closed to auto traffic, R Public House has expanded its outdoor dining area into the street, making it even more of a neighborhood gathering place than it was pre-pandemic. The kitchen serves up burgers, pizza, and other comfort food, plus beer, wine, and cocktails to stay or to go.

Charmers Cafe

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Caffeine fiends may be lured to Charmers by the coffee, but they stay for the sandwiches, the smoothies, the ice cream (from Homer’s), the weekend pastry specials, and the semi-regular craft and plant sales.

Qaato Halal Restaurant - Nigerian cuisine

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The West African-centered Qaato features pepper soup, which comes with tender pieces of oxtail. If you need more sustenance, there’s also coconut rice with chicken or fish, plus yam porridge served with tomatoes and spinach for vegetarians.

Ropa Cabana

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Aside from food visitors bring themselves, Ropa Cabana is the only place to eat on Loyola Beach. The good news is, it serves food all day long, from coffee and beignets in the morning to hot dogs, walking tacos, and smoothies in the afternoon and evening.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Honeybear Cafe

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This cozy family-owned spot on Clark Street opened just before the pandemic hit Chicago and quickly became a neighborhood hub. Even in cold weather, diners could dig into enormous plates of pancakes and chicken and waffles on the heated back patio. Honeybear also maintains a community pantry and fridge.

El Sabor Poblano

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The menu of this family-run restaurant is filled with dishes matriarch Maria Moso learned to make in San Juan Pilcaya, her hometown in the Mexican state of Puebla. Weekdays are for everyday dishes, like picaditas (thick, chewy rounds of masa topped with cheese and salsa), crispy quesadillas, tacos, and pambazos, while the weekends are for the festival dishes: barbacoa, an herbal beef soup called guasmole, and chicken soup dyed red from guajillo chiles.

XO Marshmallow

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This tiny spot near the lake was started by social media influencers who created a following through pop-ups and Instagram. It’s an adorable space for coffee, but the focus is creative marshmallows in flavors like champagne, butterbeer, and cinnamon toast. The photos of the s’mores may earn customers a few more social media followers.

XO Marshmallow Cafe
Marc Much

J.B. Alberto's Pizza

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A longtime neighborhood favorite (the result of a merger of two even older neighborhood favorites), JB Alberto’s serves pizza in all its forms: thin crust, deep dish, stuffed, heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day, and The Giant, a 24-inch monstrosity advertised as the city’s largest.

Fantastik Fruit Cart

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The lines are long at this tiny stand at the corner of Morse and Clark, but the enormous cócteles de fruta, sprinkled with chili, lime, or coconut are worth it — as is the show put on by the vendors as they chop fresh fruit to order.

Rogers Park Social

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Games and indie jams fill this colorful cocktail bar. Favorites like margaritas are on the menu with bar originals, plus there’s a hefty amount of craft beer to boot.

The Oasis Tavern

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Generations of Loyola students and other people old enough to know better have humiliated themselves in a myriad of ways at this Sheridan Road dive bar — through karaoke, pool, darts, or general drunkenness — but somehow, they always remember the experience fondly.

Asahi Roll

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There’s ramen and udon on the menu at this tiny spot near Loyola Beach, but the main attraction is a truly mind-boggling array of traditional and specialty sushi rolls, which the friendly staff make to order.

Semilla's Latin Kitchen & Wine Bar

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Semilla’s may qualify as the most romantic dining spot in Rogers Park. There’s the menu of Mexican and Peruvian classics, along with fancy takes on wings, tacos, and quesadillas, sure, but also the wine list (which includes Dom Perignon for ballers), the live bossa nova music twice a week, and the covered patio illuminated by little twinkly lights.

Smack Dab Bakery

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Biscuits and breakfast come first at Smack Dab, where egg sandwiches topped with savory balsamic red onion jam and vegan doughnuts are tops. They’re made to be eaten on the go, perfect for grabbing on the way to the office. There are also monthly community dinners and bimonthly pizza night popups.

Smack Dab serves up breakfast sandwiches.
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bopNgrill

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This fast-casual Korean favorite has a bunch of bibimbap plates on the menu along with burgers, but the thing that stands out the most is the kimchi fries. They’re filling enough to make a meal out of, topped with bacon, cheese sauce, scallions and truffle oil. A second location opened on Belmont in Lakeview.

The kimchi fries are a must at bopNgrill.
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Denden Restaurant

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Those craving authentic Eritrean cuisine may get it early morning or late at night at this cheery Rogers Park storefront that’s awash in soothing, muted colors. For breakfast, there’s sheh’an full (diced beans cooked in spicy butter and seasoned with ricotta, onions, tomatoes, jalapeno), and the regular menu consists of signature dishes like zighni begi’e (lamb chops in spicy butter) and zighni derho (diced chicken with onion, jalapeno, flavored butter), both served with red hot pepper sauce.

Taste of Peru

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Traditional Peruvian dishes are tops at this Rogers Park spot. Unassuming from the front, the dishes pack a ton of flavor. Pick the arroz con mariscos, a heaping rice plate topped with a variety of seafood from shrimp to squid.

Cunneen's

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This place has the decor of a bar that hasn’t updated anything since the bar opened back in the day, which matches its friendly, divey appeal. So belly up to the bar and grab an Old Style, but be prepared: the bar’s cash only.

Cunneen’s is an essential dive bar in Rogers Park.
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Sauce & Bread Kitchen

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Locally sourced bakery goods and Dark Matter coffee are this cafe’s bread and butter. Breakfast choices are available all day and meat and threes are on the lunch menu, providing something for nearly everyone.

Sauce & Bread is a cafe that’s got bakery goods and breakfast.
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Badou Senegalese Cuisine

Badara “Badou” Diakhate is the owner/chef behind this Rogers Park restaurant specializing in Senegalese fare with a few soul food dishes, too. His specialty is a jambalaya of okra cooked in a thick tomato sauce with onion, shrimp, and smoked turkey. There’s also boulette, a Senegalese beef patty accompanied by braised collard greens, and bissap, a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage of hibiscus, anis, vanilla, and mint.

Sol Cafe

This cheerful, plant-filled cafe at the end of the Red Line on Howard Street is an excellent place to meet a friend for a chat or camp out all day with a laptop to get some work done. The owners promise that the monthly Sol Suppers, prepared by guest chefs, will return when the pandemic is over, but for now, guests can fuel up with a breakfast sandwich or bowl or one of the creatively flavored lattes.

R Public House

Now that the block of Jarvis Avenue just east of the El has been closed to auto traffic, R Public House has expanded its outdoor dining area into the street, making it even more of a neighborhood gathering place than it was pre-pandemic. The kitchen serves up burgers, pizza, and other comfort food, plus beer, wine, and cocktails to stay or to go.

Charmers Cafe

Caffeine fiends may be lured to Charmers by the coffee, but they stay for the sandwiches, the smoothies, the ice cream (from Homer’s), the weekend pastry specials, and the semi-regular craft and plant sales.

Qaato Halal Restaurant - Nigerian cuisine

The West African-centered Qaato features pepper soup, which comes with tender pieces of oxtail. If you need more sustenance, there’s also coconut rice with chicken or fish, plus yam porridge served with tomatoes and spinach for vegetarians.

Ropa Cabana

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Aside from food visitors bring themselves, Ropa Cabana is the only place to eat on Loyola Beach. The good news is, it serves food all day long, from coffee and beignets in the morning to hot dogs, walking tacos, and smoothies in the afternoon and evening.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Honeybear Cafe

This cozy family-owned spot on Clark Street opened just before the pandemic hit Chicago and quickly became a neighborhood hub. Even in cold weather, diners could dig into enormous plates of pancakes and chicken and waffles on the heated back patio. Honeybear also maintains a community pantry and fridge.

El Sabor Poblano

The menu of this family-run restaurant is filled with dishes matriarch Maria Moso learned to make in San Juan Pilcaya, her hometown in the Mexican state of Puebla. Weekdays are for everyday dishes, like picaditas (thick, chewy rounds of masa topped with cheese and salsa), crispy quesadillas, tacos, and pambazos, while the weekends are for the festival dishes: barbacoa, an herbal beef soup called guasmole, and chicken soup dyed red from guajillo chiles.

XO Marshmallow

XO Marshmallow Cafe
Marc Much

This tiny spot near the lake was started by social media influencers who created a following through pop-ups and Instagram. It’s an adorable space for coffee, but the focus is creative marshmallows in flavors like champagne, butterbeer, and cinnamon toast. The photos of the s’mores may earn customers a few more social media followers.

XO Marshmallow Cafe
Marc Much

J.B. Alberto's Pizza

A longtime neighborhood favorite (the result of a merger of two even older neighborhood favorites), JB Alberto’s serves pizza in all its forms: thin crust, deep dish, stuffed, heart-shaped for Valentine’s Day, and The Giant, a 24-inch monstrosity advertised as the city’s largest.

Fantastik Fruit Cart

The lines are long at this tiny stand at the corner of Morse and Clark, but the enormous cócteles de fruta, sprinkled with chili, lime, or coconut are worth it — as is the show put on by the vendors as they chop fresh fruit to order.

Rogers Park Social

Games and indie jams fill this colorful cocktail bar. Favorites like margaritas are on the menu with bar originals, plus there’s a hefty amount of craft beer to boot.

The Oasis Tavern

Generations of Loyola students and other people old enough to know better have humiliated themselves in a myriad of ways at this Sheridan Road dive bar — through karaoke, pool, darts, or general drunkenness — but somehow, they always remember the experience fondly.

Asahi Roll

There’s ramen and udon on the menu at this tiny spot near Loyola Beach, but the main attraction is a truly mind-boggling array of traditional and specialty sushi rolls, which the friendly staff make to order.

Semilla's Latin Kitchen & Wine Bar

Semilla’s may qualify as the most romantic dining spot in Rogers Park. There’s the menu of Mexican and Peruvian classics, along with fancy takes on wings, tacos, and quesadillas, sure, but also the wine list (which includes Dom Perignon for ballers), the live bossa nova music twice a week, and the covered patio illuminated by little twinkly lights.

Related Maps

Smack Dab Bakery

Smack Dab serves up breakfast sandwiches.
Facebook

Biscuits and breakfast come first at Smack Dab, where egg sandwiches topped with savory balsamic red onion jam and vegan doughnuts are tops. They’re made to be eaten on the go, perfect for grabbing on the way to the office. There are also monthly community dinners and bimonthly pizza night popups.

Smack Dab serves up breakfast sandwiches.
Facebook

bopNgrill

The kimchi fries are a must at bopNgrill.
Facebook

This fast-casual Korean favorite has a bunch of bibimbap plates on the menu along with burgers, but the thing that stands out the most is the kimchi fries. They’re filling enough to make a meal out of, topped with bacon, cheese sauce, scallions and truffle oil. A second location opened on Belmont in Lakeview.

The kimchi fries are a must at bopNgrill.
Facebook

Denden Restaurant

Those craving authentic Eritrean cuisine may get it early morning or late at night at this cheery Rogers Park storefront that’s awash in soothing, muted colors. For breakfast, there’s sheh’an full (diced beans cooked in spicy butter and seasoned with ricotta, onions, tomatoes, jalapeno), and the regular menu consists of signature dishes like zighni begi’e (lamb chops in spicy butter) and zighni derho (diced chicken with onion, jalapeno, flavored butter), both served with red hot pepper sauce.

Taste of Peru

Traditional Peruvian dishes are tops at this Rogers Park spot. Unassuming from the front, the dishes pack a ton of flavor. Pick the arroz con mariscos, a heaping rice plate topped with a variety of seafood from shrimp to squid.

Cunneen's

Cunneen’s is an essential dive bar in Rogers Park.
Facebook

This place has the decor of a bar that hasn’t updated anything since the bar opened back in the day, which matches its friendly, divey appeal. So belly up to the bar and grab an Old Style, but be prepared: the bar’s cash only.

Cunneen’s is an essential dive bar in Rogers Park.
Facebook

Sauce & Bread Kitchen

Sauce & Bread is a cafe that’s got bakery goods and breakfast.
Facebook

Locally sourced bakery goods and Dark Matter coffee are this cafe’s bread and butter. Breakfast choices are available all day and meat and threes are on the lunch menu, providing something for nearly everyone.

Sauce & Bread is a cafe that’s got bakery goods and breakfast.
Facebook

Related Maps