Best Place to Practice Being a Chef
Kitchen Chicago | 4664 N. Manor Ave.; 773-463-0863,
Kitchen Chicago, a shared-time commercial kitchen, opened a little over a year ago as a low-cost way for aspiring chefs—or, really, anyone with an idea for a food business—to get started. Owned and operated by Jeff Leverenz, a former software engineer, and Alexis Frankfort, a graduate of Chicago’s French Pastry School, the spot also has a friendly café where you can sample the goods.
Tre Kronor | 3258 W. Foster Ave.; 773-267-9888
What’s the secret to this spot’s eggs Benedict? “We still make hollandaise sauce the way it’s supposed to be made,” says Larry Anderson, who, along with his wife, Patty Rasmussen, has run this cozy Scandinavian restaurant since 1992. While it serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner six days a week, Sunday brunch and breakfast—or “frokost,” as the menu proudly announces—are what this spot does best, from traditional Swedish pancakes (it’s a crime not to smother them with lingonberries, which come on the side) to your standard ham-and-cheese omelet.
Best Fish Market
The FishGuy Market | 4423 N. Elston Ave.; 773-283-7400
You’d expect the owner of a shop named The FishGuy Market to know mackerel from monkfish. Bill Dugan knows the difference. He also knows what marinade to use, how to cook it, and what to serve it with. That knowledge—accumulated from 29 years in the seafood industry—along with friendly service and reliably fresh fish is what has kept customers coming back since Dugan opened his doors in 1997. It’s also the draw for Chicago’s top chefs (Trotter, Tramonto, Achatz, among others), many of whom buy from Dugan’s wholesale business.
Montrose Saloon | 2933 W. Montrose Ave.; 773-463-7663
The neighborhood hipsters have set upon this corner bar, no doubt attracted by its worn-in charm, cheap drinks, expansive beer garden (complete with horseshoe pits), and live bluegrass on the second Wednesday of the month.
Best Cheap Meal
The $5.50 whole chicken from Semiramis
Those rotisserie chickens you’ve been picking up at Costco certainly get the job done, but next time try the ones at Semiramis (4639 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-279-8900), a year-old Lebanese joint. The chickens soak for two days in a lemon-garlic marinade before hitting the rotisserie. The whole bird is then wrapped in a giant piece of pliable lavash (a paper-thin, slightly chewy bread) and sent out the door with a side of homemade garlic whip. “The best way to eat it is with your hands,” says the owner, Joseph Abraham. “This is not for fancy gourmets.”
Best Candy Store
Flavors on Avers | 4526 N. Avers Ave.; 773-588-2358
Nestled among the frame houses and bungalows lining this residential block, this tiny shop has existed in one form or another for the past 50 years. But it was only within the last year that the new owner, Tony Griffin, gave the store a retro-chic face-lift, complete with glass display cases, an old-timey façade, and patio seating. In the early afternoon, you’ll have to jockey with the students of nearby Haugan Elementary for bubblegum tape and Lik-m-aid Fun Dip.
Best of Chicago - Table of Contents
Best of Chicago - 01
Best of Chicago - 02
Best of Chicago - 03
Best of Chicago - 04
Best of Chicago - 05
Best of Chicago - 06
Best of Neighborhhoods - Albany Park
Best of Neighborhhoods - Evanston
Best of Neighborhhoods - Highwood
Best of Neighborhhoods - Hyde Park
Best of Neighborhhoods - Ukrainian VIllage and East Village
Best of Chicago - Architecture