Photo: Anna Knott
The phrase “hiding in plain sight” could have been coined for this little café beckoning quietly beneath the hulking sign bearing its former name, Lincoln Perk. You may walk right by it once or twice before entering what feels like chef-owner Laura Lucarelli’s home kitchen, where she shares the tasty spillover from her day job. (She caters on weekdays; the café is open only Friday to Sunday, from 8 a.m until 4 or 5 p.m.)
Laura, like her BYO namesake, is warm and inviting, if slightly unorthodox. She makes most items on the limited menu from scratch, from nifty pizzas ($3.75 a slice) to doughy drop biscuits for sausage and egg sandwiches ($4) to asparagus Parmesan quiche with a rich butter crust ($5 a slice). Panini, served with a bright side salad ($6.50), offer toothsome combinations—such as house-cured ham, cheddar, and tangy apricot mustard or roasted chicken with provolone and pear—pressed together between a French roll.
Bring your dog along and sit on the patio. Chances are, Laura will tell you to grab a few dog cookies she made that morning from the jar on the shelf. Inside, enjoy the patchwork decor while you linger with a dense espresso-laced chocolate brownie ($3.50) and an expertly poured café au lait ($2.50). You’ll feel a world away from the harried corner of Clark and Wrightwood. Now if only La Cucina di Laura would declare itself a café every day. 612 W. Wrightwood Ave., 773-544-7375