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Dining, Table Tennis, and Western Wear on Chicago Avenue

Check out our recommendations for restaurants and stores in the heart of West Town and Noble Square… and these deep cuts to go along with them.

Alcalas Chicago western wear

As a former resident of West Town, I fully endorse the recommendations by Nora O’Donnell and Cassie Walker for dining and shopping along Chicago Avenue, especially Hoosier Mama and the new West Town Public Library. But I do have a few vital additions:

* Habana Libre (1440 W. Chicago Ave.): Looks kitschy, but they’re serious about their meat, especially the ropa vieja. One of my favorite restaurants in the city.

* Cafe Central (1437 W. Chicago Ave.): A hearty, old-school Puerto Rican restaurant that’s been around since 1952. It’s Miguel Del Valle’s favorite restaurant.

* Flo (1434 W. Chicago Ave.): My favorite weekend brunch spot, which specializes in well-priced, hearty New Mexican cooking. The house-mixed green and red chile Bloody Marys are recommended, as is the house Intelligentsia blend, which still might be the best coffee I’ve ever had.

* Taqueria Traspasada #2 (811 N. Ashland Ave.): My favorite place in the city for quick, cheap food–and if you’ll allow me to be heretical, I prefer it to the august La Pasadita empire just up Ashland. I like to stop in for a taco or two and follow it up with dessert and coffee at Hoosier Mama. On weekends they serve birria.

* Chipp Inn (832 N. Greenview Ave.): An old, modest neighborhood establishment tucked away in a cul-de-sac from the Chicago Avenue traffic. A fine alternative to the flash of Beauty Bar.

* Alcala’s (1733 W. Chicago Ave.): Even though I can’t pull off the dude look, I still enjoy looking around in this palace of western wear.

* Chi-Slam Table Tennis Club (1647 W. Chicago Ave.): I can’t personally recommend this, table tennis not being my sport. But I thought you should know you have the option.


Photograph: Adrián Flores (CC by 2.0)


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