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Although she admits Pilsen could use a bookstore, Annie Novotny, 30, may be the neighborhood’s biggest fan. The rents are low; the Loop is a 22-minute ride on the Pink Line; and she likes the mix of newcomer culture and Mexican identity, the latter anchored by the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W. 19th St.; 312-738-1503). Annie’s clothing design studio, Workshop (818 W. 18th St.; 312-226-9000), doubles as a store, and she loves that fellow merchants participate in area events, such as the Second Fridays art walk (Halsted and 18th streets). Her favorite vintage boutique, Knee Deep Vintage (1425 W. 18th St.; 312-850-2510), throws a midnight sale every second Friday as well. Places like Café Jumping Bean (1439 W. 18th St.; 312-455-0019) and Irv’s Bike Shop (1725 S. Racine Ave.; 312-226-6330) typify the area’s indie vibe, while the local food joints skew Mexican. Annie’s picks include Perez Restaurant (1163 W. 18th St.; 312-421-3631) for margaritas, Mundial Cocina Mestiza (1640 W. 18th St.; 312-491-9908) for “awesome Mexican fusion food,” Fogata Village (1820 S. Ashland Ave.; 312-850-1702) for weekend karaoke, Don Pedro Carnitas (1113 W. 18th St.; 312-829-4757) for takeout pork by the pound, Honky Tonk BBQ (1213 W. 18th St.; 312-226-7427) for ribs, Kristoffer’s Café and Bakery (1733 S. Halsted St.; 312-829-4150) for its legendary tres leches cake, Nightwood (2119 S. Halsted St.; 312-526-3385) for hipster farm food, and the tamale guys in front of the Bank of America at 18th and Paulina (“I get pork rojo tamales”).Edit Module
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