Chicago Relocation


December 29, 2014

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John D’Ambrogio

Think Chicago’s Clark Street ends at Wrigley Field?  Think again, and head on up north to Andersonville.  A part of the greater Edgewater community, it is anchored by local (read non-chain) shopping, dining and sipping, mostly along Clark Street north of Foster.

Settled by the Swedes after the Chicago fire, Andersonville still retains its ethnic flavor.  Celebrate the solstice each year at the mid-sommar fest, complete with a Maypole and folk dancing!  And someone help me with why you have a maypole in June.  In winter check out the Julmarknad Christmas Bazaar and grab a herring, or some falukorv (google it)!

The housing in Andersonville?  In a word – lovely.  You have your typical sturdy chicago brick corridor and courtyard buildings, along with hundreds of beautiful (and beautifully maintained) single family homes.  They’re not inexpensive, and definitely are for those who want the space of a home and the convenience and vibe of city living, and are willing to pay the price.

So  where to enjoy a great meal or a cocktail in Andersonville?

I won’t hold it against them that my first drink with my former in-laws was at The Hop Leaf.  Great food to munch on, but the star is 300+ beers, with 40 on tap.  I’m not a beer guy, but I’m told that’s a heady list!

If beer isn’t your thing, fear not, walk up the street to the Coffee Studio for impressive baristas and Intelligentsia coffee! They take their coffee SERIOUSLY.

Hands down the best Lebanese food around, like I have been going back there decades after leaving the neighborhood – Taste of Lebanon – a tiny family owned restaurant run by people who care.  Great for carry out.  Maybe don’t bring a date there. They leave a few newspapers around to read if you’re sticking around to eat.  Pretty much falafels and lentil soup, but man oh many – try it!  Just scroll through Yelp! and try to find an unkind word about this place!

And if you’ve been to one place up there, it’s Ann Sather’s.  Which would be a good choice if you want a filling, fantastic breakfast, and probably the only place around still serving lingonberries! Swedish dining at its best.  They have a Lakeview location, but try the original at least once.

After your pancakes, visit the Swedish American Museum, an homage to Swedish immigration to America.  Great little community museum.

Apparently I used to live in Andersonville.  Not according to most of the residents of Andersonville, or of Ravenswood (where I really lived), but according to the Chamber of Commerce.  This is as good a place as any to mention (again), that when in Chicago you are often simultaneously eating your chicken wings or walking your dog in two to four different neighborhoods, depending on who you ask (real estate agent, old timer, new timer, merchant, etc.).  So it’s good to note that Andersonville is kissed by Ravenswood, Uptown, Lincoln Square, and of course Edgewater.  But that, of course, depends on who you ask.

Fun little side note – Just north of St. Boniface’s at the south end of Andersonville, walk by 1345 W. Argyle, the site of Essanay Studio. This was the studio of the little tramp himself (Charlie Chaplin), one hundred short years ago….