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Best shopping street or intersection

Andersonville, Audience Choice, Goods & Services, Wicker Park No Comments »

Damen, Milwaukee & North

The “six corners” intersection in Wicker Park has long ceased being an oasis of retail independence in a desert of chain-store strips. These days, major brands like Levi’s and Lululemon share the strip with the local chain Akira and boutiques like Apartment Number 9 and RSVP Gallery. Though the balance may be tenuous, the intersection has managed to retain much of its charm, partly because the urban mix is just diverse enough, with plenty of salons, galleries, cafes and other services interspersed among the clothing purveyors. It also helps that, despite the nearly complete gentrification, markers of the nabe’s grittier past remain: a few vintage storefronts, a record shop and convenience stores are helping, as it were, to keep Wicker Park weird.

Audience Choice: Clark Street in Andersonville

Best garden store

Andersonville, Audience Choice, Goods & Services No Comments »

Gethsemane Garden Center
Even if you’re not embarking on a new gardening project, you’ll want to stroll Gethsemane’s grounds in Andersonville, just to take it all in. The rows and rows of green, leafy plants, bright flowers, fountains and trellises might just convince you that you’ve temporarily left the city. If you want to dig a koi pond in your backyard, start an indoor herb garden, or purchase an heirloom tomato plant at the end of September, Gethsemane’s your go-to.
5739 North Clark, (773)878-5915, gethsemanegardens.com

AUDIENCE CHOICE: Gethsemane Garden Center

Best of Chicago 2013

Best independent feminist bookstore you could own

Andersonville, Culture & Nightlife No Comments »

Women and Children First
Sadly, this category is a no-brainer. There is only one independent feminist bookstore in Chicago. Women and Children First started in 1979 on Armitage, and moved to the iconic Andersonville storefront with the lavender awning in 1990. The LGBTQ and children’s book sections are unrivaled. Staff members are quick with a recommendation and a smile. The events are always stellar, whether a children’s story hour, feminist book club, lesbian social night, or appearances by Margaret Atwood, Hillary Clinton or Barbara Kingsolver. Owners Ann Christophersen and Linda Bubon say they don’t have the energy to keep it going. The potential buyer should have boundless energy, deep pockets and an appreciation of the store’s spirit. Fingers crossed.

5233 North Clark, (773)769-9299, womenandchildrenfirst.com

Best of Chicago 2013

Best North Side dog rescue

Andersonville, Goods & Services No Comments »

Famous Fido Dog Rescue
Famous Fido Dog Rescue in Andersonville is a small shelter with big heart. Founder Gloria Lissner and her dedicated volunteer staff work tirelessly to place animals in loving homes, keeping in constant contact with overcrowded city shelters and saving animals from death row. Famous Fido knows that all animals—including seniors and others at high risk of being killed—deserve a second chance. The shelter also leads the charge for a No Kill Chicago through their rescue and adoption alliance focusing on shelter reform, protesting puppy mills, and working to stop the dumping of unwanted animals.

5430 North Clark, (773)907-0305, famousfidorescue.com

Best of Chicago 2013

Best Indonesian food

Andersonville, Food & Drink No Comments »

The Rice Table
With close to 250 million people, Indonesia is the world’s fourth-largest country and its cuisine is one of the tastiest on the planet, so why doesn’t Chicago have a single freestanding Indonesian eatery? Chris Reed, owner/chef of The Rice Table catering company, attributes the absence to greater Chicago’s relatively tiny Indonesian expat community and American unfamiliarity with the rich, spicy fare of the archipelago nation. Fortunately, if you want to sample classic dishes like rendang (beef in coconut curry) and gado gado (salad with vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and tempeh in peanut sauce) Reed serves a monthly rijsttafel, a lavish Dutch-Indonesian buffet, at Andersonville’s Vincent. Here’s hoping he opens his own brick-and-mortar soon. Rijsttafel on the first Sunday of every month, 5:30pm-9pm.

The Rice Table at Vincent, 1475 West Balmoral, (773)334-7168, thericetable.com

Best of Chicago 2012

Best focaccia bread

Andersonville, Food & Drink No Comments »

Calo Ristorante
This family-run restaurant in Andersonville has served classic Italian favorites from Linguini Frutti di Mare (linguini with shrimp, scallops, clams, calamari and black mussels) to Bucatini Pomodoro (tomatoes, asparagus and fresh mozzarella in garlic-white wine sauce) since 1963. And a mid-twentieth-century mahogany bar still exudes “Mad Men”-era supper club warmth. But there’s a problem at Calo: The mains are so good here, but it’s almost impossible to lay off the generous helpings of warm, fluffy, lightly crusted, fresh tomato-topped focaccia bread before dinner reaches the table.

Calo Ristorante, 5343 North Clark, (773)271-7782, calorestaurant.com

Best of Chicago 2012

Best new boutique or shop opened in the last year or so

Andersonville, Audience Choice, Bucktown, Goods & Services No Comments »

Edith Hart
Not since Sofia has chic been so… well, chic. Edith Hart stocks cutting-edge brands from foreign locales such as Australia (Bec & Bridge, One Teaspoon, Paper Crown, Wildfox) that you certainly won’t find on Michigan Avenue. Young and trendy with a pulse on the world of fashion, owner Morgan Gutterman stocks her newly renovated store with everything you’ll need to become an overnight fashionista. Best of all? The store’s recently launched web store, ensuring you won’t even need to leave your nest this winter to stock up on blouses, jeans, belts and bags.

Edith Hart, 1917 North Damen, (773)252-3350, edithhart.com

Audience choice: Milk Handmade, 5137 North Clark, (847)833-6309, milkhandmade.com

Best of Chicago 2012

Best sticky toffee pudding

Andersonville, Food & Drink No Comments »

Lady Gregory’s Irish Bar & Restaurant
We’re so glad Lady Gregory’s started a brunch service in October. If it’s half as good as her Irish classic, sticky toffee pudding, we’ll be in Emerald Isle fantasy land. Like the menu reads here, the pudding (a cake, really) is an “indulgence”—topped with toffee sauce and whipped cream. This Andersonville eatery, a nod to the Irish dramatist and folklorist Lady Augusta Gregory, is a sister restaurant to Wilde (an homage in East Lakeview to English author Oscar Wilde) and Beckett’s (a tip of the hat in West Lakeview to Irish playwright Samuel Beckett).

Lady Gregory’s, 5260 North Clark, (773)271-5050, ladygregorys.com

Best of Chicago 2012

Best secret flower patch in Chicago

Andersonville, City Life No Comments »

In the West Andersonville Gardens, a woodchip trail carves its way through a block of mini-forestry. A collection of sunflowers may brush your arm as you walk by. A feather juts out from one, foreshadowing something ahead. An old wooden wheel leans against a fence, waiting patiently for its wagon. It gathers vines and weeds in its rickety curves. A patch of purple flowers alerts you to an opportunity—stop and smell them. Why not? After all, you’ve just discovered the best secret flower patch in Chicago.

Best of Chicago 2012

Best artisan design shop in Andersonville

Andersonville, Goods & Services No Comments »

The Haymaker Shop

While most of the home décor shops on Andersonville’s Clark Street hawk high-end salvage, Haymaker, which opened in June, features a curated selection of objects from local designers and artists. Proprietor Arrin Williams pairs contemporary, handcrafted furniture with dazzling posters designed by Sonnenzimmer and Legendre & Rutter.

The Haymaker Shop
5507 North Clark
(773)681-0798
haymakershop.com

Best of Chicago 2011