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Best thrift destination for brand-name clothes

Goods & Services, Lakeview No Comments »

Lakeview Brown Elephant
If you thrift not for the love of the hunt for that perfect “Mad Men”-era outfit, but because you like your name brand on the cheap, then the nigh-secret brand-name rack section at the Lakeview Brown Elephant is for you. Here you’ll find a spectacular array of the otherwise unaffordable and usually a few designer pearls among the usual dung. Check back often and finally score that affordable Ermenegildo Zegna jacket you’ve been seeking for years.
3651 North Halsted, (773)549-5943,

Best of Chicago 2013

Best attempt to connect communities

Goods & Services, Lakeview, Logan Square, Wicker Park No Comments »

Created by Maggie Schutz and Sarah Press as a constructive way of getting fellow neighbors together, Learnapalooza is just past its fourth year and now counts two more neighborhoods besides the original Wicker Park locations—classes also take place in multiple venues throughout Lakeview and Logan Square. “Palooza” makes sense, since this is an extremely dynamic one-day-a-year learning marathon, offering courses as diverse as “Night Photography,” “Find Your True Self” and “How Excel Can Make Your Life Easier,” among many others. Classes are taught by volunteers and open to the public. Donations are welcome, as well as expertise.

Best of Chicago 2013

Best drag queen pickup spot

Culture & Nightlife, Lakeview No Comments »

It’s hard to beat the king. Or, in this case, the queen. If trans ladies are your jam, it’s hard to beat the 1am crowd at Berlin nightclub in Lakeview. Shocker. This place has been the pansexual center of Chicago as a cultural destination since most of this publication’s readers were infants. No surprise then that it seems the most popular destination for nighthawk tucked-in women decked out in their torch-song finest. If you like a little warm-up before launching into your night of trans-lass prowling, drop by on the first and third Saturday of the month from 9pm-11:30pm for performances by the spectacular House of Santana.
954 West Belmont, (773)348-4975,

Best of Chicago 2013

Best place to buy fresh seafood

Audience Choice, Goods & Services, Lakeview No Comments »

New England Seafood Company
When it comes to the freshest seafood in Chicago, look eastward. New England to be precise. Nestled on the outer fringes of Lakeview, New England Seafood Company peddles East Coast seafood so fresh you’ll think you’re on a beach in Maine. The owners hail from Massachusetts, and their affinity for seafood sourcing is evident in their daily supply of pristine nautical products, from live lobsters to salmon, mussels, haddock and lots more. Take your seafood home to cook yourself, or order off their dining menu to enjoy the likes of lobster rolls, baked salmon and clam chowder.
3341 North Lincoln, (773)871-3474,

AUDIENCE CHOICE: Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop, 2070 North Clybourn, (773)404-3475,

Best of Chicago 2013

Best feature of the planned Wrigley Field renovations

Audience Choice, Lakeview, Sports & Recreation No Comments »

A proposed 500-car parking garage north of the stadium got kiboshed
The Cubs are lucky to be headquartered in a walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly neighborhood that’s dense with bars and restaurants, and everyone agrees that car traffic is already a nightmare on game days. So why did the team, Alderman Tom Tunney, and some of the neighbors think it might be a good idea to build a massive garage on top of the vast parking lot that sits north of the stadium, a move that would only encourage more people to drive to games, further clogging the streets? Luckily, Lakeview resident Eric Hanss launched a petition against the structure that garnered 238 signatures, which helped convince the powers that be to deep-six the proposal.

Audience comment: “None of it will matter if they get rid of Old Style…”

Best of Chicago 2013

Best Wrigley Field renovation not yet proposed

Audience Choice, Lakeview, Sports & Recreation No Comments »

 A unisex stripper poll by the visiting team’s bullpen
Until the Cubs decide that winning baseball games means something and until the fans actually begin coming by the millions every year to watch them play instead of joining “Chicago’s best outdoor party,” the organization needs to fully commit to the stereotype that has become reality. Go all out. Make David Guetta or Tiesto the resident DJs, institute an eight-beer minimum, have a bouncer outside Gate D for the girls that come in cut-off Cardinals’ jerseys and during the seventh-inning stretch (after “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” is sung, of course), let anyone who pays the $100 fee work the pole!

Audience comments: “Moving them to Kankakee”; “A Red line station FOR DOUCHES ONLY”; “A winning team”; “Hot Dougs stand”; “An idiot alert at the turnstiles that would be constantly going off.”

Best of Chicago 2013

Best place to eat Brazilian appetizers

Food & Drink, Lakeview No Comments »

Fogo 2 Go
A match made in heaven: Guarana, a typical Brazilian soda that manages to be really sweet but not sickening, and coxinha—a savory that includes chicken, spices, tomato sauce, onion, parsley and sometimes catupiry cheese. Fogo To Go makes the crunchiest coxinha of all, along with Brazilian-style pizzas.

Fogo 2 Go, 926 West Diversey, (773)880-8052,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best fish and chips

Audience Choice, Food & Drink, Lakeview, Roscoe Village No Comments »

New England Seafood Company
The Mazza brothers, transplants from New England, serve up scads of flaky haddock blanketed in a crispy robe of fried batter along with golden shoestring-style spuds. Although for our money, while the fries are good, get some of the freshly shaved and fried potato chips. Though that might not be authentic, even English punters would be impressed.

New England Seafood Company, 3341 North Lincoln, (773)871-3474,

Audience choice: Duke of Perth, 2913 North Clark, (773)477-1741,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best falafel

Audience Choice, Food & Drink, Lakeview, Wicker Park No Comments »

Classic, curry and seasonal fried chickpea balls here rate among the best, but it’s the rotating chef selection of falafel like the ones from Jason Hammel of Lula—Sun Gold tomato relish, pickled pistachio, crispy fried kale and honey topped version—or Paul Virant of Vie’s black bean falafel smothered in spicy mayo, pickled peppers, pea shoots, cilantro and lemon garlic vinaigrette that sets this burgeoning franchise apart. The self-service condiment bar here is so good, those skeevy pepper bar-pimping Quizno’s hamsters would love it.

Falafill, 3202 North Broadway, (773)525-0052,

Audience choice: Sultan’s Market, 2057 West North, (773)235-3072, 2521 North Clark, (312)638-9151,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Thai dish

Food & Drink, Lakeview No Comments »

Crispy On Choy at Andy’s Thai Kitchen
Even vegetarians love bacon, or so the mythology goes. Taste is certainly subjective, but there are certain dishes in Chicago that everyone, unless they have a horrible allergy, loves: Hot Doug’s French fries, the apple fritter at Old Fashioned Donuts, and the brisket at Smoque. Joining that fraternity is a tangle of plump tender shrimp, pepper tempura fried watercress, soothing mint and stinging chilis bursting with a punchy fish sauce and sweet chili drizzle.

Andy’s Thai Kitchen, 946 West Wellington, (773)549-7821

Best of Chicago 2012