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Best timeless restaurant

Food & Drink, Lincoln Square No Comments »

The Chicago Brauhaus

A cornerstone of Lincoln Square since 1965, Guenter and Harry Kempf’s Chicago Brauhaus is so purely itself—stuck beautifully in time and with no regard to the changing fashions outside its warm wooden interior. Order the Brauhaus Special (which includes the not-to-be-missed Sulze), a delicious beer and listen to the musical stylings of Gody—the self-proclaimed “Austrian Elvis”—and all will be right with the world.

4732 N. Lincoln, 773.784.4444, chicagobrauhaus.com

—Kelly Leonard, The Second City (The Players)

Best of Chicago 2015

Best new permanent home for a Chicago printmaking institution

Goods & Services, Lincoln Square No Comments »

Chicago Printmakers Collaborative

Under the capable direction of Deborah Maris Lader, the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative has finally completed its formidable transition from its longtime home across from the Western Brown line El station in Lincoln Square. After much renovating and the substantial effort of relocating all of its industrial-grade printing equipment, the CPC now has a permanent home in the building that formerly housed Penn-Dutchman Antiques. With their recent grand reopening, the collaborative finally seems poised for smooth sailing in its mission as an indispensable resource for the printmaking community, with vastly expanded facilities.

4912 N. Western, 773.293.2070, chicagoprintmakers.com

Best of Chicago 2015

Best non-corporate neighborhood

City Life, Lincoln Square No Comments »

Lincoln Square
You could go almost anywhere in Chicago and not chalk up anywhere near the non-corporate island haven-like status of Lincoln Square. Truly unique in the Rahm Emanuel business-friendly landscape of in-your-face commercial madness splashed across every rentable surface in the city, this neighborhood boasts not one but three (two of which are local) coffee shops within a two-block radius, hold-out record store Laurie’s Planet of Sound (a shocker in and of itself in the age of iTunes), and the neighborhood-owned Davis theater. “Locally owned” doesn’t just do the fight happening here against the tide of cheap, corporate replacement options service. This ‘hood is sexy as hell, and knows it.
Montrose Avenue on the south, Ravenswood Avenue on the east and the Chicago River on the west

Best of Chicago 2013

Best kids shoe store

Goods & Services, Lincoln Square No Comments »

Piggy Toes
Finding the right shoes for your kids can be a hassle, and the ones you got from Payless literally just fall apart at the seams after a month or two of rough use. Piggy Toes in Lincoln Square on Western offers the city’s most extravagant, most well-pruned selection of well-made, hard-to-find designer kids shoes, such as Tsukihoshi, Puma and a full line of Geox, built like tanks and guaranteed to last for months. There is a sale going on constantly, and the service is attentive, informed and patient with even the most rambunctious little ones. Truly a must-visit for urban parents.
4548 North Western, (773)281-5583, ptoes.com

Best of Chicago 2013

Best authentic German pub interior

Culture & Nightlife, Lincoln Square No Comments »

Hüettenbar
If you find yourself with a yen for a good ol’ fashioned German pub experience, there are plenty of options in the city. But entering the Lincoln Square neighborhood’s Hüettenbar is like walking into a cuckoo clock. Unfathomably meet-marketish and yuppie cliquey at times (when did traditional German culture become trendy?), their selection of German beers satisfies and the décor, while striving for authenticity with its exposed wood beams and faux Alpine lodge façade embedded into the storefront of the building, is a bizarre simulacra of the real thing. Belly up with a nice, fat mug of Spaten and muse at the contradictions.
4721 North Lincoln, (773)561-2507, huettenbar.com

Best of Chicago 2013

Best vintage-shop window display

Goods & Services, Lincoln Square No Comments »

A Secret Closet
Chicago is home to innumerable vintage clothing stores across the city, but none can beat the loving tenderness of the Lincoln Square neighborhood’s A Secret Closet. Piled high with costume jewelry, arrayed with any number of sunglasses, shoes and handbags, and two well-dressed mannequins, the proprietors of this little shop across from the Davis Theater in Lincoln Square change their window display daily. Without exception, every day. And every day it is decked out with amazing fifties- and sixties-era wares for sale at bargain basement prices, constantly drawing pause from pedestrians to admire the day’s selections. And you should, too.
4617 North Lincoln, (773) 293-2903, facebook.com/ASecretCloset

Best of Chicago 2013

Best toy store

Audience Choice, Goods & Services, Lincoln Square No Comments »

Timeless Toys
Why supply your kids with the usual fare from Toys “R” Us when you live in a city with the Lincoln Square neighborhood’s Timeless Toys? Open since 1993, in toy industry terms, Timeless offers a selection that is more “home cooking” than most other Chicago stores’ McDonald’s-variety approach, with a solid selection of educational and wooden toys, including staff picks from the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association selections. Cozy, welcoming, and constantly jam-packed full of kids of all ages, they occasionally have events scheduled such as game demos and face painting.
4749 North Lincoln, (773)334-4445, timelesstoyschicago.com

AUDIENCE CHOICE: Uncle Fun, 1338 West Belmont, (773)477-8223, unclefunchicago.com

Best of Chicago 2013

Best Philly cheesesteak

Food & Drink, Lincoln Square No Comments »

Monti’s Restaurant
Husband-and-wife team, chef James Gottwald and Jennifer Monti were longing for a bit of home when they opened Monti’s in Lincoln Square. The Philadelphia natives managed to combine the Chicago craft beer scene with Philly cheesesteaks in a casual bar atmosphere that’s both welcoming and gloriously filling. Their rolls are from Amoroso’s in Philly—adding an inimitable bit of authenticity to the sandwiches, while the local beer selection is impeccable, with an ever-changing chalkboard of options listing what’s currently available. And their cheesesteaks—from the incredibly spicy “The Rocky” (every time we’ve seen it ordered the waitress sternly warns the person about what they’re getting into) to the meatless “Where’s the Beef?” (hey, it’s Lincoln Square) to the truly incomparable South Side Johnny (mushrooms and horseradish cream sauce)—are all delicious and delivered with a mound of fries.

4757 North Talman, (773)942-6012, ilovemontis.com

Best of Chicago 2013

Best new tabletop RPG gaming shop

Goods & Services, Lincoln Square No Comments »

Wanderer’s Refuge
Out of date? out of style? Think again, my friend. Gary Gygax may be gone, but he has become more powerful than any of us could have possibly imagined. Desperately seeking a copy of “Firefly: The Game?” Running low on d12s? Among the current keepers of the flame there comes Aileen Bishop and Nick Huaman, owners of Lincoln Square’s all-inclusive gaming shop, Wanderer’s Refuge. With a selection of across-the-board gaming systems and daily hosted in-store gaming nights, the Refuge is a bastion of the nerdy enlightened.

4546 North Western, (773)661-4440, wanderersrefuge.com

Best of Chicago 2013

Best place to try the national food of the former Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic (now Kyrgyzstan)

Food & Drink, Lincoln Square No Comments »

Jibek Jolu
This is comfort food, an excellent choice for a cold winter Chicago day. Three main components of Kirghiz cuisine are milk, meat and baked goods, and most of the time all three are combined. Choose juicy and tender beef shashlik (similar to kebabs) or hearty manty (steamed dumplings), add a helping of hot kesme (a type of soup with beef and veggies), and you can easily imagine that you are thousands of miles away from the metropolis, in the middle of vast Kyrgyzstan, and are about to climb its highest mountain Jengish Chokusu (if you manage to eat all you have ordered, you just may have enough energy to do so).

Jibek Jolu, 5047 North Lincoln, (773)878-8494, fjibekjolu.us

Best of Chicago 2012