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Best place to try the most popular Russian cake named after a French Emperor (Napoleon)

Food & Drink, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

Shokolad
One of the Russian legends says that this cake was invented in Moscow in 1912, during the celebration of the first 100 years since Napoleon’s expulsion from Russia, and that its original shape was triangular, like the emperor’s famous cocked hat. Since then the cake has changed its shape and is made now either rectangular or round, but it has not lost its magic powers over Russian souls. The best place to try this sweet, multilayered pastry laced with tender cream is at cafe Shokolad in Ukrainian village.

Shokolad, 2524 West Chicago, (773)276-6402, shokoladpastryandcafe.com

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Russian orthodox church designed by an American architect

City Life, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

Holy Trinity Cathedral by Louis Sullivan
The church was partially financed by the Russian tsar Nicholas II, and designed by the father of the skyscraper, Louis Sullivan. Its design, however, is as far from a skyscraper as it can be: it was inspired by small, onion-domed Russian provincial churches, and there is nothing imposing or overpowering about the building. It is worth seeing from the inside as well as from the outside: its inner space is decorated in traditional red and gold, the ceiling is blue and painted with golden stars. The icons and angels on the walls are mesmerizing. The cathedral is open for tours on Saturdays, from 10am until noon.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, 1121 North Leavitt, (773)486-6064, holytrinitycathedral.net

Best of Chicago 2012

Best ping-pong bar

Culture & Nightlife, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

Happy Village
Happy Village could have just as easily won a spot for best dive bar, but its two busy ping-pong tables spin it into a different class all together. Only the relic beer brands here pre-date this fun neighborhood spot, which opened in 1964. Weekly beer specials—Hamm’s ($2 on Fridays and Saturdays); Pabst ($2 on Sundays and Thursdays); and Old Style ($2.50 on Tuesdays)—are as close to 1960s prices as anywhere in Chicago. That’s enough to make any villager happy.

Happy Village, 1059 North Wolcott, (773)486-1512, happyvillagebar.com

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Amish market complete with walk-in refrigerator and fresh poultry

Goods & Services, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

Amish Healthy Foods

When all the farmer’s markets are done for the season but you’re still looking to support local, sustainable food—that doesn’t break the bank—this Amish market really hits the spot. In addition to a fairly wide selection of meat, including grass-fed beef, the market also offers fresh butter, milk and eggs from an Amish farm in Indiana. Sometimes they’ve even got double-yolk duck eggs in stock. Seasonal selections like fresh vegetables and cider round out the selection. It’s not organic, but doesn’t have the pretension or price tags of some places that are.

Amish Healthy Foods
1023 North Western
(773)278-1717
amishhealthyfoods.com

Best of Chicago 2011

Best emerging art gallery

Culture & Nightlife, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

Hinge Gallery

Holly Sabin opened Hinge in February, and the gallery’s roster of artists and exhibitions promises to support some of Chicago’s most deserving emerging artists.

Hinge Gallery
1955 West Chicago
(312)291-9313
hingegallery.com

Best of Chicago 2011

Best place to buy music (CD or vinyl)

Audience Choice, Goods & Services, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

Dusty Groove America

Walk into the door and you are trapped for two hours. Easily. Crate diggin’ at its finest. It’s a comic book store for beat fiends, vinyl junkies and urban music aficionados that #OCCUPYLADYGAGA.

Dusty Groove America
1120 North Ashland
(773)342-5800
dustygroove.com

Audience choice:
Reckless Records
26 East Madison, (312)795-0878
1532 North Milwaukee, (773)235-3727
3126 North Broadway, (773)404-5080
reckless.com

Best of Chicago 2011

Best rock club

Audience Choice, Culture & Nightlife, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

The Empty Bottle

Normally we aren’t a fan of facelifts (Bruce Jenner, anyone?) but in the case of Empty Bottle, the veteran venue’s brand spankin’ new floors and bathrooms fared well from a spit shine earlier this year that made the physical appearance match up to the beauty of their booking. In 2011, Empty Bottle Presents brought us Jane Birkin for chrissakes, plus Tortoise, the HoZac Blackout Fest, the Neon Marshmallow Fest, trivia nights and a Handmade Market. Next year we might just bring our sleeping bag and start camping out.

The Empty Bottle
1035 North Western
(773)276-3600
emptybottle.com

Audience choice:
Empty Bottle

Best of Chicago 2011

Best place for matched, and mismatched, juice and drinking glasses

Goods & Services, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

Seek Vintage

Mostly vintage, these eclectic drinking glasses are decorated with silvery starbursts, frosted in faded pastel or rimmed with gold trim. The glasses have style and panache, and are displayed in singles or pairs, or sets of six to eight. Step back into the fifties, mix up a frozen can of Birdseye orange juice, pour it into a retro glass and drink up.

Seek Vintage
1432 West Chicago
(312)526-3164
seekvintagechicago.com

Best of Chicago 2011

Best boxing gym for beginners

Category, Sports & Recreation, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

JABB
Amid 6,000 square feet of heavy bags, boxing rings and pugilists jumping rope and firing off bicycle crunches, bespectacled men shadow box next to welterweight contenders. David Diaz talks about his title fight with Manny Pacquiao while Kendall Gill cracks jokes with the house pros. Then, at 6pm, the Training Camp class begins and twenty or so students are put through the most thorough hour workout in any Chicago gym, period. From bag work to individual training, cardiovascular to strength training, JABB’s boot camp will whip any man or woman into incredible shape in a matter of days. All the trainers are former dedicated boxers and the class is delightfully split between men and women.

410 North Oakley
(312)733-5222
jabbboxing.com

Best of Chicago 2010

Best indie record store

Audience Choice, Goods & Services, Lakeview, Loop, Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park No Comments »

Permanent Records/Photo: Kristine Sherred

Permanent Records

In a classic Chicago storefront space, the size of an average apartment, Permanent Records is the young version of what you’d expect from mom-and-pop joints. Ever-friendly and well-informed Lance Barresi and Liz Tooley are exemplars of the think globally, act locally ethos: the biz plan of the big bad bricks-’n'-mortar stores has fallen, but the possibility of sweet, unpretentious local enterprise lives on. Vinyl! CDs! Newsletters! Podcasts! In-store appearances of bands you’d likely see drop into joints in the owners’ old stomping ground of Columbia, Missouri! Plus, of course, a cool cat calls it home.

1914 West Chicago
(773)278-1744
permanentrecordschicago.com

Audience choice:

Reckless Records

26 East Madison
(312)795-0878

1532 North Milwaukee
(773)235-3727

3126 North Broadway
(773)404-5080
reckless.com

Best of Chicago 2010