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Photo via Get Away Hostel

Visiting Chicago? If you’ve already been to the Bean, museums and Navy Pier, try something new and step off the beaten path and into one of the city’s 77 unique neighborhoods.

Each has one-of-a-kind places to shop, eat and explore. Need a little guidance? No problem.

This week’s spotlight: Ravenswood and Lincoln Square

 

Ravenswood Map

Summary: This quaint neighborhood sits north of Lakeview and west of Uptown along the Brown Line. What was originally founded as a place for real estate wheeling and dealing has transformed into a hub for food, shopping Damen Avenue and a great family area.

 

Food

 

Spacca Napoli | 1769 W. Sunnyside Ave.

True Neapolitan-style pizza in a true Italian style restaurant. Think thin crust and minimal, organic toppings. For appetizers, try the Fritti del Giorno, Burrata and the Caprese con Bufala. For pizza, opt for the Salsiccia, Capricciosa, Margherita or the Prosciutto e Rucola.

Spacca Napoli 4 Spacca Napoli 3 SpaccaNapoli

 

Gather | 4539 N. Lincoln Ave.

The open kitchen layout will leave you feeling right at home. Sit at the chef’s bar to watch the food prepared, a unique experience. Locals love the brussel sprouts, steak tartare, and the half chicken. Make sure to end the night with an apple fritter.

gather food gather 3

Nhu Lan | 2612 W. Lawrence Ave.

This Vietnamese bakery serves some of the best Banh Mi in Chicago. Get there early and grab a BBQ Pork Banh Mi before they run out. If not, the bubble tea and the lemongrass Banh Mi are a good second choice.

Nhu Lan Vi P.'s

Photo via Vi P.

Over Easy Cafe | 4943 N. Damen Ave.

From the Banana Split French toast to the Sassy Egg, this cute spot has something for both sweet and savory brunchers. Be prepared for a bit of a wait, but know that free coffee is served while you wait.

 Over Easy Cafe Janel L. Over easy cafe Sabrina R.

Photos via Sabrina R. and Janel L.

Monti’s | 4757 N. Talman Ave.

Craving a Philly cheesesteak? Monti’s offers fresh meats and bread. The Authentic Philly, South Side Johnny and The Rocky are favorites on the menu.

Monti's Monti's 2

 

The Grind Cafe Co. | 4613 N. Lincoln Ave.

Ditch the coffee chains and try this homey local shop. In addition to coffee, there’s vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food options.

The Grind 4 The Grind 2 The Grind

 

Bistro Campagne | 4518 N. Lincoln Ave.

A beautifully romantic French restaurant makes the perfect atmosphere for a night out. The Salade de Crab, Steak Frites and Poulet Foresteire and Creme Brulee are must-try items.

Bistro Campagne Brett S. Bistro Campagne 3

Photos via Aaron C. and Brett S.

Luella’s Southern Kitchen | 4609 N. Lincoln Ave.

Ya’ll, this food will make you as happy. Or, as they say up north… it’s dang good! The fried chicken with a side of collard greens is a must. Then come the hush puppies, roasted sweet potatoes, short rib mac and cheese and beignets.

Luellas Southern Kitchen 3 Luellas Southern Kitchen 2 Luellas Southern Kitchen 4

 

Sweets

 

Paciugo | 2324 W. Giddings St.  

Founder Cristiana Ginatta learned the art of gelato from her grandfather while growing up in Italy. After culinary school, she opened her first gelateria with tons of authentic Italian flavors. Stop in and taste the magic for yourself!

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Shopping

 

Hazel | 1902 W. Montrose Ave.

The offerings include hand-crafted jewelry to classic Chicago knick-knacks. Browse the variety of treasures and take something home for friends, family… or just yourself!

hazel 2 Hazel

Book Cellar | 4736 N. Lincoln Ave.

This is not your average bookstore. Come enjoy a best seller, a glass of wine and, if you are so inclined, join a room full of bookworms in good conversation. There’s also a cafe with small plates and bites.

The book cellar Crystal X. The book cellar Nari h.

Photos via Crystal X. and Nari H.


Merz Apothecary | 4716 N. Lincoln Ave.

With over 140 years of experience, Merz Apothecary has become a mecca for people seeking natural products for their bodies. From soaps and lotions, to men’s shaving cream and razors, the staff can help find what suits you. 

Mer Apothecary 3  Merz Apothecary 

Nightlife

 

Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen | 4750 N. Lincoln Ave.

With it’s popular rooftop patio, Gene’s pays homage to the classic beer gardens of Germany. The second floor is dedicated to unique beers and wines. Pick your favorite, or just enjoy a brew on and the view on the roof deck. (Cash only!)

Gene's 6 Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 2.47.00 PM

 

Koval Distillery | 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave.

Organic whiskey, liqueurs and specialty spirits are the pride of this locally owned and operated distillery. Locals recommend going on the $10 tour that offers info about the business as well as a few tastings. Stop in for unique flavors such as the Pear Brandy and Walnut Liqueur.

Koval 3 koval 4

 

Begyle Brewing Co. | 1800 W. Cuyler Ave.

A great local brewery! They offer $10 tours that include a 13-ounce tulip glass and samples. If you don’t want the tour, but still want a taste, opt for a flight of 5-ounce pours to find your brew. Plus, it is dog friendly!

Begyle brewery 2 begyle 3

Photos via Javier D. and Armand P.

*All photos credited to company website except when noted