Tag Archives: andersonville

Andersonville #2 “coolest neighborhood in the world” – Chicago

Bit stunned to see the neighborhood we may move to in this article…but I did write a travel story about it in 2019 for the Minneapolis Star.

The 49 coolest neighbourhoods in the world
We polled 27,000 city-dwellers and asked local experts to rank the greatest places for food, fun, culture and community

Read in Time Out Worldwide: https://apple.news/ArShGeWW4TtGEnSbAUCufyQ

The city’s historic Swedish enclave (take note of the flag on the neighbourhood’s iconic water tower), Andersonville is now better known for its LGBTQ+ nightlife and the bars and restaurants that line the Clark Street corridor. Over the past year, the area has bounced back in a big way, welcoming new bars (Nobody’s Darling, the Bird Cage) and restaurants (Parson’s Chicken & Fish), while events like the Taste of Andersonville have done a top job of showcasing beloved local institutions. The district has always been a desirable place to live, but its proximity to beaches and coastal parks has only made it more appealing during the pandemic. Andersonville is also a community that’s looking forward, launching initiatives like Clark Street Composts – a pilot programme that could serve as a model for eco-friendly composting throughout Chicago.

The perfect day: Start off with coffee and pastries from Scandi-inspired bakery Lost Larson, before checking out the vintage knick-knacks at Woolly Mammoth or feminist literature at Women & Children First. Next, stroll along the picturesque Foster Beach, then snag a table at Hopleaf and enjoy mussels and Belgian beer. Round off your day with a drag show at the Bird Cage or a surreal performance of the Neo-Futurists’ Infinite Wrench.

Plan your trip: For Andersonville Midsommarfest, an annual street festival (June 10-12 2022) that serves as a celebration of the area’s Swedish heritage, local businesses and LGBTQ+ culture.

🗺 Take a look at our Andersonville neighbourhood guide

🏠 Discover more great neighbourhoods in Chicago

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My story in Minneapolis Star Trib on Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood

Here’s my story on Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood with major assist from my kids. Click on the link to see who got the much-deserved credit for the photos in the story (which are not the photos below. )


Emma at Hopleaf

MARCH 29, 2019 — 9:16AM

The Andersonville neighborhood offers a buffet of delights, Swedish and otherwise.

By Betsy Rubiner Special to the Star Tribune

Glögg goes down easy on a cold winter night in Chicago, as I learned recently when my son-in-law insisted I visit the venerable Simon’s Tavern to get a full-bodied taste of the city’s North Side neighborhood of Andersonville (andersonville.org).

With a sweetness that masks its punch, the traditional Swedish mulled wine is a Simon’s mainstay (served warm in the winter and cold in the summer, as a “glögg slushie”) and a robust reminder of Andersonville’s past, when mid-19th-century Swedish immigrants settled in what was then the boondocks north of Chicago.

Other signs of Swedish-ness endure — the most obvious being a water tower replica painted blue and yellow to resemble a massive Swedish flag, perched above a former hardware store housing a Swedish American Museum. Nearby is Svea, a Swedish cafe opened in 1924, serving meatballs, pancakes and a chicken sandwich named after Pippi Longstocking; and, of course, Simon’s, opened in 1934, with its landmark neon sign of a blue and yellow fish holding a cocktail, a nod to another Swedish delicacy, pickled herring.

But as the neighborhood’s Middle Eastern bakery, feminist bookstore, high-end art supply shop and other independently owned galleries and vintage/antique stores make clear, Andersonville offers a smorgasbord of stuff, Swedish and not. During frequent visits, I usually discover yet another enticing shop or restaurant, often with help from enthusiastic transplants — my young adult kids who have found relatively affordable housing in Andersonville and the surrounding Edgewater area.

Shopping standouts

Lined with low-rise, turn-of-the-20th-century brick buildings, some clad in creamy decorative terra cotta, Andersonville’s main commercial drag — a roughly milelong stretch of N. Clark Street — retains an endearingly small-town feel that sets it apart from the big city, making it ideal for wandering and people-watching.

My favorite shops, mostly concentrated in the eight blocks south of Rascher Avenue, tend to have a distinct sensibility, environment and mood. At the self-described feminist bookstore Women & Children First, which caters to Andersonville’s sizable LBGTQ community as well as women and children, it’s always interesting to see which books are prominently displayed, with helpful staff reviews, and I often discover unknown gems (womenandchildrenfirst.com).

Also carefully curated is Martha Mae Art Supplies & Beautiful Things. Owned by a young Art Institute of Chicago alumna, the small, light and airy shop sells a remarkable assortment of elegant utilitarian objects — from Swiss fountain pens, French stationery and Japanese papers to brass staplers and wrought iron scissors — impeccably arranged in uncluttered displays near the occasional contemporary painting and taxidermied animal (marthamae.info).

In contrast, the dense collection of vintage decor at Brimfield — heavy wool blankets, plaid thermoses, college pennants, wood tennis racquets, tweed sportcoats, flannel shirts, wicker picnic baskets, darts and scouting patches — feels like the set of a Wes Anderson movie (brimfieldus.com). Visiting the tiny vintage clothing store Tilly, packed with gowns and costume jewelry, is like stepping into the closet of a glamorous starlet from decades past (1-773-744-9566).

At the midcentury furniture store Scout, the vibe is hip retro urban (1-773-275-5700), while the eccentric offerings at the shop/gallery Transistorinclude lamps made from old rotary telephones, slide projectors and desk fans (transistor­chicago.com).

Dining and drinking

A colorful history and atmospherics are a big part of the charm at Simon’s, opened by a Swedish immigrant who ran a speakeasy in the basement and a bulletproof mini-bank in what now looks like an abandoned broom closet in the bar.

Warm and welcoming, the neighborhood tavern’s dim, tunnellike space includes the original 60-foot-long mahogany bar with a ship etched into the glass, across from a long 1956 mural titled “The Deer Hunter’s Ball,” its canvas buckled with age. Nursing our glögg, served in a glass mug with a thin Swedish ginger snap, or pepparkakor, we could clearly see the mural’s deer in the wild and murkier scenes of people partying (1-773-878-0894).

A block south, Hopleaf Bar offers an extensive beer selection (craft, draft, bottles) and upscale Belgian-inspired pub grub, from mussels steamed in a Belgian beer broth to a Wisconsin smoked ham sandwich on dark pumpernickel bread with Gruyère and coleslaw. The pomme frites are delicious. Even better are the thin and crisp onion rings, served in a large mound.

We like eating at a wood table in the comfortable back dining room, which has old tin beer advertisements hanging on exposed brick walls, a wood-burning stove and windows overlooking a backyard patio. One heads up: no kids — or anyone under 21 — allowed. This is a bar, even though the backroom feels like a restaurant (hopleafbar.com).

Specializing in “heirloom Southern cooking,” Big Jones(bigjoneschicago.com) produces delicious crispy-not-greasy fried chicken, cooking it in lard seasoned with bacon grease. Its traditional Cajun-style gumbo is made with a proper roux. Need I say more?

At Lost Larson, a stylish Swedish bakery that opened last year, the traditional pastry cardamom buns, or kardemummabullar, taste pretty darned close to those we ate last year in Stockholm during many a fika, the Swedish coffee-and-cake break. But, psst, the cinnamon roll and monkey bread are pretty great, too (lostlar­son.com).

Next visit, I hope to try one of Lost Larson’s open-faced sandwiches, served on heavy Swedish rye, flavored with fennel, anise and orange peel. I also want to eat at Passerotto (passerottochicago.com), one of last year’s hot new Chicago openings, serving “fun Korean” dishes with “minor” Central Italian touches. Its cavatelli with nori butter landed on Time Out Chicago’s 2018 “Best Dishes and Drinks” list.

Before leaving Andersonville, I often stop at the Middle East Bakery & Grocery to order a shawafel wrap (a chicken shawarma/falafel mashup) to go at the counter and load up on hummus, tabbouleh, baba ganoush and cushiony barbari flatbread for the drive home (middleeastbakeryandgrocery.com).

Des Moines-based writer Betsy Rubiner (betsyrubiner.wordpress.com) writes the blog Take Betsy With You.


Swedish goodies at Lost Larson


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Furama Dim Sum, Lickety Split, Big Jones, Foursided: hanging out in Chicago ‘s Andersonville/Edgewater

Edgewater living

Edgewater living

Great day exploring the Edgewater/Andersonville neighborhood surrounding our “kids” great new digs in Chicago.image THey bought a lovely condo in  100 year old brick building on a leafy street with a great deck in the back overlooking neighbors gardens and old housetops.


Lickety split

Feels like an oasis from urban life but smack dab of n the big city too. We had good dim sum at old time place, Furama (get the crispy, fried stuff more than the gooey boiled stuff), frozen custard at Lickety Split, also on Broadway, and incredibly crispy but not greasy fried chicken at Big jones, which does lots of other southern staples. bought some cards and paper goods at Foursided. PErfect day.

Dim sum anyone

Dim sum anyone

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Nothing wrong with brunch – especially at M. Henry in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood

I was surprised and irritated by the silly anti-brunch diatribe in yesterday’s NYTimes Brunch is for Jerks which I read a day after having an excellent brunch at M. Henry, a cheerful restaurant in Chicago’s Andersonville. Talk about a first world issue. (It was the writer who sounded like a jerk.)

There were a few people waiting outside M.Henry when we arrived around 1:30 p.m. (after long drive from Iowa to Andersonville to see our son’s new apartment there) but we were whisked off to a table in a few minutes. The brunch (or was it lunch?) menu had lots of good-sounding egg and starch (french toast, waffles) options. N. and I had a delicious fried-egg sandwich (eggs, bacon, gorgonzola on crispy country-style bread served with perfectly roasted and seasoned — and hot —  potatoes); D had an interesting Mexican egg dish with bean cakes and R. had a vegan stir-fry. The place was packed but plenty of elbow-room in a cheerfully decorated space and good service. We’ll return – NYTimes diatribe notwithstanding.


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Lady Gregory’s in Andersonville; Andy’s Thai Kitchen (again); Santorini in greektown: Chicago

we were not really hungry when we went to lady Gregory’s Pub and grille in Chicago’s Andersonville on Friday night but that is part of the reason I made a reservation there? We would be coming from a college reception At Northwestern where I wasn’t sure whether we would be fed. Turns out we were  – open bar, tons of appetizers and desserts. Lady Gregory’s had a the kind of menu where you could eat a lot or a little for not much. So I split a salad with rotisserie chicken with another diner; others had serviceable burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches and what looked like good tomato soup. we had an excellent very peppy waitress who took our shared dessert off our tab when she learned we were celebrating my sons college graduation.

The next night we went to an old favorite in Greektown, Santorini. food is fine but mostly drawn there because there were 20 of us and I knew they could handle that. A rather assertive veteran waiter did indeed! And everyone was happy with thei meals… Greek chicken, taramasalata, Greek salad, lamb kebabs et. Al. Also another trip to Andy’s Thai Kitchen which has become a tradition. Food still great. JUst wish they took credit cards.

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Fest in Andersonville

We weren’t thrilled to discover there was a festival going on in the Chicago neighborhood of Andersonville today but we braved the crowds and visited some fun shops (Transitor, FourSquare) and got to watch some fun male line dancers dressed in red and white checked shirts, blue jeans, and cowboy hats. Later we had dinner at an old favorite that remains as good as ever – Francesca’s on Taylor, an Italian restaurant. My brother and sister-in-law had a biz dinner tonight at Sepia, which I’ve been to twice in the past and enjoyed.

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Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood

Flattering story about Andersonville in the Chicago Tribune today http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/ct-ott-1203-neighborhood-watch-anders20101203,0,1959260.story…makes it truly seem like a small but not stifling town within a big city! Better yet,  Andersonville seems to have managed to produce a nice, not-always-easy mix of old-timers with their Swedish traditions and newcomers selling hip cutting-edge design, furniture and artwork….

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Andersonville at last – Chicago

Finally made it to Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood last night- unexpectedly. The restaurant my sister had booked for a family gathering was there – didn’t realize this until we were trying to figure out what neighborhood we were in and lo  and behold, there were Andersonville signs on the lampposts. The restaurant was good – anteprima. My cousin S’s entree was my favorite  – the carbonara with wonderfully crisp, crunchy, salty bacon. Ymmm. Also very good was the chocolate mouse type dessert. Nice ambiance – rustic, low-key, lots of gay couples. Reasonable prices.

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Chicago’s Andersonville

Andersonville has been on my to-visit list for some time and now comes another nudge from the NYTimes Travel section which featured this Chicago neighborhood in its recent Surfacing column – so now I must get there. Highlights include Scout (a high-end flea market of sorts, 5221 North Clark); in fine spirits (wine shop/small plates wine bar, 5418 North Clark); Anteprima (a rustic Italian restaurant, 5316 North Clark); Transistor ( an art gallery/music store/book shop/performance space, 5045 – you guessed it – North Clark).

Clearly it’s all happening on North Clark.

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