Here in Chicago, the West Loop is known to be the place to be if you’re a creative, an artist, or a foodie. As a matter of fact, so many of Chicago’s top restaurants are located in the neighborhood, from Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat to the burger Mecca Au Cheval. What most Chicagoans don’t know is that the West loop offers amazing food beyond Randolph Street. Here’s a list of a few hidden gems in the neighborhood you will have to check out – unless you don’t want to break your typical-restaurants-on-Randolph routine.
Being a block away from the giant Au Cheval doesn’t scare Grange Hall Burger Bar: their dishes – burgers included – show that their personality is very different from their neighbors’ but just as flavorful. If you don’t know what a diet even is, we suggest you try the Buffalo Fries Basket and the Ultimate Burger. They also serve brunch on the weekend and it’s absolutely amazing.
You may be familiar with Bar Siena, the casual Italian bar and restaurant located right on Randolph Street, but did you know that they have a walk-up window that serves all day ice cream, coffee and bomboloni? The latter are basically doughnuts filled with chocolate, vanilla custard, jelly and more seasonal flavors that the team at Bombobar comes up with.
#SpoonTip: Check their Instagram often if you want to be the first to know about their new seasonal flavors. I bookmarked it on my laptop and it’s been one of the greatest ideas I’ve ever had.
3. La Sardine
If you have a few bucks to spend, first of all, take me out to dinner. Second, take me to La Sardine. This gracious French restaurant serves the finest seafood including a fantastic Bouillabaisse that I still have dreams about. If you’re going for something more familiar, their Soup À l’mignon Gratinée is an evergreen dish that will beat every onion soup you’ve ever had before. Their menu changes often, but hopefully their mini-madeleines make the cut every time because they’re absolutely delicious.
This Italian restaurant and pizzeria on Lake Street will steal your heart from the moment you walk in. Their name literally means “Slaughterhouse” but the term is used in the Italian language to indicate a friendly chaos. A friendly atmosphere is definitely this venue’s secret weapon: the décor, the wall art and the staff will entertain you as you sip from a glass of red wine and munch on a Pizza Molese or taste their Orecchiette Cime di Rape. Their patio is also a perfect first date spot during the summer.
Third Rail Tavern is the prime example of a West Loop hidden gem. Who knew there’s a tiny sports bar on Madison Street that serves a selection of over 90 different whiskeys? If you’re not into hard liquor, you can still visit them on #ThirstyThursday and munch on their $3 burgers: they’ll have the perfect beer to pair your dish with.
Located right in front of Soho House, Sawada Coffee could be classified as a total Wicker Park spot moved into a West Loop setting. Its artsy interiors make it a hipster magnet, but their food and coffee are what will make you stay after you’ve snapped that Instagram picture of your latte.
#SpoonTip: Rumor has it their Military Latte is to die for (and by “rumor has it” I mean that I overheard two girls talking about it in front of the Soho House).