Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail, or The 606, as locals affectionately refer to it, celebrated its first birthday last month. This former rail line was transformed into a public park high above the city’s busy streets on the near west side. The trail runs east to west, connecting the
Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square and Humboldt Park neighborhoods. The nickname, 606, refers to the first three digits of the Chicago zip code.
While The Bloomingdale Trail offers residents and visitors a chance to relax, cycle, skate and run, it also serves as a way to reach some of Chicago’s best food and drink in that vibe-y part of town. Whether you are looking for a cup of coffee, a flavorful taco or a more formal meal, it is here that you can work up an appetite before hitting up my favorite picks for the best food and drink nearby.
Allow me to elaborate.
There is no need to drive to this trail. Do not pull out your hair or get filled with road rage looking for parking.
The CTA Blue Line is a convenient way to reach The 606. The best stations stops (‘L’ stops) for the Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods are at Division, Damen and Western.
If you are trying to reach Logan Square and Humboldt Park, take the CTA Blue LIne to the California and Logan Square ‘L’ stops.
Once you hit the streets, there are several access points along the trail:
Below are the 18 best food and drink options near The 606, according to neighborhood. Click on the name of the restaurant or shop for directions and more information.
Bloomingdale Trail – Wicker Park
Mana Food Bar – It’s great that a meat-heavy town like Chicago has some really delicious vegan/vegetarian restaurants. This tiny, Division St. spot has a gally layout. Sit at the bare-bones bar or one of the booths. I love the cold sesame noodles and Ma Po tofu here. Dishes are nicely spiced and ingredients are very fresh. The cocktails are pretty tasty, too.
Pub Royale – I love a traditional-style British pub. This one is focused on bringing us the type of Indian fare generally found in such pubs. The menu is inventive with really lovely dumplings, samosas, curries and more. Their beer menu has both traditional and non-traditional options. The potent cocktails, include a few takes on the traditional Pimm’s Cup which don’t suck either.
Antique Taco – This chabby-chic spot made my list of Chicago’s 11 Best Tacos. Just trust me when I say you need to get the garlic shrimp with cauliflower elote, escabeche, crispy kale and avocado-basil crema. Sooo lovely!
Jerry’s Cosmic Sandwiches – There is something for everyone here. Burgers, sliced meats, chicken, seafood and veggie options. I had a great blackened salmon sandwich here. Not in the mood for sandwiches? No problem. Jerry’s offers, soups, salads and appetizers. Full bar and occasional live bands make this place a party.
Furious Spoon – Chef Shin Thompson is the “ramen whisperer” who shipped a massive noodle machine over here from Osaka, Japan. His ramen is among the top 5 in Chicago. I love the signature “Furious Spoon” ramen with pork belly, poached egg, chicken, garlic relish and more. The bowls are mammoth and one of the very best deals in town.
Oiistar – Yeah, ramen is popping up all over Chicago. But, Oiistar is another place that made my top 5 list. Their broth has great depth of flavor, as well. While their straight noodles are made on-site, the wavy noodles and gluten-free noodles are sourced locally, off-site. They also make some really nice, savory buns and a yummy bao donut for dessert.
Trenchermen – Located around the corner from the Damen ‘L’ stop, along the CTA Blue Line, in a historic bathhouse, this hip spot is serving up American cuisine. There is an elegant main dining room but the Trenchermen Bar is where the cool kids hang. It’s a huge bar with great vibe and bartenders. Bonus! On Wednesdays, they offer a $10 Burger & Beer Special. The burger rotates weekly and is paired with different craft beers.
Craft Pizza – This cute joint has some of the best pizza in Chicago. A lot of care goes into creating the crust and the fresh ingredients are much appreciated by this born and raised New Yorker 😉 Get the “Devil in the White City” pie.
Bloomingdale Trail – Bucktown
Ipsento -This spot is more coffee shop than coffeehouse. It’s tiny but it’s always busy. There is a small nook in the back where you can take a load off. Or, choose one of the few window seats at the front of the shop. They are a local coffee roaster and their roasts are fantastic. Get the signature Ipsento Latte made with a blend of espresso, coconut milk, dairy milk (substitute almond or soy milk, if you prefer), honey and cayenne. Cafe sandwiches are available. Ipsento offers interesting coffee classes. 5 blocks north of the Western ‘L’ stop.
Bloomingdale Trail – Logan Square
Longman & Eagle – Located directly across the street from the Logan Square ‘L’ stop, along the CTA Blue line, this place has earned a Michelin-star for the last several years that it’s been open. Wow! Part Midwestern tavern, part overnight inn with 6 available rooms, Longman & Eagle has a top-notch beverage program with great bartenders. The food is really creative. I love their Outside Bar (OSB) where interesting, house made donuts are being churned out to hungry patrons on the weekends.
Osteria Langhe – This Italian restaurant is focused on serving up food from the Piedmont region. I love the warm, comforting cuisine of Northern Italy. It’s also home to some of the best wines. Don’t miss the scratch-made plin which are tiny, pillowy pasta which melt on your tongue. The brunch is delightful, too. Their “Trifecta Tuesday” meal deal ($30 for 3 courses of your own choosing) is highlight.
Paladar – If it’s Cuban fare you’re craving, I suggest you check out this family-owned gem which has a separate Rum Bar and live music. This place is decorated with photos, plates and other memorabilia from the owner’s home in Cuba. The ropa vieja and mojitos are delish! Great place for a celebration!
Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits – There are no happier words that pie and biscuits! This place is as cute as a button. There is a “pie garden” outside with picnic tables. Love it! Drop by for a hot mug of coffee and one of the ever-changing sweet and savory pie options. The lines are long on the weekends, so be prepared to wait and get to know the neighbors 😉 The friendly staff will bring you some tasty samples while you wait 🙂
Jam – This cute spot not only serves up fantastic breakfast and lunches 7 days a week, they open at 7am. Great news for you early risers. It’s a pretty, little spot with a pleasant outdoor patio in the warmer months. Bonus! Jam is located next to the Logan Square farmer’s market.
L’Patron – This family-owned taqueria is one of the best in Chicago. Each taco is made-to-order and wrapped individually to seal in the warmth. The house made salsas are kept refrigerated and presented to you when your meal is ready. I love that attention to detail!
Café Mustache I love this place! It’s not just for coffee. Fancy some global tea leaves? Midwestern artisanal spirits and microbrews? A cup of gumbo? This place has it all. Only vinyl records are spun here, while you hang out or get work done. A separate room hosts musical acts in the evenings. 1 block north of the California ‘L’ stop.
Bloomingdale Trail – Humboldt Park
Belly Shack – This Asian-Latin fusion spot is helmed by Chef Bill Kim who also owns Urban Belly and Belly Q in the West Loop. Chef Bill is offering up some tasty tacos, lettuce wraps and more. The menu items represent a mash up of his Korean heritage and the Puerto Rican heritage of his wife, Yvonne.
Belly Shack is indeed a shack. Nothing fancy to look at here. Simply great food. It’s the perfect spot to relax between errands, on your way to or from work or simply just because you find yourself hungry after some exercise on The Bloomingdale Trail.
I am a sucker for the Korean BBQ beef taco platter. “Platter” would normally indicate a huge amount of food but Chef Bill serves up a perfectly sized portion that is not too filling. The BBQ beef is seasoned very well. The Napa cabbage kimchi which rides shotgun is nice and spicy. The refried lentils are not too starchy and the dirty rice is really bright and citrusy. The platter comes with 4 small corn tortillas. I prefer corn to flour tortillas for a true taco experience. This is a really yummy joint!
Cup & Spoon – This coffeehouse with great natural light is serving up locally roasted beans in a truly cozy space filled with the work of local artists. Choose a table or a counter stool. Grab a bite to eat, chat with the neighbors, enjoy the free Wi-Fi. 10 short blocks south of the Western ‘L’ stop.
There you have them, folks! The 18 best places to eat near Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail. Get outside. Get active. Get eating.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Blue Line to Chicago’s best food and drink near The Bloomingdale Trail. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!
Do you have some favorite restaurants near Bloomingdale Trail? I would love to hear all about them. Leave a comment and we can discuss!