Old Town is a historic section of Chicago which should be on your “must-do” list. There is so much to entertain including the iconic The Second City improv theatre, Zanies comedy, Up Comedy Club and the annual Wells St. Art Festival. Therefore, you are going to need to
fuel up in this neighborhood with some great food and drink. Below are nine popular restaurants to check out in Old Town.
One of the newest darlings of the Old Town restaurant scene is The Vig. This sprawling, airy space has a pulsating vibe which is very popular with the young, hip crowd. The menu here is contemporary American with some healthy options, yummy comfort foods and a great beer menu. Brunch is available on weekends.
I was thrilled to find this Solemn Oath milk stout with caramel notes. It qualifies as dessert more than beer. Smooth!
Don’t forget to ask about the daily or weekly specials at The Vig. This lovely pork chop with chimichurri and sweet potato hash is on the menu until May 1st for James Beard week. I hope the chef finds a way to incorporate this chimichurri into some other menu items because it was the best I’ve had outside of Buenos Aires!
I love a good French bakery, and La Fournette is serving Old Town some great macaroons, quiche, pastries and French onion soup. This bakery has other locations in Chicago, and you can find their baked goods in coffee houses around the city.
La Fournette is a lovely spot for a quiet breakfast or lunch.
Chicago has some fabulous Italian restaurants and Dinotto’s is a fine choice in Old Town. This long time Italian spot is serving up classic dishes as well as some delicious specials. They are always crowded so make a reservation.
Buzz Bait Taqueria
Buzz Bait Taqueria made my list of Chicago’s Best Tacos with good reason. The menu focusses on seafood tacos. I love the salmon and cod tacos because they bring good flavor and heat.
Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien finally landed in Chicago after many, successful years in New York. The Old Town location is bright, and it has very welcoming staff. While you can stop into Le Pain Quotidien for some coffee and breakfast, I like coming here later in the afternoon for some quiche and their nicely constructed salads.
Woodie’s Flat is a cozy and often crowded spot in Old Town which is perfect for pizza, burgers and beer while watching the game of the week. It is a low-key joint with a sporty feel where you can nurse your hangover or start working on a new one. I enjoyed this shrimp salad on a cold winter morning.
Topo Gigio is an Italian-American restaurant which has been a favorite for 25 years among locals and visitors. You really cannot go wrong with their menu, although I am partial to the Spiedini Adriatica with shrimp scampi and sea scallops. The veal scallopini is worth having, too.
Old Town Social
Old Town Social is a great sports pub with cozy nooks off of the main bar and restaurant where you settle in for some more quiet conversation. I like coming here for brunch service on the weekends.
Old Town Ale House
Do not confuse this historic dive bar with Old Town Pour House on Wells St. Old Town Ale House on North Avenue has been serving Chicago’s Old Town since 1958! Roger Ebert, famed film critic, and The Second City alumni were regular fixtures here for decades. Old Town Ale Hous is cash only with an old man bar vibe. If you are looking to soak up some fabulous Chicago history without the seen-and-be-seen scene, this is a must-do stop on your next bar crawl.
These 9 popular restaurants and bars in Old Town are easily accessible via the CTA Brown Line. Get off at the Sedgwick ‘L’ stop and walk 1 block north to North Avenue and 3 blocks east to Wells St. Old Town Social is 3 blocks west of Sedgwick on North Avenue. Old Town Ale House is on North Avenue.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to get to these “9 Popular Restaurants in Old Town.” Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!