Humboldt Park is one of my favorite Chicago neighborhoods. It is a little oasis on the west side of the city which has a rich Puerto Rican history, a stunning 207-acre park, and some fantastic restaurants, bars, and cafes. In fact, in the last couple of years, the food scene in Humboldt Park has exploded. Below are just a few of my suggestions for where
to eat in this very cool part of Chicago.
Pozoleria San Juan
What: There is no shortage of great Puerto Rican food in Humboldt Park, but Pozoleria San Juan stands out for traditional fare including the hearty pozole (hominy soup) which you can get in either red or green broth. I could eat this stunning bowl of wonderful in the 100-degree heat, but it hits the spot on a cold fall or winter day. Get it with pork, chicken, and chicharrones. Also, the tangy, slightly sweet salsa here is my favorite in Chicago.
Where: 1523 N. Pulaski Rd. Take the #72 North Avenue bus to Pulaski and walk one block south.
Humboldt Park Boathouse Cafe
What: The Humboldt Park Boathouse Cafe is Chicago’s answer to the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park in New York City. If you are looking for a peaceful breakfast, lunch or dinner with a beautiful view away from downtown Chicago, the Boathouse Cafe in Humboldt Park is where you should go. It dates back to 1907, and it has a lovely terrace. I promise that once you enter the park and step into this beautiful cafe, you will not want to budge. Order the delectable lechon (roasted pork) sandwich with a mojito and gaze out at the water. Before you realize, it will be cocktail time, and lunch can turn into dinner. Why not?
Where: Inside Humboldt Park on N. Sacramento Ave. Take the Blue Line to the California ‘L’ stop and transfer to the #52 Kedzie bus to 63rd St.
What: CC Ferns is an adorable, little coffee house in Humboldt Park and it also made my list of Chicago’s 30 Coolest Coffee Spots. What makes CC Ferns so unique is the tropical, retro atmosphere with, you guessed it, fern plants, comfy chairs and some repurposed decor. The coffee is strong, and you can top it off with some boozy steamers. Grab some Doughnut Vault doughnuts or one of the many cigars that are for sale, and you have a transportive experience. This place is great spot to hide out from the world and channel Ernest Hemingway. The team behind Au Cheval, one of Chicago’s best burgers, owns CC Ferns.
Where: 2806 N. Augusta Blvd. Take the Blue Line to the California ‘L’ stop and transfer to the #52 Kedzie bus toward 63rd St.
Cup & Spoon
What: This funky coffeehouse is located on the border of Humboldt Park in Chicago’s WOW District (West of Western Avenue). Cup & Spoon serves drinks using locally sourced coffee and pastries. They make their tasty sandwiches to order. I dig how this space showcases the work of local artists. If you are taking a bike ride along the 606 Bloomingdale Trail, Cup & Spoon is one of many great places to grab a bite and some coffee.
Where: 2415 W. North Avenue. Take the Blue Line to the Western ‘L’ stop and walk ten short blocks south.
What: This cool and breezy French cafe and wine bar is my new happy place in Humboldt Park. In typical French brasserie style, Cafe Marie-Jeanne is open all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The smoked meats and fish are true stand-outs here. Sample the excellent charcuterie, cheese boards and entrees. Bring your laptop and hunker down with some tasty food while you get some work done. The cocktails are strong and well-balanced.
Pro tip: $32 prix fixe dinner on Wednesday. $20 burger, beer and fries on Tuesday.
Where: 1001 N. California Ave. Take the Blue Line to the California ‘L’ stop and transfer to the #52 Kedzie bus toward 63rd St.
Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar
What: This Humboldt Park gastropub scored several accolades from Timeout, Chicago Magazine and Food & Wine Magazine for being one of the best wine bars in Chicago and the U.S. Rootstock’s creative menu focuses on local, organic ingredients, including hormone-free meat. Come for brunch and dinner. This place is popular!
Where: 954 N. California Ave. Take the Blue Line to the California ‘L’ stop and transfer to the #52 Kedzie bus toward 63rd St.
Spinning J Bakery & Soda Fountain
What: An old-fashioned bakery and ice-cream shop. Spinning J is a throw-back to soda and ice-cream fountains from long ago. Grab a booth or a stool at the counter and indulge in a sundae, an ice-cream soda or some pie. If you’re hungry for something more savory, try one of the vegetarian quiches and soups. Everything at Spinning J is divine. It is one of Chicago’s best bakeries.
Where: 1000 N. California Ave. Take the Blue Line to the California ‘L’ stop and transfer to the #52 Kedzie bus toward 63rd St.
You’re all set! Climb aboard Chicago’s ‘L’ and buses and take a ride over to the delicious restaurants and cafes in Humboldt Park.
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 wonderful food and drink locations in Chicago’s Humboldt Park. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!