My very pregnant wife and I moved to Logan Square this April. I was so excited. Many of the city’s most interesting taverns, restaurants and performing arts venues pepper the Square. I just hoped it would be a great place for kids too. Maybe in a few years? By then, our first child would be starting school. The neighborhood would still be growing, and it could become a fun place to be a kid. Since the move and the birth of our daughter, I have enjoyed a happy revelation.
Logan Square is a wonderful place for kids right now. I’ll share some examples from our brief time in the neighborhood.
It was time for our first dinner out with the new baby. We chose Dunlay’s on the Square (3137 W. Logan Blvd.). We chose wisely. It was Friday around 5:30 (because that’s when you go out with your infant to get your Baby Hour on). And let me tell you—nobody throws a Baby Hour like Dunlay’s. It’s not an official promotion, but on Fridays, 4:30-6:30, that place becomes the lovechild of Revolution Brewing and Chuck E. Cheese. Where else can you toss back a couple Rampant Ales, get very good food (served quickly), in an environment packed with parents and little ones, and no attitude from the sweet staff or single patrons? It’s Dunlay’s, and I am happy to say, it’s not just Dunlay’s.
We live right across the street from Parson’s Chicken and Fish (@ParsonsCHI, 2952 W. Armitage Ave.). It’s one of the coolest and most talked about places in town right now. If I were young and single, it’s where I would want to be. I didn’t want to be a buzzkill. With that stage set, I was a tad reluctant to roll in with my seven-week-old baby. I expected—even felt I may deserve—sides of snark and irony with my fried chicken. I shouldn’t have worried, and shame on me for my assumptions.
The staff gushed and cooed over our girl. They were glad we brought her, and made us feel very much at home. Lesson learned. How refreshing. I won’t name names, but there is a certain outdoor taco joint just a few neighborhoods a la derecha that would just as soon throw up in their collective mouths than make parents of a baby feel cool. But Logan Square is different.
Logan Square’s famed boulevards and parks are truly unique. The Farmers Market on Logan Boulevard (@LSFarmersMarket) has been no stranger to positive publicity, but my high expectations were surpassed. It’s so old school, yet progressive. Your diverse neighbors, gathering in a town square, under the shadow of the town monument, selecting the week’s organic groceries. It’s an eclectic, Rockwellian good time that parents should weave into their schedules.
Palmer Park is perfect and picturesque for a stroll. There are some climbing structures and slides, but like the neighborhood’s general aesthetic, even the playthings are simple and understated. The kids section, like most of the kids themselves, interacts quietly and naturally with the rest of the park. It’s well shaded, safe and relaxing.
Of course, all of that got turned on its ear when Palmer Park became host to something as extravagant as the Tour de Fat festival, covered extensively by LoganSquarist. Tour de Fat was a colorful, over-the-top, brash, robust, hilarious event. And totally fine for my two-month-old.
A picture is worth a thousand words. A photo I got of Reggie Watts holding my baby girl at Tour de Fat summarizes how I feel about being a new dad in Logan Square. Very welcoming, extremely interesting, kind of stinky and downright lucky.
Editor’s note: This version corrects a previous error in the phrase “a la derecha.”