We all know
Café Tola (2489 N Milwaukee Ave.)
For most residents, Café Tola is not a new name. The empanada chain has been serving up their signature empanadas at their ever-growing number of locations. The Salamancas, the family behind the beloved empanada spot, recently opened up in Logan Square in the former SmallFry location. The fourth location recently opened at the tail end of October,already serving up countless orders of breakfast tacos, tortas, and other Hispanic treats.
Writer’s Recommendation: Literally any of their empanadas. You’re welcome.
Pan Artesanal Bakery (3724 W Fullerton Ave.)
Traditional Mexican baked goods collide with French pastries at this fusion bakery. Owners (and sisters) Lizette and Marisol Espinoza are up at the crack of dawn each morning preparing baked goods. Mexican traditions are on display with Mexican corncakes or
The two distinct cuisines collide with unique options like cactus scones or chorizo croissant sandwiches. Pan Artesanal also offer tres leches iced coffees or espresso to pair with their flaky, doughy treats. The new addition to the neighborhood as of September is refreshing, considering La Panaderia Central shuttered its doors earlier this year after being a long-time mainstay for fresh pastries.
Writer’s Recommendation: A loaf of warm cheese bread is perfect for a rainy day, but honestly just give me a cactus scone and a cup of their Mexican coffee and I’m a happy boy.
Big and Little’s (3000 W. Fullerton Ave.)
Like Café Tola, Big and Little’s shouldn’t be an unfamiliar name to Chicagoans. The fast-casual spot has been rapidly expanding over the past few years, serving up everything from burgers and soft shell crab sandwiches to poke tacos and deep-fried grilled cheese sandwiches.
While every spot offers plenty of comforting entrees, Logan Square will be treated with a unique location. The Fullerton restaurant will feature an outdoor patio (complete with a fire pit), garage doors separating the patio and dining, room and multiple TVs to catch every game. Beyond just the space, this location will feature table service (a first for the chain) and a bar with cocktails and other unique menu items. The new location isn’t open yet but is slated for an early December opening (just maybe don’t use the patio feature in this weather).
Writer Recommendation: If their menu is anything like the other locations, get the soft shell crab sandwich or the Zeus burger. But at the end of the day, if you’re stumbling around late on a Friday night, literally anything on their menu will fix you right up.
Landbirds (2532 N. California Ave.)
Eddie Lee grew up loving traditional Asian-style chicken wings, and at his new restaurant, Landbirds, he pours that obsession into his menu.
Writer’s Recommendation: Just go see the magic for yourself. I can’t stress to you enough how good these wings are. Their equal parts crispy and juicy (one of the hardest balances to strike with wings) and the medium sauce adds just the right level of kick at the end. The honey butter chips are a nice touch of sweetness to go with each meal. Eddie is a cool guy too, letting customers snack on a wing before their orders are ready. Seriously, go here.
Drinkshop (2513 W. Armitage Ave.)
With hybrid businesses becoming all the rage, Logan Square will get its very own in the near future. From the owners of BeerShop in Oak Park, Drinkshop will specialize in craft beer, wine, and spirits, and act as part bar/part bottle shop. Details on this project are
Writer’s Recommendation: If they have bourbon or a solid red ale for the winter, you’ll probably find me here.
Three Wheel Noodles (2339 N Milwaukee Ave.)
As the sister restaurant of Trike Noodle, Three Wheel Noodles specializes in Thai noodles, particularly stir fries and noodle soups. Tom Kannaty, owner of Nor Sushi and Trike Noodle, set up a uniquely casual sit down spot to dig in to warm bowls of nourishing noodles, including classic drunken noodles or khao soi, a northern Thai dish with distinct flavors of curry and coconut milk. Other specialties like crab rangoon or crispy Thai-style wings serve as worthy appetizers.
The restaurant opened Sept. 20 but is currently undergoing renovation until Dec. 9. It will reopen again Dec. 12, according to a sign on its door.
Writer’s Recommendation: Much to my disappointment after reading several reviews, they were closed for renovation. However, you can bet that as soon they open, there will be a bowl of khao soi in front of me to warm my body and soul during these dreary winter months.