Outdoor alternatives to the Purple Pig | Alfresco 2011

Where to go when you can’t snag a seat on this off-Michigan-Avenue patio.

1/5

Al fresco diners at Bucktown's Duchamp located on Armitage at Hoyne. Photographed by Nolan Wells for TOC on 8.15.08.

2/5

3/5
Photograph: Dave Rentauskas

4/5
MBA

5/5
Photograph: Max Herman

Vincent

You want swine
Vincent
(1475 W Balmoral Ave, 773-334-7168)
Go whole hog with the suckling pig (offered on a rotating specials list), topped with fried pork belly. The shady patio on Balmoral is tucked away from traffic, but the pizza seekers spilling out of Great Lake next door make the scene spirited.

The Publican (837 W Fulton Mkt, 312-733-9555)
People-watch (white-jacketed meatpackers by day, diners headed down the block to Next by night) on awning-draped sidewalk seating at this West Loop hot spot.
Try these Publican piggy dishes: spicy pork rinds, a paper cone piled with greaseless and crunchy fried pig skin ($5); charcuterie plate, where pork pie (pastry filled with chopped pork and pork jelly) and headcheese come together on a swine-shaped cutting board ($24); and pork pastrami sandwich, the nonkosher version of your deli favorite, topped with a fried egg ($15, brunch only).

You want wine
Trattoria Isabella
(217 N Jefferson St, 312-207-1900)
One of the West Loop’s least-buzzed-about patios is one of its nicest: twinkly white lights and its own bar for easy access to a mostly Italian wine list.

Volo (2008 W Roscoe St, 773-348-4600)
The oasis behind this Roscoe Village restaurant mixes Miami and Napa, teaming a weathered barn with cabanas. But the wine list is all serious vineyard, from Willamette Valley pinot noirs to Loire Valley Chinons.

Duchamp (2118 N Damen Ave, 773-235-6434)
Duchamp’s 75-seat, wood-lined deck offers the kind of undaunting vino list we love: just 16 wines by the glass, all known by servers. Unique picks include an ’08 mencía (think red, dry and cherry) from Bierzo, Spain.

You want to stay near the Loop
Trattoria Isabella
(217 N Jefferson St, 312-207-1900)
One of the West Loop’s least-buzzed-about patios is one of its nicest: twinkly white lights and its own bar for easy access to a mostly Italian wine list.

You want creative use of veggies
Mana Food Bar
(1742 W Division St, 773-342-1742)
Maki takes on the form of raw veggies wrapped in collard greens; brown rice and mushrooms form slider patties that trounce Gardenburger. Enjoy it all on a streetside patio.

You want crushworthy chefs
The Southern
(1840 W North Ave, 773-342-1840)
The Purple Pig has bandana-clad 26-year-old Jimmy Bannos Jr.; the Southern has 31-year-old (married) chef Cary Taylor. If his Georgia accent doesn’t win you over, the fireplace on the cozy front veranda will.

The Frontier (1072 N Milwaukee Ave, 773-772-4322)
Who needs the beauty of the long-and-lean 2,500-square-foot beer garden (opening Friday 27) when you can sneak a peek at the sexy dreads and easygoing smile on 29-year-old chef Brian Jupiter?

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