Best Roscoe Village restaurants
Packaging timeless diner fare in the kitsch of the seventies helps this candy-colored eatery draw large crowds. Rays of retro sunshine pour from the flower power interior: Bright-orange Formica tables sit on linoleum floors, and the yellow walls are dotted with memorabilia from Me Decade stars like Gumby and David Cassidy. The menu playfully follows suit with items such as “Green Eggs and Ham” (spinach pesto, scallions, smoked ham, Texas toast and hash browns).
The second location of the late night hot dog and fried shrimp joint is a little glitzier (televisions, seats), but the most important difference is that it also offers burgers, thin, griddled patties with perfectly melted cheese, LTO and special sauce. The Depression Dogs are just as good as at the original, and fried shrimp dunked in spicy cocktail sauce is just what you'll want to eat after a night of drinking.
We can’t rave enough about this stylish Turkish spot. We wolf down the manti (Turkish ravioli stuffed with bits of lamb in a creamy yogurt–and–chili oil sauce), whole slabs of juicy, salt-crusted bream and some of the best hummus around. Savvy regulars skip the filling entrées to fuel up on apps and sides like fried zucchini pancakes with yogurt dip and char-grilled calamari with diced tomatoes and garlic. Couple these dishes with homemade sesame bread, and you’ll have enough pocket change for a cup of Turkish tea.
Walk into Scooter’s and disregard the hot dogs, Italian ice and anything else that doesn’t contain the words frozen and custard. Order a Boston shake, and quiver in awe as the towering milkshake topped with hot fudge and whipped cream is handed over. As you taste how dense, thick, buttery and rich the custard is, you’ll soon be on your way to a full stomach and an ice-cream headache. And it’ll be worth it.
Baking since 1922, this popular German bakery reliably turns out cinnamon-raisin stollen, German chocolate and butter cookies and its signature “sip’n whisky cake,” a moist Bundt cake made with sour mash whiskey. The real draw, though, is the strudel, which comes in several varieties, such as praline-pecan, cherry-cheese and poppy seed.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the fresh toppings, including meaty chunks of mild sausage and fresh vegetables that are crisp and crunchy when you bite into them. But it’s really the sauce—full of fresh tomato flavor, speckled with oregano, basil and the faintest hint of red pepper—that’s made this pizzeria an institution. Both the deep-dish and the (not very thin) thin-crust resist sogginess after a night in the fridge, making them the breakfast of champions.
There’s an interesting distraction during the wait for a table at this sunny vegetarian brunch spot: A TV often shows the late Indian guru Sri Chinmoy (whose teachings the VB staff follows) lifting heavy things—a crew of firemen, a helicopter, a baby elephant. Impressive, but we’re bigger believers in the two-inch-thick French toast slathered in peach butter and maple syrup, or the pesto-laden free-range scrambled eggs in the Satisfaction Promise, which comes with crispy potatoes and crusty bread. A side of fakin’ bacon and a double-shot latte and you’re off to a cruelty-free start to your day.
This gastropub serves up a variety of pub snacks like fried pickles and rotating flavors of popcorn and "cracklin" which can be washed down with house cocktails, draft cocktails and beer. But the star of the menu is the burger, which you truly can't set down, for a few reasons: It's on a biscuit, making any chance of reassembly nearly impossible. Topped with Merkts cheese, two fried onion rings, red onions, caramelized onions and pickles, it's a mouthful, but it's also the ultimate comfort burger.
Owner Jon Young of Kitsch’n on Roscoe and Kitsch’n River North has teamed up with chef Stephen Dunne (formerly mk’s chef de cuisine) at this small-plates wine bar. Dunne’s best dishes are the rich ones, like his intense duck confit leg with truffled white beans. Luckily the eclectic wine list is well thought-out and stocked with plenty of food-friendly quaffs to cut through it all.
The Roscoe Village spin-off of the wildly popular Lincoln Park original, John’s Place dishes up a similar polyglot mix of comfort-food basics: hummus and veggies, carne asada with chorizo rice, fried cheese curds. Desserts like a gooey toffee blondie and warm, solicitous servers go a long way. Note to stroller-pushers: Your dominance of this territory means no stink-eye from romancing tables of two.