Where to eat in Edgewater
This collaboration between Co-op Sauce and Crumb Chicago has all the makings of a packed brunch spot: the addictive breakfast sandwiches (spicy sausage cooled by a craveable feta sauce), the flaky scones, the carefully sourced coffee and the absolutely adorable space. While there are some seats, there's not nearly enough to hold the crowds that flock to the spot on weekend—get there early if you want to chow down.
Whether you're feeling homesick, had a rough day or are even remotely hungry, really, what's better than Southern style comfort food? Pearl's serves up New Orleans cuisine, the kind of food that can turn any frown upside down. Think: barbecue, Cajun & Creole spices, blackened catfish, cornbread, collard greens. Yes, please.
The former M. Henrietta gets a sleek rustic-industrial look that's heavy on the mood lighting and only slightly marred by the hokey artwork that commands you to "Swap stories over shared plates" and to "Spark something new over spirited cocktails." After several visits, we have yet to find an outstanding cocktail from the thoughtful list (all have been just okay), or consistent service. But if you stick to wine, beer and hearty dishes like the tender coffee-rubbed pork tenderloin or the ridiculously good and sugary monkey bread (only available at brunch)—and you have a lot of time to wait out the pokey service—you'll be just fine.
This Ethiopian choice stands out for consistency and punchy flavors. The ground beef in the sambusa is livened with peppers, making the timid potato-and-carrot variety pale in comparison. Vegetables shine in the entrées, particularly in the two types of split peas: the rich yet tame alicha and the spicy wat, both stewed to melt-in-your-mouth perfection and served with injera bread. Fat and bones abound, but don’t let that stop you from gnawing on the kay wat, beef cubes simmered in the “diamond sauce,” a gingery, cumin-laced red sauce with a nice chili kick.
Having sold their namesake cookies and carnitas at the Green City Market for years, the owners of this unassuming Edgewater storefront garnered instant cred and high expectations. In addition to pork and baked goods, you'll find dishes like the crispy portobello taco, with a delicately fried portobello laden with chihuahua and cotija cheeses, smoky beans, crema, and a nice pineapple salsa. If you need something sweet, try the Cowboy Cookie—a salty, chocolately revelation.
What’s not to like about this Andersonville trattoria? It’s cute, it’s bustling, service is helpful, and the food borders between good and great. Year-round don’t-miss items include the tender, lemon-kissed grilled octopus; the salumi plate; and the value-packed antipasti platter. Like any good trattoria, Anteprima rotates much of the menu according to season, but housemade pastas prove as perfect with rabbit ragù in cold weather as they do with bright fava beans and ricotta in spring. In warm weather, seek out the secluded back patio.
On Park District grounds and mere feet from the lake, this wraps-and-salad shack has an idyllic location that can’t be beat. Bring the pooch and grab a picnic table in the sand or on the shaded patio, but make sure you’re seated comfortably: The service lags (and is sometimes curt). Still, if you’re prepared to chill out for about 30 minutes until you get your delicious pesto chicken wrap or the housemade beignets, you’ll be just fine.
Uncommon Ground's Edgewater restaurant, the baby sister to the Lakeview Uncommon Ground, is a great choice for a tasty, casual brunch or dinner spot. Its main claim to fame is its certified organic rooftop farm, the first of its kind in the U.S., which complements the menu's emphasis on organic produce and seasonal dishes.
Small but sleek, like a little lacquered jewel box, this Edgewater Thai joint boasts a few lesser-seen dishes and does standards solidly enough to become your weekly neighborhood BYO. You certainly wouldn't have to repeat often: The deep menu includes two dozen apps (crispy taro wrap, shrimp cakes and the coconutty crêpe stand out), eight salads (including a bracingly tart and extra crunchy green papaya), a dozen soups (try the boat noodle with beef), a handful of rice dishes (tom yum shrimp fried rice wins for sheer ingenuity), a dozen noodles (a tilapia curry take on kanom jin is interesting) and nearly two dozen entrées. There are also a half-dozen desserts, but with a menu this broad, we doubt you'll ever get to them.
At one time, this was little more than just a coffee shop, an old-school, kind of dusty one at that. But proving yet again that there is no such thing as “just a coffee shop” anymore, two baristas bought the place, changed the name, redid the interior and added a nice menu. The latter includes housemade sandwiches (like the "The Mayor," a melty combo of turkey, bacon, brie, fig jam and peanut butter), a handful of breakfast burritos and bagels from New York Bagel & Bialy). Edging more toward café than coffee shop, now we have a better excuse to spend more time here.