Whether you're looking to hang out where the locals chill or looking for great Jamaican, Ethiopian or Cajun food, Rogers Park boasts many spots where you can grab a delicious bite to eat. Grab a cup of coffee, hang out and have a cup of soup and eat like the locals do while spending time in Rogers Park.
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Restaurants in Rogers Park
Chef Delisay Pharrow brings delicious Cajun cuisine to Rogers Park, where you'll get sweet as sugar service and locals bring in bottles of wine to pair with Pharrow's dishes. Among the best are the Half Fried Cajun Chicken, which is the daily special for $10.95. It comes with two sides (some direction here: corn bread and red beans and rice), which will fill you up, without a doubt. But don't stop there—the sweet potato pie makes for a sweet dessert.
Heartland is as much a playground for twenty- and thirty-somethings as it is a restaurant. Local music acts ranging from folk to rockabilly to jazz flock to its stage as frequently as the local art on the walls changes. Top billing, however, belongs to the menu. To the delight of vegans, vegetarians and the cholesterol conscious, organic whole-wheat breads, salad plates, seitan dishes and black-bean burgers are offered. But red meat–seekers won’t be disappointed when the turkey alternatives to bacon and ham arrive plated next to the generously sized omelettes.
It might be a reach for some Loyola students to get here, but The Growling Rabbit's baked goods and sandwiches are worth the trek. Breakfast lovers can get a scone or some eggs and bacon, but stop by later in the day to order the classic meatloaf sandwich served with horseradish ketchup and cheddar cheese. Practically all of the dishes are less than 10 dollars, and it's a great place to read and get some work done.
The menu here is similar to the original, but this locale has later hours, Friday jazz, Sunday brunch and traditional coffee and hand-washing ceremonies. At brunch, you’ll encounter plenty of traditional dishes at a buffet, including yesimir wat (spicy, savory lentils) and doro wat (ginger-kissed chicken legs falling apart under a spicy sauce)—all surprisingly good with that potent coffee.
Whether you’re grabbing a meal to go or sitting down to eat at the counter of this bright storefront, expect your food to be served in a Styrofoam container with plastic forks. That’s fine by us because the dinners—such as the tender and gamey curried goat—are so generous you’ll want to take part of them home. The specialty of the house is excellent jerk chicken (sweet, hot and saucy) and juice concoctions made from fresh fruits and veggies, but the caramel cake is hot on the trail to becoming a signature dish.
Korean-American mash-ups are certainly nothing new, but this sparse Rogers Park spot manages to execute its concoctions with enough pizzazz to have you reconsidering fusion as a whole. Sure, straight-shooters can do well with “bop plates," but we prefer the loosely packed burgers topped with an oozing fried egg, funky kimchi and a squirt of kimchi mayo. Surprisingly, the cream of the crop is a side: piping hot french fries drowned in a creamy mess of cheddar, bacon and kimchi. Yeah, we know, others do it too—but bopNgrill does it best.
The Red Line Tap is a great joint for local bands, open mic nights and BYO-instrument jams. But in the mornings, it serves as a spot to grab a cup of coffee, breakfast sandwiches and pastries. The bar grunge doesn't disappear, making the morning facade of Smack Dab Chicago just charming enough in its own way for Rogers Park. Bring your computer to work and sit at one of the glitter lacquered tables to fuel up for the day.
It’s tough to choose among the many Mexican spots hawking specialties via window signs around these parts, but if you’re in the mood for an outdoor setting to sip margaritas (they’re non-alcoholic unless you bring your own tequila) and enjoy decent eats, head here. Seafood is the house focus, and most of it is pretty tasty, particularly the sautéed garlic shrimp (crunchy skin and all) with lard-rich beans and tomatoey rice. Meat-eaters should try the tangy-spicy pastor pork tacos. Margaritas only come frozen, but they’re flavorful. Tip: Go for the ceviche late in the week rather than Monday (unless you like the recently frozen weekend leftovers).
Seafood is king at this cozy, casual Peruvian spot, so start with the hefty mixed ceviche of fresh calamari rings, big shrimp, baby octopus and huge mussels (a value at $12) and move on to the family-size paella studded with every creature from the sea. Meat eaters will love the rich Peruvian beef stew and lomo saltado, tangy, tender beef strips sautéed with oniony tomatoes and topped with a heap of crispy fries. End with sweet, crispy plantains and amazing dulce de leche cookies.
Get a side of “feel-good” with your Intelligentsia coffee and homemade cranberry muffin knowing that the dollar you shoved in the tip jar is going to a different local, nonprofit organization each month. But more than just a fueling station, this café is a vital community node: an outlet for the artists and musicians (performances on most Fridays) in Rogers Park.