Chicago Tour: Logan Square
Cultures commingle in this hip Near West Side neighborhood.
The Near West Side neighborhood of Logan Square is shaped by a harmonious blend of Latino and hipster cultures—you may find yourself washing down your cubano with a craft brew, a pleasing combination. The square itself serves as a grassy respite for locals, as well as home to the Illinois Centennial Monument, designed by Henry Bacon (of Lincoln Memorial fame). Around the square, you’ll find a diverse collection of businesses—gastropubs, coffee shops, taquerias, diners, thrift stores—and the striking Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church. Walk in any direction from the square and explore the diversity of this neighborhood. Stroll along idyllic, tree-lined Logan Boulevard, one of the four historical boulevards in Logan Square, to California Avenue, where you’ll come across Puerto Rican eateries and Cuban cafés. Head north on Milwaukee, and you’ll see the legendary Congress Theater, somewhat run down, but still architecturally magnificent.
New Wave Coffee
Vintage furniture, local art, grilled sandwiches, and locally roasted Metropolis coffee beans are the stars of this hipster hangout, which dominates the corner of Logan and Milwaukee.
A friendly neighborhood hangout, Café Marianao serves sandwiches and café con leche in a bustling, bilingual atmosphere. Even if your Spanish is rusty, the satiating effect of a cubano doble will break down any language barriers.
Fat Willy’s Rib Shack
The size of the wood stack outside Fat Willy’s is a solid indication that this place is the real deal. Serving up finger-licking meats like pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket, baby backs, and spare ribs, Fat Wally’s is the go-to place for barbeque. For a decadent starter, order the beef brisket poutine.
Wasabi serves a medley of Japanese dishes, including high-quality sushi and izakaya-style small plates. But the unctuous pork broth of the tonkatsu ramen keeps patrons coming back. Order it with braised pork butt (instead of the usual pork cheek) and a side of karashi takana (mustard greens) to compliment the rich stock.
Wolfbait & B-Girls
Founded by two Chicago women designers, Wolfbait & B-girls sells the wares of more than 170 local artisans. The shop’s name harks back to a 1950’s Chicago guidebook, in which wolfbait are girls new to the city, searching for success, and b-girls are what they occasionally become. Shop for original artwork, accessories, apparel, paper goods, and beauty products in this Logan Square find.
Owen & Engine
In a warm, polished-wood atmosphere, Owen & Engine prepares British comfort foods like fish and chips, bangers and mash, and a truly amazing burger topped with caramelized onions. Try a cask ale, served traditionally via the English-style beer engine.