Photo by Joerg Metzner, March 22, 2020
Logan Square has always had its fair share of excellent food spots but ever since Jason Hammel opened Lula Café in 1999, the neighborhood’s culinary scene exploded at an unprecedented rate. Bon Appetit described it as “the new culinary (and nightlife) center of Chicago” where “gutsy cooking and the next generation of cocktail bars are luring them in.” The industry has showered many of the neighborhood chefs with accolades. In 2019, the James Beard Foundationnominated both Hammel and Chef Diana Davila of Mi Tocaya Antojería in the Great Lake Division of the Best Chef in America category.
We took a closer look at three neighborhood restaurants to examine what Logan Square dining looks like today—and what two people can get with a hundred-dollar spending limit.
Opened since 2016 by husband and wife duo, Brian Enyart and Jennifer Jones Enyart, the modern restaurant serves inventive, Mexican-inspired dishes. Dos Urban has been a critical darling from the get-go, and it’s been a Bib Gourmand recipient since 2017.
On a Saturday night, the dining room was packed with well-dressed groups of friends, dates, and what looked like several out-of-town parents taking their adult kids out for dinner. Service was attentive, the small plates were expertly executed, and it was easy to carry on a conversation.
Hitting the limit was easy, though. We opted for only two shareable plates, an entrée each, and splitting dessert. Cocktails were out of budget, so a beer was in order.
Frequently described as “lavish,” one of Milwaukee Avenue’s newest restaurants seems to be keenly aware that Logan Square has now become a dining destination—and what they’re offering appeals to be catering to those in town for the weekend. The space is ready to turn up the volume at any moment, whether for a big game, a boozy brunch, or a big night out.
On Sunday night, the ambience was more low-key than expected, though a basketball playoff game means cheers erupted every so often. Service was prompt, seating was comfortable, and the food was quite tasty.
Our budget covered one appetizer, two generous entrees, and one of their signature cocktails.
Though the popularity of this small corner Puerto Rican restaurant makes it seem like it’sbeen around for decades, it actually opened in 2016. Yelitza Rivera’s culinary career, though, is definitely rooted in the neighborhood. Originally from Venezuela, she got her start by prepping jibaritos in the long-gone Mega Mall and then worked for thirteen years in another neighborhood restaurant before opening her own. She now owns two locations and added an additional dining room.
A steady flow of take-out orders and diners kept coming in throughout the night. Service was friendly and casual, and everywhere you turned there were nods to the Island’s culture. Food was made to-order, homey, and delicious.
Using uponly about a third of our budget, we ordered three appetizers, one jibarito, and two entrees with sides. Needless to say, we went home with leftovers.