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#1
Posted July 9th 2006, 8:22am
Hi, all...

My lady and I are currently ensconced in Lakeview/Buena Park and are currently considering a move at the end of September. I've been looking at apartment websites and keeping an eye on the craigslist rental section but I figured the fine denizens of LTH would be more than willing to give me a good cross-section of their little corners of existence, and most importantly, the places to eat and drink therein.

I'd like to get away from Lakeview/Wrigleyville a bit, and right now I'm looking in the direction of Roscoe Village, Ukranian Village, Lincoln Square, maybe the West Loop, Hyde Park, and I'd personally like to hunker down in the South Loop but I'm pretty sure pricing down there is outside our range.

So please, sound off! Tell me what you like about your 'hood, or maybe more importantly, what you don't like. A place that doesn't take an hour to find street parking on a weekend would be a nice change of pace.
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#2
Posted July 9th 2006, 8:45am
We live in the border area of Albany Park, Irving Park, and Old Irving Park. This neighborhood has many, many plusses for me and very few minuses. It helps that we love to walk.

I can walk to about 8 different Mexican markets & butchers and about 30 different taquerias.

I'm a short walk to the wonderful Middle Eastern groceries, bakeries and restaurants of Kedzie ave.

Korean, South American, diner food, and some old style Chicago favorites are all a short trip by foot or by car.

I can walk to the blue or brown lines, hop a quick express bus to Wrigleyville or Lincoln Square, or take a short drive north to Devon Ave. or hop on the Kennedy and be anywhere else very quickly.

From my vantage point, I feel like the whole city is available to me at a moment's notice and that was a big reason we chose this area.

The neighborhoods around here are attractive, well-kept, and most everyone I've met around here is very friendly. (My retired neighbor even mows my lawn).

Best,
Michael
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#3
Posted July 9th 2006, 11:16am
I live ( I am guessing) west of eatchicago in Old Irving Park. It's a beautiful neighborhood to walk in. Plenty of street parking, and I am nestled between the Metra(20 minutes to downtown) and the Blue Line(25 - 30 minutes), far enough I don't hear them, close enough that walking isn't a chore.

As for restaurants - great mexican, good thai, good bar food-pub type stuff, and just about anything you want delivered. One Starbucks, one independent coffee shop. Jewel and Faimily Fruit Market are walkable, Tony's, Aldi, and the polish market on Milwaukee are a longer walk or a short drive.

And you can rent a large 2 BR for ~800 a month heat included. We are thrilled with the neighborhood.
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#4
Posted July 9th 2006, 6:11pm
I'd love to hear your recommendations for Mexican in Old Irving Park. I am also considering a move from Lakeview in the spring. Both it and Jefferson Park are high on my list of neighborhoods.
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#5
Posted July 9th 2006, 6:19pm
When I first moved to Chicago in 1991, I lived in Old Irving Park. Wow! I would never have recommended that neighborhood to ANYBODY at that time (other than Sabatino's). What a boring, dirty, rundown and dead, dead, dead neighborhood that was 15 years ago. I absolutely hated living there, and was in fact overjoyed to move into a modern, elevator apartment in Glenview that same year. I paid about $400 for a very spacious 1-bedroom apartment in the building at Irving and Kildare. I drive down that block now and see an Irish pub, a Starbucks; it's really quite remarkable. Guess I shoulda bought one of those old Victorians off Irving, huh? :wink:
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#6
Posted July 9th 2006, 6:50pm
A little further afield are us suburban types. LAZ is a just a few blocks to the north of me, so she may add more Prospect Heights and Wheeling.

The northeast corner of Mount Prospect, a stone's throw from Prospect Heights, Northbrook, Glenview and some odd corners of Des Plaines, is called River Trails -- it has its own school and park districts that include bits of Prospect Heights and a smidgen of Des Plaines, running basically from River Road to Elmhurst, from around Willow to around Central.

It's hardly a mecca for good or cheap eats. There's a couple standouts, though: Giaccamo's on Wolf Road just north of Central is a nice family place, with a couple outstanding sauces: picky-packy is full of onion and garlic, and a soft, rich bolognese. Definitely a place to keep going back to.

Mugavero's pizza, right around the corner on Central, does an outstanding thin-crust. Their ribs are advertised as award-winning, but I've never gotten around to it.

At Wolf and Kensington is a fast-food strip that survives on the nearby industrial park: Photo's serves good, not great, and rather expensive hot-dog-stand stuff; Arnie Salerno's does casual Italian pretty good; Rico's Tacos is serviceable (but not as good as Monica's a couple miles north); Peetie's does sandwiches (haven't eaten there myself lately), plus a Subway (feh).

The busiest place in the neighborhood is Dick's River Roadhouse, on River just south of Kensington -- its parking lot overflows every weekend. They serve very cheap food my contractor is enamored of: $1 burgers at lunch time, for instance, with $1 beers (it may explain why I don't see him much after lunch). I haven't been yet, but I keep meaning to.
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#7
Posted July 9th 2006, 7:28pm
My recs for Mexican are not broad, and almost entirely from LTHForum. Well, not El Potosi, I found it on my own, but others have agreed, best traditional Chile Rellenos in town. Definitely a unique atmosphere. For a nicer, sit-down meal, it's always Taqueria La Oaxaquena. We've just never had anything bad there. Friendly service. Outstanding food. Walking distance from my house. (We frequented it before we moved 3 blocks away. We used to live walking distance to El Potosi)

For more casual fare, I've been visiting the same Taquerias as the Taqueria Project fellows on Montrose. It's usually a short drive, but parking isn't an issue and they are generally good.

From a real estate point of view, I don't think you'll save that much money moving to Jefferson Park and being a little close to downtown is great. I will say, if schools are a concern this is not the neighborhood. We are right on the line and our "neighborhood school" per the CPS website is the poorest scoring in the area. We learned the hard way. Good luck in the search for your new home!
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#8
Posted July 9th 2006, 7:43pm
I live a bit east of eatchicago, pretty much the line between Albany Park and Lincoln Square, but would concur with much of what he says. I love it here.
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#9
Posted July 10th 2006, 9:13am
As far as parking is concerned, don't even think about the South Loop unless you're willing to rent or buy a space.

Altho a car is not necessary in the South Loop for a degree of entertainment/food fulfillment (plenty of outbound CTA in every direction and cabs), IMO it is in Hyde Park (or at least useful if you really want to explore the city) and, depending on the season and location, I've often felt a close affinity to the Flying Dutchman as I searched for a parking space there.
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#10
Posted July 10th 2006, 9:28am
JimInLoganSquare wrote:When I first moved to Chicago in 1991, I lived in Old Irving Park. Wow! I would never have recommended that neighborhood to ANYBODY at that time (other than Sabatino's). What a boring, dirty, rundown and dead, dead, dead neighborhood that was 15 years ago. I absolutely hated living there, and was in fact overjoyed to move into a modern, elevator apartment in Glenview that same year. I paid about $400 for a very spacious 1-bedroom apartment in the building at Irving and Kildare. I drive down that block now and see an Irish pub, a Starbucks; it's really quite remarkable. Guess I shoulda bought one of those old Victorians off Irving, huh? :wink:


I guess I shoulda bought one, too. I lived in Old Irving Park from '96-'98 and remember when the Irish pub place opened (MacNamara's) - it was a big deal even though the food was nothing special because there was nothing but Sabatino's, a Thai coffee shop and the 'Nug in the neighborhood. As shocking as the transformation of Amber, Inc. into a Starbucks was, I think the neighborhood is still pretty bleak, culinary-wise (except for Sabatino's). Even though I was a poor law student at the time, I made sure I had dinner at Sabatino's about once a week, in part because I liked it, and in part, because I really didn't have much of a choice. The three flat I lived in was purchased for about $325K in 1998 and converted back to a one-family farm house -- I can't imagine what it would sell for now.

Anyhow, I live in Ukrainian Village now -- actually "East Village" -- and while it's not the prettiest neighborhood, I love that it's so close to "downtown." While there aren't a ton of places to eat, there are some really good ones, like West Town Tavern and A Tavola (which isn't my favorite Italian but I do think is heads-and-shoulders above most). It's also nice to have Green Zebra just down the street as a special treat, too. I don't like that the 'hood is quickly gentrifying which means plenty of teardowns replaced by plain vanilla brick houses that take up the entire lot. I do like that there appears to be more of an effort to rehab some perfectly nice buildings than there was in Bucktown when it went through this process.
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#11
Posted July 10th 2006, 10:23am
I left Roscoe Village as a renter for Rogers Park as a homeowner a few years ago. I miss the old 'hood for easy walkability to lots of dining and drinking options. But, rents were going up and it was time for me to buy. I looked at condos in both Rogers Park and Albany Park, and ended up in Rogers Park because I could get more space for the money.

The pluses in Rogers Park:
- Easy access to transportation -- metra, el, buses
- Lots of Mexican restaurants (some have been mentioned on this site: La Cazuela, Las Islas Marias, etc.)
- Local theatre (Lifeline, Side Project, Raven, etc.)
- Close to the lake
- Heartland Cafe (I like what it stands for and how it supports the neighborhood; I'm not a fan of the food)
- New additions such as Gruppo di Amici and Poitin Stil
- Close to Evanston for shopping, cinema, more dining
- Devon Avenue

The minuses:
- Not easy to get to expressways
- Pockets of less safe blocks
- Home of the foie gras banning alderman
- Parking can be a challenge
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#12
Posted July 10th 2006, 11:43am
I'll put in plugs for my old hood and my new wish hood (both of which I was in last week).

Old Hood:
Uptown/Margate Park. Surely a neighborhood on the come, but still very much urban if you like that kinda stuff. Every time I am back on Argyle, I rue how I did not fully appreciate the food when I lived there, and it is only better now--Thai Avenue, Tank, the new bakery (outstanding croissants). There's a Borders at Lawrence/Broadway, so times they are a'changin. Get there so you knew it when. Don't forget you are on the lake as well. Added bonus, the housing stock is some of the best in the city. Much better buildings than in areas discussed above (no offense).

Wish Hood:
Eating in Greektown the other day, I thought, wow, this would be a fun place to live. In the few blocks, there is so much. Breakfast pastries at Artopolis, a big lunch at Santorni, and a light snack for dinner at 9 Muses. Professional backgammon, salted anchovies, a Dominicks in the distance, does this not seem like a good place? Obviously, it's close to public transport and also close to other interesting hoods like Taylor, Pilsen, Chinatown, etc. The building where 9 Muses is in, has apartments for not too much $$

Rob
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#13
Posted July 10th 2006, 4:27pm
Surprised that my area hasn't been represented yet. I'm on the cusp at the northern edge of Andersonville and the southern edge of Edgewater. A few blocks to the northeast lies the stretch of Broadway with Ethiopian goodness, a short distance to the southeast lies the Argyle St. strip, the southwest has Andersonville's many options, and the northwest has a bunch of Mexican and South American options along Clark. There's a neighborhood butcher and a couple of greengrocers, one on Clark and the other on Broadway. Plenty of bakeries, a few coffeehouses, some nice brunch spots; ignoring the Mia Francesca outpost, the stretch of Bryn Mawr between Broadway and Sheridan has some interesting spots, including Anna Held, which Mike G has described nicely (and which I enjoyed visiting for the first time Saturday), the Bryn Mawr Deli for good sandwiches made to order, the just-opened Flourish for freshly baked bread and Metropolis' coffee (I'm still keeping an eye on the other baked goods), even a couple generic Chinese joints, and That Little Mexican Cafe soon to open. (Which, for better or worse, I don't mind.)

Even this stretch is a bit gentrified, but good prices can be found, and a lot of the older apartments have amazing spaces; you tend to get a lot for the money. (I'm living in a 1922 shotgun-style building that's been remarkably preserved.) East-west travel isn't particularly convenient, but the Clark, Damen, and Broadway buses and Red Line are all two blocks away or closer, the express LSD buses another two blocks past the Red Line. (And the first three at least go to Foster or farther south where travel west is a little easier.)

Some of the reasons I like it, anyway.
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#14
Posted July 11th 2006, 10:36am
Antonius and I moved from Printers’ Row to “Tri-Taylor” nearly two years ago, needing more space plus a yard for our son. At the time I had written to the LTH listserv (still active back then) to thank the many LTH-ers who had helped out with advice and mover recommendations for us. Mr Barolo then asked where Tri-Taylor was and this is what I wrote in response:

"Tri-Taylor" is a clunky name no doubt coined by a realtor, designating the triangle formed by Western, the Eisenhower, and Ogden, anchored by the commercial strip of Taylor west of the hospital complex. It used to be nearly all Italian and there are still some bakeries and pizzerias and old time residents from those days. There's also a longstanding Mexican presence: our next-door neighbors from Monterrey have lived in their house since the early 50's. Our block is mostly Mexican, other nearby blocks are more African American, and scattered throughout are medical residents and students renting places convenient to the hospitals.

We are on Claremont, tree-lined and amazingly quiet for being 1 block east of Western and three blocks south of the expressway, in a rowhouse built in 1886. The whole area is officially a historic neighborhood district; it hasn't yet been yuppified (no Starbucks! no ATMs!) despite its proximity to a Blue Line stop. West of Western and along Congress there's a lot of new construction, making that area (so-called "Tri-Taylor West") much less forbidding.

Claremont, Oakley, Bell, and Bowler are all nice streets for a stroll -- don't miss the funny little cottages on Claremont between Taylor and Grenshaw. If you see a couple with a 4 year old who is requesting pizza with "little dead fishies", that's probably us.


Chow-wise, Tri-Taylor is a quick drive to Pilsen or La Villita, or up Western to the chow-rich neighborhoods on the north side. As for Tri-Taylor itself, well, it’s better than Printers’ Row but it’s no Albany Park. Some of the restaurants are only open for lunch, catering to folks from the nearby hospitals and Juvenile Center. Nor is there much nightlife here: for example, both (!) of the neighborhood bars close for New Year’s Eve…

The advantage of Tri-Taylor, for us in our house-hunting, was that we could find an affordable single-family house with a yard and off street parking, close to downtown and not too far from Hyde Park, in a visually appealing neighborhood (i.e. 1880s rowhouses and plenty of street trees). We have great neighbors, and we’ve REALLY enjoyed being able to grow vegetables in our little yard.

I don’t know what the rents here are like, but there are a fair number of “For Rent” signs posted in windows. On street parking seems not to be a problem (it’s zoned parking).

There are things we miss very much about Printers Row: the proximity to the lake, Grant Park and the Loop, our north and east views from the 11th floor, the great mix of people living in the South Loop, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore. Food-wise that neighborhood isn’t so great, but we do miss meeting up with friends at Kasey’s Tavern or the bar at Hackney’s. But I tell you one thing I do not miss: paying an extra $180/month to park in a garage two blocks away from our building! (Street parking is simply not an option, as jbw said.)
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#15
Posted July 11th 2006, 10:48pm
Thanks, everyone, for the great responses.

I'd love to live in Printers Row but alas, that and the South Loop isn't meant to be just yet. Old Irving / Irving Park / Albany Park seems like a great 'hood from the way you describe it, and I'd love to be closer to the Latin American Sandwich Cafe. And as much as I like Andersonville, the fiancee just moved away from there last year and we're trying new places in the city every time we relocate.

Right now we're focusing our aim on Lincoln Square. I'm looking forward to the proximity to the Huetten Bar and to the Chopping Block, myself. Roscoe village would be pretty sweet, too, and we've been eyeing some nice deals on CL but we'll see how it plays out.

Between two jobs a piece, planning a wedding and trying to move at the same time, we just can't be busy enough, it seems.
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#16
Posted July 12th 2006, 7:08am
I just moved to Lincoln Square in February 2005 (following stays in Lincoln Park, DePaul area and then Lakeview over the course of 9 years). I absolutely love it, much more than I thought I would -- Lincoln Avenue is a great place to walk and shop, there are lots of parks and it feels like a real neighborhood. It offers a good deal of diversity too, and thanks to the convenience of the Brown Line and the Western and Lawrence buses (which seem to run more frequently than other bus lines I've encountered), you're really very close to good Indian, Asian, Mexican and Middle Eastern food (should you choose not to drive). I really like the food options in Lincoln Square too, including Dorado, Tank, the Grafton, Spoon Thai, Aroy Thai, Bistro Campagne, the Cheese Stands Alone, Bouffe, Pizza DOC, just to name a few.
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#17
Posted July 12th 2006, 4:10pm
Much of the western portion of Lincoln Square (west of Western and from Montrose north to Argyle or so) is a great place to live and has better amenities than the eastern portion. One amenity issue is the Brown Line station renovation project. Rockwell and Kedzie are scheduled for reopening in August. Francisco and Kimball will close once Rockwell and Kedzie are open. Western, which is already wheel-chair accessible, will not be closed as the construction is at the ends of platforms. Damen and Montrose will be closed for up to 10-12 months but not at the same time. The CTA recently rejected bids for that portion, so when (if?) these stations as well as Irving Park and Addison will be rebuilt is an open question. Anyone planning to rent in Lincoln Square, Albany Park, North Center or the eastern part of Irving Park should keep this construction in mind.

One issue for the western part of Lincoln Square is the limited supply of rental housing. Fairly substantial areas are mostly or exclusively single family or two-flats. Many of the better three-story walkups have been converted to condos leaving few decent rentals in this class. There seem to be a moderate number of for rent signs on two-flats. I doubt if many of these rentals have any other advertising.

Local shopping is weak east of Lincoln Avenue. HarvesTime (2632 W. Lawrence) is a great resource, particularly since the major expansion last year. The Cermak Produce store that occupies most of the 4200 block of Kedzie is even better. There are a lot of restaurant and shopping options along Lincoln, Lawrence west of Lincoln, Montrose west of Lincoln and Kedzie from Irving Park to about 4900 north. Even better is that there are lot of good but inexpensive restaurants if you stay off Lincoln.

There have been a lot of changes over the 30 years I have lived in the same house in one of the single-family enclaves. I haven't found anywhere else in Chicago that tempts me to move. There are only a few vestiges left from when Greektown North was centered on Lincoln-Lawrence-Western, but so many great options have replaced them that I can't be too sad. On balance things are better now.
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#18
Posted July 12th 2006, 4:11pm
I've been living in Lincoln Square for a couple of years now, and I fall in love with it more every day (unfortunately I have to leave at the end of August for Boston).

I live between Damen & Western, just south of Lawrence. I love the single family homes interspersed with (mostly) very pretty two- and three-flats, I love taking walks and seeing what people have done with their gardens, I love seeing all the strollers on people's porches (lots of little ones in the 'hood). I've never had to park my car more than a block from my apartment. My neighbors are respectful and quiet - never woken up by drunken yelling, loud parties, etc. My rent is extremely reasonable - $750/mo. including heat for a spacious 2nd floor one-bedroom with a great landlord.

I love that so many people in the neighborhood seem to go out of their way to support the local businesses. The Starbucks at the corner of Wilson & Lincoln is never as busy as The Grind, up the street. THere's a locally owned clothes store, a handbag store, a card & stuff store, two German delis... not to mention of course all of the fabulous dining, including at least 4 Thai restaurants, 1 French, 2 Italian, 2 Indian, several pizza places,

I love being in such close walking distance to one of Chicago's best libraries (Sulzer has over 600,000 volumes) and two great parks (Welles to the West and Winnemac to the north). I love that on Friday and Saturday evenings in the summer, there's always a guy playing acoustic guitar and singing, to a crowd of 20 & 30-somethings (& their young children) in Giddings Plaza (or at least i think that's what that part of the Square is called).

I love having the opportunity to take classes at the Old Town School, take yoga at Bloom, and to take cooking classes at the Chopping Block is only a five-minute walk away.

There's a great mix of bars if you want to go out in the evening without having to drive somewhere - everywhere from the classic Chicago Brauhaus, to hole-in-the-wall Ricochet's, to The Grafton Pub, to the upscale Soiree.

I love Lincoln Square.
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#19
Posted July 12th 2006, 4:25pm
Between info such as this:

walking distance to one of Chicago's best libraries (Sulzer has over 600,000 volumes)


and this:

to hole-in-the-wall Ricochet's


to this:

My rent is extremely reasonable - $750/mo


...I'm sold!
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#20
Posted July 12th 2006, 7:43pm
I live in the same vicinity as eatchicago (specifically, I am at Belle Plaine & Sacramento), and echo all of his comments about the diverse and often very good chow. Here are a few more great things about "the hood":

- I'm 3 blocks from Horner Park, which I think ranks among the best in the city. It's a gigantic, very well kept green space with 8 baseball fields, 2 full basketball courts, several tennis courts, a great walking/running/ biking path, and a "look the other way" policy when it comes to picnics that include alcohol. Best of all, just about every day children of many races and ethnicities can be seen playing happily together. An unfortunate rarity elsewhere.

- I can walk to Hot Doug's in 20 minutes, or get there faster by bus.

- 25 minutes door to door to Ohare.

- Never parked more than a block away on the street, and 90% of the time right in front of my building.

-
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#21
Posted July 15th 2006, 2:16pm
JoelF wrote:It's hardly a mecca for good or cheap eats.

Let's face it, Joel, we live in a culinary wasteland.

Nobody should move to North Arlington Heights/North Mount Prospect/Prospect Heights for the food. Prospect Heights even has terrible water (from private wells, infested with sulfur-emitting bacteria -- not that anyone here, including me, is willing to pay the price to have Lake Michigan water brought in).

Even the chains are the second-rate ones: Lone Star vs. Outback, e.g. Mount Prospect has a Lou Malnati's carryout next to downtown PH. We go over to Wheeling to patronize Edwardo's. There's a decent Vienna hot dog stand called Peep's on Rand Road.

Over in northwest Arlington Heights, there is Le Titi de Paris, a very good French restaurant, though not an everyday sort of place (caveat: I have not been there under the current chef) and a branch of Walker Brothers Pancake House. Downtown AH is starting to pick up with Takkatsu and three medium-good Thai places.

To the east, there is the Wheeling restaurant row, with Bob Chinn's, Le Francais (back under Roland Liccione), Hackney's et al.

JoelF wrote:The busiest place in the neighborhood is Dick's River Roadhouse, on River just south of Kensington -- its parking lot overflows every weekend. They serve very cheap food my contractor is enamored of: $1 burgers at lunch time, for instance, with $1 beers (it may explain why I don't see him much after lunch). I haven't been yet, but I keep meaning to.

This is part of the Ala Carte empire (Alumni Club, etc.) and mainly a loud, smoky meet market. If that's what you're into, they do it very well. The tables are all hightops and the menu runs to chicken wings and deep-fried Twinkies.
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#22
Posted July 15th 2006, 7:03pm
LAZ wrote:Even the chains are the second-rate ones...Lou Malnati's carryout next to downtown PH. We go over to Wheeling to patronize Edwardo's. There's a decent Vienna hot dog stand called Peep's on Rand Road.

I'm a Lou's fan, so no problem with that chain being present, except that you can't eat on site, and the Lou/Uno's style pizza can get watery when transported.

Regarding Edwardo's, they frustratingly won't deliver to me, just blocks outside of their "range", which apparently goes all the way up to Rt 22, but not to me just south of Euclid.

I have to say I haven't tried Peep's on Rand, being fooled by the "production values" of Luke's and Nikko's on the same corner, neither of which I'm fond of. A few blocks west, in the same strip as Lou's is Heffy's, with decent combo specials, only missing the radioactive-green relish to be my favorite local spot (face it, almost nobody's got the radioactive relish around here, except, sadly, for Home Depot, and oh, I almost forgot, Dog Walk at Milwaukee and Palatine, hidden behind Irv's).
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What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
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#23
Posted July 16th 2006, 4:12pm
To add fuel to the fire, I wholeheartedly agree with what ekreider, BR and Ms.Paris said -- I live in a western Lincoln Square bungalow, a half-block from the river and the magnificent River Park. Close to public transportation; a ton of both affordable and upscale cultural, dining, and shopping options abounding; plus a very diverse, friendly, neighborhoody feel -- I just love this area.
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#24
Posted July 17th 2006, 10:36am
I also love Lincoln Square but it was above our price range for a single family home so we bought in West Edgewater/Andersonville. It's a great neighborhood with wonderful restaurants and shops of its own and is only a 5-10 minute drive from Lincoln Square. We spend a lot of time dining in LS and feel we have the best of both worlds. If you have no luck there, I suggest you try my hood! :)
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