An Irish bar on steroids, the Harp isn’t just your corner joint with a few shamrocks on the wall. It boasts a large Irish-influenced menu and a spacious patio with a view of the lake. The music’s as likely to be rootsy rock or blues as Irish.
Colorful, comfy, and family friendly, this neighborhood cafe is known for its homey breakfasts and Sunday brunch, as well as its afternoon lineup of soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Free wi-fi access and a cozy lounge area make it a good choice for catching up on e-mail while sipping a cup of freshly brewed joe.
The lights are low and the vibe is friendly inside this snug neighborhood tavern, a recently remodeled gem where the kitchen belts out tasty riffs on all-American bar food, including fresh-ground burgers, zesty fried calamari, and saucy, spicy chicken wings. Besides a solid collection of artisanal brews, the bar serves up inventive cocktails — some with a seasonal twist. Come summer, the secluded patio is the place to be.
Approachable, seasonal, and expertly crafted, the food at chef Ben Bebenroth's restaurant is a locavore's dream, with the concise menu getting frequent tweaks. Polenta fries combine the crunch of a fry with the creaminess of soft polenta; flatbread is layered with house-smoked trout; soups swing from potato and sunchoke to chilled beet and pickled squash. While treatments change, diners can count on dishes built around flavorful local pork, chicken, and beef.
Another changing of the guard has placed this convenient café inside the West Side Market in good hands. Tom Szoradi, veteran chef and owner of the long-running Juniper Grille, has elevated the quality, consistency, and creativity of this breakfast-and-lunch mainstay. Breakfasts are upscale versions of diner classics; sandwiches consist of house-roasted meats atop artisan-baked breads; and fun starters like sausage-studded Hanky Pankies (cheesy fondue) and tempura-fried shitakes kick-start the meal.
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