Tag Archives: Wicker Park

Experiencing Chicago’s Wicker Park Food and Evening Scene

On a recent trip to Chicago, I was going to meet up with a friend who lives in the Wicker Park neighborhood. Wicker Park is known as being the hipster part of town and a great place to hang out at night. Its gained steam as a food destination with restaurants and independent coffee shops springing up like hot cakes. I decided to make a longer foodie evening of it and soak some of that atmosphere in.

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood

I hopped on the Blue Line “L” train in The Loop along with the masses getting off work and headed towards the northwest. A little bit later it seemed like half the train got off with me at the Damen station in the heart of neighborhood. What a happening place.

Since I don’t usually follow eating conventions, I’ll eat pizza for breakfast, I decided to begin with dessert. Just outside the train station entrance my feet took me into Stan’s Donuts on Damen. Starting in Los Angeles more than fifty years ago, Stan’s is a gourmet donut institution that has spread to several locations in the Windy City. Having spent only mornings in Wicker Park in the past, I’ve seen one endless line after another, with everyone grabbing pastries and coffee before hopping on the “L” to get to work. Being it was the evening this time there was no line score!

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood - Stan's Donuts

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood - Stan's Donuts

Upon entering I saw the donuts in the display case. The gourmet one with the longest name immediately caught the eye. Hey, the more words in its name, the more goodness it must have in it right?! I enjoyed a Maple Caramel Bacon Pecan Bar amongst the retro decor. Wait nothing to wash it down with? I was saving that for my next stop.

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood - Stan's Donuts

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood - Stan's Donuts,  maple caramel bacon pecan bar

A short walk down W. Milwaukee Avenue, the main street of Wicker Park, brought me to my favorite coffee shop in the city and arguably anywhere, The Wormhole Coffee. I entered the sci-fi themed coffee shop already knowing what I was craving, a Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa latte. I sat next to an Apple II computer bringing back memories of childhood, while listening to one Depeche Mode song after another. That brought back memories of road trips pasts. I was in heaven. Of course I had to say hi again to the Back to the Future style DeLorean that sits in back.

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood, The Wormhole Coffee

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood, The Wormhole Coffee

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood, The Wormhole Coffee, Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa

chicago-wicker-park-food-008

It was time to meet up with my friend, who recently moved here from Michigan. He gave me some choices on places where we could grab some dinner. Dessert first, then a specialty coffee, with the main course last, that is indeed how I like to roll! Burgers, pizza and ramen noodles were the choices. I thought to myself I eat the first two things a lot, so let’s go with ramen.

We hit up Furious Spoon and both ordered the Shoyu Ramen. Fresh ramen noodles made in-house mixed in with Chashu pork belly, bamboo, bean sprouts and more foodie goodness. The outside seating along Milwaukee was full, so we hung out and caught up at a long, wooden communal table alongside the open kitchen. I thought to myself, what a great place to hang out after a long day. That was my first time dining in an authentic ramen restaurant. What took so long?

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood, Furious Spoon ramen noodle shop

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood, Furious Spoon, pork belly ramen noodles

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood, Furious Spoon ramen noodle shop

I continued to get my first taste of Wicker Park at night as we walked some of the neighborhood afterwards before calling it a night. It was a quick, but memorable evening of treats and food in one of Chicago’s more popular neighborhoods. All the other establishments and outside seating we walked by makes me want to experience more of it on another trip soon.

Wicker Park Chicago neighborhood

What other food and coffee spots would you recommend checking out in the Wicker Park part of Chicago?

“The” Chicago Coffee for Me.

Chicago has a thriving independent, non-chain coffee shop scene. Every time I’m in the Windy City lots of coffee exploration of course takes place. Each new trip brings new coffee experiences with one exception…

The Wormhole Coffee, Wicker Park, Chicago, coffee shop

…The Wormhole Coffee in Wicker Park. I always find time to walk into the sci-fi themed coffeehouse and order “The” coffee drink for me in Chicago. One Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa coming up.

The Wormhole Coffee, Wicker Park, Chicago, coffee shop

I’m enjoying one as I write this post. So good. There is a DeLorean parked in the back of the shop. Does that mean Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown are here?!

What is “The” coffee drink for you in Chicago? In the city you live near?

Chicago: The Wormhole Coffee.

How can a place provide great service, have outstanding specialty coffee, provide a relaxing atmosphere and bring back tons of memories of youth? The Wormhole Coffee in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago does just that.

Chicago - Wicker Park neighborhood Chicago - Wicker Park neighborhood

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee

It’s my favorite coffeehouse in Chicago. I’ve actually introduced it to two other travel bloggers my last two times there. Leah of Leah Travels and I went there during last months #WindyCityTweetup. Pola of Jetting Around met me there for coffee one morning last week. Both great times. 🙂

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee

The Wormhole Coffee is an indie coffeehouse which opened in 2010. Sci-fi themed, it immediately brings back tons of memories from the 80’s. The first thing you notice way in the back is the Back To The Future Delorean. You’ll find other small Delorean’s throughout. 1.21 gigawatts is what powers the coffeehouse, just kidding!

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - Delorean

You can sit and enjoy your coffee right next to the E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial lamp. Relax and “Phone Home”.

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

Right by the entrance is a bunch of Mogwai’s (Gizmo’s) from the Gremlins. Remember, don’t expose them to too much light or feed them after midnight. 🙂 Any one up for a game on the Nintendo Entertainment System?

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - Gizmo - Gremlins

I’m not just drawn in by the sci-fi theme, their coffee is beyond outstanding. My go-to drink is the Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa. It’s worth the several hour drive to Chicago all by itself.

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - Peanut Butter Koopa Troopa

The most recent time with Pola I mixed it up and went with the Vanilla Bean Latte, another must get yum.

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee - Vanilla Bean Latte

The register is an iPad, which they give to you to confirm the bill and add a tip. How more nerdy can you get?! Some tasty treats sit underneath the front counter. I resisted, for now anyways lol. They love bikers, giving anyone free drip coffee that walks it with a helmet before 9:00 a.m. Bikers are everywhere in Chicago, but I usually see a lot more of them in the Wicker Park neighborhood.

Chicago - The Wormhole Coffee

Checkout Leah’s post, Beguiled In Chicago, for her experience at The Wormhole Coffee. The Honey Bear Latte is on the list for next time.

For great service, coffee, a relaxing atmosphere and the bringing back of memories The Wormhole Coffee needs to be at the top of your Chicago bucket list. Who wants to go with me next time?

What is your favorite coffeehouse in Chicago? That you have come across in your travels?