NFT Chicago East Rogers Park

East Rogers Park

Essentials
East Rogers Park is stitched together with Loyola students, civic-minded young professionals, new immigrants, old hippies and blue-collared middle-class denizens. While densely populated and lively, the neighborhood's seams sometimes show as crime and gang activity continues to be a problem. The draw of easy access to public transportation, lakefront accessibility, cultural diversity and Loyola's campus makes East Rogers Park an inexpensive, colorful neighborhood to reside in.

Sundries/Entertainment
Cheap eats abound if you know where to look in East Rogers Park (hint: follow the students). Health-nuts will feel at home in the Heartland Café which features a gift shop, open mic nights and live music. Head to Clark Street where Mexican eateries offering authentic food at low prices dot the area, while Howard Street's See more.

>Caribbean American Bakery gives you a sweet taste of Afro-Caribbean culture. The Jackhammer complex of gay bars offers something for everyone--a sports bar, a fern bar and a leather bar, all in one. Weekend nights, catch a comedy show at the Mayne Stage and have dinner next door at gastropub Act One Pub.




         


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Poetry: Deep in the Heart of Chicago

By Nina Williams
Chicago is home to a series of extremely gifted and innovative spoken word poets, but what is spoken word and how does one find it? Follow Nina Williams around to some of the most interesting neighborhoods in Chicago to find out what this scene is all about.
Read More...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Brendan Keating
Photo:  Brendan Keating

Charmers Cafe
Hanging out in Jarvis Square feels like taking a vacation in a third-rate destination, but it's a vacation nevertheless. If you don’t have the time or inclination to wend your way to out of the city, then a trip to the Red Line's most obscure station, the second-to-last on the line, should satisfy your jonesin' for a place that's small, digestible, and slower-paced. This micro-hood, nestled in the heart of Rogers Park's vastness, is a single-serving thoroughfare: a bar, a restaurant, a cleaners, a theater, a health club, and, of course, a coffee shop. Charmers Cafe, the anchor of Jarvis Square, is like your favorite college coffee joint. The brew is local. The sandwiches are solid, and the clientele is eclectic. Despite prices that are high enough to make sure it stays in business, it's a community hot spot. Best of all, unlike Intelligentsia or Metropolis, you can find a seat on the weekends. Up this far north, it feels like a different Chicago, one where you might be inclined to read the paper rather than surf the Web. If that sounds like a nice break, then head north and let Charmers work its magic.



Posted By:  Brendan Keating
Photo:  Brendan Keating

The Armadillo's Pillow
A riot of reading Just like any great book, The Armadillo's Pillow is timeless. This Rogers Park institution is the Platonic ideal of a used bookstore. It's cozy, quirky, and crammed. Every nook and cranny of the small store is filled with books, lamps, sculptures, clocks, and other stuff that your artsy friend sells on Etsy. Chairs are scattered behind and between shelves, giving shoppers plenty of places to while the day away. The only reminder of the outside world is the low hum of traffic along Sheridan Road. Even though the store feels like a second home, its real strength is in its selection, which is long on wheat, short on chaff. Unlike many used bookstores, you're more likely to find an obscure novel about Lord Byron as a vampire, less likely to find a dusty catalog of fishing lures. The percentage of heavy hitting authors is high, pulp westerns and bodice-rippers low. The service is also helpful, but won't interrupt you while read, browse, or muse. In short, The Armadillo's Pillow is the perfect place to spend an afternoon, and a few bucks, in a world of words.



Posted By:  Brendan Keating
Photo:  Brendan Keating

The Armadillo's Pillow
A riot of reading Just like any great book, The Armadillo's Pillow is timeless. This Rogers Park institution is the Platonic ideal of a used bookstore. It's cozy, quirky, and crammed. Every nook and cranny of the small store is filled with books, lamps, sculptures, clocks, and other stuff that your artsy friend sells on Etsy. Chairs are scattered behind and between shelves, giving shoppers plenty of places to while the day away. The only reminder of the outside world is the low hum of traffic along Sheridan Road. Even though the store feels like a second home, its real strength is in its selection, which is long on wheat, short on chaff. Unlike many used bookstores, you're more likely to find an obscure novel about Lord Byron as a vampire, less likely to find a dusty catalog of fishing lures. The percentage of heavy hitting authors is high, pulp westerns and bodice-rippers low. The service is also helpful, but won't interrupt you while read, browse, or muse. In short, The Armadillo's Pillow is the perfect place to spend an afternoon, and a few bucks, in a world of words.



Posted By:  Brendan Keating
Photo:  Brendan Keating

Clark and Devon Hardware
Home Depot can make you feel like a motherless child. Everything is too big. No one wants to help you. You get lost and wander aimlessly. You feel like you don't know anything. You become sad. It can be different. Clark and Devon Hardware, located, unimaginatively, at the corner of Clark and Devon, hits the home improvement sweet spot. It's big enough to have what you need, but small enough to care if they don't. The men who work there have sawdust under their fingernails and the women make you think they could drive a nail by force of will. The rest of the staff is rounded out with old-timers who might actually work there or might just hang out all day waiting to talk spackle with strangers. The prices are generally a touch higher than Home Depot and its ilk. But, as anyone who's ever put a hole through drywall knows, there's one thing that's hard to put a price on: sound advice.



Posted By:  Raf Miastkowski
Photo:  Raf Miastkowski

La Cazuela Mariscos
Regulars know this 8-year-old Rogers Park restaurant is a Mexican joint, but newcomers will likely be skeptical since it resembles a beachside crab shack. Sea-related trinkets cover the mango-colored walls at La Cazuela, but its decor isn't completely misleading: Its specialty is Mexican seafood. Though traditional fare is available, more experimental options include items like octopus tacos, shrimp empanadas, and ceviche tostadas. The pure fish selection ranges from fried catfish to red snappers served with onions, tomatoes, and wine sauce. Carnivores who hate seafood are best advised to check out the flavorful pork tacos. La Cazuela is a fantastic option that stands head and shoulders above its competition on this stretch of Clark Street. Come by to grab some tacos before renting a movie at the nearby Blockbuster.




Posted By:  Jill Jaracz
Photo:  Jill Jaracz

Heartland Cafe
Nothing represents Rogers Park better than the Heartland Cafe. You can call it "progressive" or you can call it "hippie," but have a bite of your meal, and you'll definitely be calling it "good." Here you'll find plenty of healthy options like brown rice, sweet potato fries, and buffalo meat. They serve a lot of organic food, and they even make their own bread and desserts. Heartland Cafe also has a good beer and wine list, with many organic options. This place isn't just a restaurant though, it's a one-stop progressive shop. They have a general store where you can browse their selection of beauty products, food, and books and magazines on social issues. The cafe also hosts musical acts and open mic nights and has acquired nearby storefronts where you can see theatrical performances. On Saturday mornings catch the live broadcast of the "Live from the Heartland" radio show, which airs on WLUW, 88.7 FM.



Posted By:  Darwyn Jones
Photo:  Courtesy of LA&M

We all love Museum Campus—gazing at paintings at the Art Institute, learning about cultures at the Field, or greeting the baby beluga at the Shedd. But admit it, after a while you get a bit of museum fatigue. And it isn’t like you haven’t seen it all before. I mean, every time Aunt Fanny comes, you’re grabbing the free trolley to one museum or another. Well, next time, veer off the beaten path and learn about the leather life. If the suggestion conjures up naughty thoughts and an awkward giggle, then prepare for a surprise. This is a serious look at a culture. The LA&M collection includes murals from one of the first leather bars, audio interviews with a former dominatrix and a chief judge of the International Mr. Leather contest, banners from leather organizations around the world, artwork, historical documents, buttons, t-shirts… should I go on? I mean, they’ve got the goods. So, if you want to be in the know when IML rolls around (Memorial Day weekend)—then get here fast. It’s only $5 for a 30-day membership and, trust me, Aunt Fanny is going to love it.



Posted By:  Laura Rotz
Photo:  Laura Rotz

Capt'n Nemos
There’s a reason Capt’n Nemo’s claims that they’re “The Last Good Deal in Great Eating”: this reasonably priced sandwich shop, a highlight on the abyss that is Ashland Avenue, has one of the most diverse sub menus out there. The Americaine, a non delicate blend of several different meats, cheeses, and the Capt’n’s secret sauce, is my personal favorite, but Nemo’s also boasts the number 1-rated Italian Beef in the city. They also have a liverwurst sandwich, which I’ve heard is phenomenal but haven’t got the guts to try, and a fantastic minestrone soup. All that, combined with the easy parking on Ashland (except during Cubs games, but if you know Lakeview, you already knew that), and the booths fashioned into the faces of famous people, including the Blues Brothers, makes Capt’n Nemo’s worth a stop.



Posted By:  Brian Diebold
Photo:  Brian Diebold

Duke's Hideaway
A Rogers Park mainstay since the late ‘60s, Duke’s pulls no punches. Be sure to be friendly with the owner, Neil, as he serves up your drinks with a half grimace/half smile. He may look like the average aging hippie, but his conversational skills outmatch any stoner/NPR listening man I’ve ever known. Fridays offer $2 shots and Sundays give you $2 Bloody Marys. But the true draw here is Neil’s passion for music and the patrons that litter the stools in the wee hours of the morning. A tiny stage features bluegrass, country, blues and rockabilly acts with no cover on Sundays. With names like the Super Mini Trio, Mudflapps and the Get Gone Boys, how could you go wrong? My favorite part is the people. At one point, I looked over at some good ol’ boys and saw a pony-tail down to the bottom of the ass of a skull-cap wearing, Harley shirt donning biker who informed the entire bar that Duke’s “Ain’t no yuppie-fern bar!” Well said. As dive bars go, Duke’s is certainly on the top of my list. This is a true man’s drinking bar! Breakfast is served! And you’d better be able to match me…at 7 am!



Posted By:  Brian Diebold
Photo:  Brian Diebold

Many of my friends looked at me as though I was crazy when I told them I was moving to Rogers Park. Of course, the neighborhood is changing and the newest addition to what I like to call “Jarvis Corner” is a new, upscale deli and bagel shop appropriately called Dagel & Beli. The concept is pretty easy… freshly steamed bagel sandwiches that include tons of freshly prepared meats and vegetables. They really seem to have it all. Ham, turkey, onions, lettuce, tomatoes…you name it. They will steam it, slap it on a bagel, and away you go with a moderately priced bagel sandwich that is good…trust me. The only problem in this place is the annoying menu. Their other concept was to switch the first two letters in all their words. A turkey, swiss might read surkey, twiss…or something like that. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about early in the morning. Now I have to overcome a forced sense of dyslexia as I order breakfast. Be that as it may, check out the Dagel & Beli Shop for what is a good sandwich. And those of you with dyslexia—take your friends with you and impress them with how well you can read. You are going to feel right at home!



Posted By:  Dana Kaye
Photo:  Dana Kaye

More than just a watering hole, this Rogers Park favorite prides itself on “Good eats, nice beats.” Whether it’s Warped Tuesdays or Latin Wednesdays, Morseland is worth going out for. Hip- Hop night can get pretty packed, with the line sometimes stretching down the block, but the staff assured me that it was worth the wait. There’s a spacious dining area and elevated pool table, but most patrons flock to the bar to socialize with the friendly staff. You won’t find yuppies here; the customers consist of artisans, alternatives, and hippies. Morseland offers a great variety of drafts and makes killer mojitos. Its neighborhood feel makes it a good place to meet with friends and listen to some local tunes.




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Restaurants (24)
Nightlife (5)
Shopping (5)
Landmarks (6)