Your Weekend Guide to Southport Corridor
I should probably specify I'm talking about the Wrigleyville portion of this stretch, referring to about a half-mile long strip right off the brown line stop, from West School to West Grace. Here, you can find food, shopping, pet-friendly stores, and all around good, casual walking adventures. When we've run out of places to go, my boyfriend and I love to walk around Southport window-shopping and lazily wandering until we've found a place to settle at.
If you start at the north end, the first place you should definitely, without a doubt, try is Cafe Tola. From the outside, it looks a little artsy for the Wrigleyville neighborhood with pink trim and bright flashing bulbs framing their sign. But trust me, their empanadas and coffee is the best way to start your morning - weekend or not. Pro-tip: they're also a great way to cure a hangover. My personal favorite is either the ham, egg and cheese or ropa vieja.
Heading south, the next best place for a simple but satisfying meal is Southport Grocery, with a pastry focused menu and a few gourmet grocery items for sale. Their food is more health focused than the surrounding spots but still tasty, and within the same price range as their neighbors. This is a great place to go if you have small children or need a four-five person family seating situation. You can also get the classic mimosas and bloody marys with their own twist to satisfy the classic brunch vibes.
Southport also offers multiple options for shopping with Lululemon, Athleta, J. Crew, Free People, and Anthropologie, to name a few of their most popular storefronts. Needless to say, this is a good place to burn a hole in your wallet. However, it's summer time in Chicago now and sidewalk sales are becoming a regular weekend sight, so you'll still be able to snag a deal if you're lucky.
One of my favorite places to browse is the new Amazon bookstore, with the Stumptown's coffee shop. It's perfect when it gets ridiculously hot in the afternoon because the entire store is heavily air conditioned and it's a good place to relax, especially since opening it hasn't been quite as crowded. It's a nice escape from the strollers and Cubs fans.
Tuco and Blondie is Wrigleyville's "authentic" taco spot. While it's unquestionably Americanized in decor, it's still extremely fresh food with great, strong drinks. I love their fajita platters and pretty much any of the margaritas. Now that it's summer, their patio is open again and it's the perfect place to enjoy the nice weather with a little bit of shade.
Other good places for lunch if you're not in the mood to flex your wallet are Noodles & Co or Potbelly's. There's also two sushi spots, one at the north end and one at the south, that always appear busy.
Crosby's Kitchen is a place you can go to for every meal. I really wasn't sure where to put this one because I love their brunch but their dinner is equally amazing. If you live near Southport, you know every time you walk by this restaurant there will be people outside waiting for a table. Don't let this deter you, though - if you arrive a little before a standard rush time you can get seated pretty quickly. I love Crosby's Kitchen because it feels like I'm eating a home cooked meal every time I go. It's simple but hearty, warming food that reminds me of sitting at my parents' dinner table.
My absolute favorite place on all of Southport is Coda di Volpe, or Tail of the Wolf. This restaurant serves authentic Southern Italian cuisine, with family style portions perfect for sharing. You walk in and feel like you've been transported to a sexy Italian wine bar, with a wrap around marble bar and jade colored walls. I could have everything on their menu and come back once a week for the rest of my life. Some of their must-trys are wood grilled octopus, trombette di cicco (a sausage, basil pesto pasta), and the branzino (a delicious bass). They also make incredible Neapolitan pizza and I highly recommend going their for a drink when their accordion windows are open.
There really is no competition when it comes to Jeni's Ice Cream. Ohio-born, this ice cream shop offers some of the most creative flavor pairings I've ever tasted or heard of. Some of the best flavors are bramble berry crisp, goat cheese and cherries, and best of all: churro. I only subject my lactose-intolerant body to Jeni's every once in a while, but she still makes sorbets! One of my favorites, that is perfect for the summer, is her pear Riesling sorbet - so light but fresh and flavorful. Be prepared for a long line, though, because it's no secret how delicious Jeni's Ice Cream is.
Southport Corridor has so much to offer no matter what you're looking to do. One of my personal favorites is the Music Box Theatre, just one block north of Addison. It's an old-fashioned movie theatre that shows 35mm, foreign, and less-popular-but-still-so-interesting films and movies. I've seen a documentary on the creation and growth of the internet - which was mind blowing - and a French cartoon/animation movie. They have a great variety and in a way is a bit of a hidden gem. It looks a little rugged from the outside but you will no doubt enjoy your movie experience there. To me, it's the closest thing Lakeview will get to a Logan Square Theatre.
If you're more interested in an activity or something to do with a group, Southport Lanes, just south of the brown line stop, is a great place to grab drinks, bowl, play pool, and hang out with friends. They're also usually busy but there's plenty of standing room and outdoor seating, too.
Comment below if you've been to any of these food spots, and which are your favorite! All of these are sure to be some of the best food you've had in Lakeview, gauranteed.