Getting To Know Andersonville
One of the best things about living in a big city is that there is always something new to discover. Chicago is broken up into neighborhoods. You have Lakeview, Gold Coast, Old Town, Greektown and so many more. One that I haven't spent a whole lot of time until recently is Andersonville. This neighborhood is directly north of the city and has so much to offer from food to nightlife and history. About a week ago, I went on an exploration of the neighborhood stopping into a few places to get a taste of what Andersonville has to offer. There were three types of tours to take for this particular excursion and I chose The Medley so I could get a well-rounded feel of the neighborhood.
First stop, The Guesthouse Hotel. Located at 4872 North Clark, The Guesthouse Hotel encourages their guests to "live like a local" on their one-, two-, or three-bedroom suites equipped with gourmet kitchens, outdoor spaces (patio, balcony or rooftop), and in-suite washer dryers. Delivery is available from local restaurants and in-room services are available from the spa next door. It's a 25 room boutique hotel with a very welcoming, vintage feel to it. One of my particularly favorite features of the hotel was the library located right off the foyer. Books line the walls like a dream. This room and other public areas of the hotel can be rented out for parties and gatherings. The staff is very friendly and if it weren't for the check-in desk, it would feel as if you were staying at a very wealthy family member's mansion. I really want to stay at this place one day and experience it in full.
In The Guesthouse Hotel was a table set up by Cantina de la Granja. Coming soon, the farm-to-table restaurant located at 5025 North Clark will feature locally-sourced Mexican cuisine, two levels of dining space, a sidewalk cafe, a rooftop garden used to grow prototype vegetables and a "preservation" kitchen designed to can and preserve the local harvest. I had the chance to taste the Midwest Al Pastor Taco which was fantastic as well as a cocktail that I don't remember what it was called but was equally delicious. Normally it takes me a while to take down a cocktail because I'm not a huge fan of the taste of alcohol but this one went down easy. I can't wait to try this restaurant out as soon as it opens. I already have a blogger date planned with a friend later this summer to give it a try.
Next stop on my mini tour of Andersonville was the Swedish American Museum & Brunk Children's Museum of Immigration located at 5211 North Clark. I didn't make it before 7pm so I didn't have the chance to go inside but I snapped a few photos of the exterior. The museum features a fun, interactive environment for children plus a rotating art exhibit on the first floor. It also acts as a host for cultural activities each month including film screenings, music performances, Swedish food festivals, and more. Andersonville has a very strong Swedish history and it is still embraced today.
Simon's Tavern was one of my favorite stops on the neighborhood tour. Located at 5210 North Clark, this tavern has been a mainstay since the end of Prohibition, before that it was a speakeasy. Everyone was telling me I had to try the frozen glögg, which is made in-house with a top secret recipe. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this drink. It was absolutely delicious and I am dying to go back for another. Scott Martin, the owner of Simon's Tavern, gave us a tour of the basement which is where the speakeasy used to be. The original door of the N.N. Club (aka, No Name Club) is still there where people would give the password to enter. It was such a surreal experience. It also still has the door they used to enter and exit through the back alley. The amount of history in this place is unparalleled. Scott Martin is an expert on its history and such a friendly person. If you stopped in, I'm sure he wouldn't mind giving you a little history lesson from the Prohibition era.
One place that I didn't make it to but really wanted to was George's Ice Cream located at 5306 North Clark. They carry incredible ice cream and desserts as well as serve Illy coffee. I was told they were giving out ice cream flights with four different flavors of your choice. I seriously hate myself for not making it over there but hey! It's just another reason for me to go back. After the tour, we met back at Jerry's for appetizers and drinks. Their menu includes 100+ sandwich options, beer and bourbon and they have a great patio space. It was nice to relax and hang out with other bloggers. I got to catch up with some good friends and their food was delicious. We had some pita and hummus, buffalo wings and more. The have a craft beer list for days and amazing cocktails.
Andersonville is a really fun neighborhood to spend a day or a weekend. They also have tons of great events planned throughout the year too. Coming up this June is Midsommarfest and this year is a special one as they celebrate their 50th anniversary. They also have a Taste of Andersonville Dinner Crawl in August, a Dessert Crawl in October, the Andersonville City Made Fest in September featuring Chicago craft beer, Chicago music and Chicago artisans and so many more. Visit their special events page for a list of full events and details, www.andersonville.org/events.