Chicago is known for its cold weather, urban sprawl, architecture, and violence. It seems when visitors come from out of town any one of these categories is well known to them before they even arrive. Many don't travel to Chicago for another area the city shines: it's food. There are countless places to eat from famous chains all over the country but the real gems are the locally owned, favored neighborhood spots. I'll write about these places as I visit some of my favorite spots to dine with other locals.
Last week I visited a recently renovated restaurant in Rogers Park called Honeybear. They currently serve breakfast and lunch only but dinner service is coming soon! Located at 7036 N Clark Street, this family-owned restaurant is open every day. If you go on the weekend for brunch, expect to wait in a line that goes out the door and wraps around the block (if you can sneak away for a late breakfast during the week you'll have a better experience!).
Situated on the corner of Clark Greenleaf, the spot features a back parking lot that was used to serve guests during the pandemic (they shut down the interior of the restaurant and used the parking lot to continue dining service outside). Once inside, the atmosphere feels soft and welcoming. Having a sort of industrial feel, the tables look like wooden slats surrounded by 4 black chairs. The booths have a soft off-green color which match the pastel shade on the walls. Seemingly random artworks, welded metal pieces, and various "kitchen counter signs" adorn the walls. Overhead are some interesting decorations that mingle with the hanging lights. As an extra precaution, the booths now feature a plexiglass patrician between each table which not only reduces the chances of catching COVID, you'll find it also helps with the noise levels if you happen to get seated in a booth.
Their large menu features a wide variety of great options. Just looking at the brunch menu, they have everything from crepes to skillets. You'll be able to find french toast, omelets, french toast, steak and eggs, breakfast sandwiches, waffles, Benny's (eggs Benedict), scramblers "and more." Trying something different, I ordered a "Honeybear Favorite" called the RP Strong Biscuit. Two large loafs of thick, fluffy biscuit cut into squares (almost like cornbread) sat on top of a bed of hashbrowns. The biscuits had been stuffed with Andouille sausage, crumbled chorizo, griddled jalapeños and onions and topped with two eggs over easy. All smothered with house-made chorizo gravy and served with sliced avocado.
For only $15, I could only eat half of this gigantic meal before it was time to go. I gladly took the rest home and ate the left overs all day. Thanks to Honeybear's large portion sizes, I didn't have to worry with cooking for myself the rest of the day.
I have been to this particular restaurant only twice, but both times the food has been outstanding. Say what you will about a restaurant's location, staff/service, and atmosphere. (If you give them a 1 hour head's up for pick-up and delivery orders on weekends, you don't have to even worry about those factors). For me, the two most important ingredients of a good dining experience comes down to the the quality of food and the price. Averaging $10-$15 a plate, Honeybear makes sure you get your money's worth. Plus, if you have children, kids eat free with an adult entree according to their website.
If you happen to find yourself on the north side of the city, or, hoping to try something new, take a drive down Clark street and support this local family-owned restaurant.
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