Bucktown packs a big dining scene within a small footprint

Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood is filled with character and art and a great dining scene. It gets its name from the goats (called bucks) kept in the backyards of its early, poorer residents but the area began to turn once local artists found cheap rent and easy access to the Loop (10 minutes away) attractive. Their creative force left a lasting impression and now the small, walk-able neighborhood is home to a wide range of restaurants and bars as well as late-night music clubs and boutiques. Its close proximity to the Loop and easy access to public transportation make it especially easy to visit.

Foodies will appreciate fine dining options like The Bristol and Le Bouchon. For eclectic sandwiches, fans flock to Bill Kim’s Belly Shack. Love oatmeal? Order the oatmeal shake at Costa Rican Irazu or the oatmeal pancakes at Feast.

Dessert isn’t an afterthought in Bucktown. Mindy’s Hot Chocolate’s gourmet desserts are popular additions to an outstanding dinner menu while old school Margie’s Candies has been delighting fans with its sundaes for generations as a family-friendly destination.



Since 1921, Margie's has been dishing out the best homemade ice cream in Chicago. The shop also sells homemade candies. The family-owned business has a long list of ardent fans who have been frequenting the place for decades. The interior hasn't...  Read More



Expect to wait in line for breakfast and brunch, but it's worth it for their fantastic breakfast and brunch foods. While the name might imply that bread is their specialty, it's really the breakfast dishes that stand out. Among their most...  Read More



Named after a Central American volcano, Irazu is reputed to be Chicago's first Costa Rican restaurant. The family-run business offers indigenous dishes of plantains, gallo pinto (beans, white rice, spices, and veggies), excellent and affordable...  Read More



The restaurant is small and the menu is small. But there's a big payoff when you dine here: excellent Asian food and bento boxes. Grab a seat at one of the 12 tables in the modestly decorated space and see what's on the ever-changing chalkboard...  Read More

Belly Shack
Photo courtesy of Megy Karydes


Bill Kim's trendy Asian fusion joint is a little shack hidden beneath the Blue Line train tracks. Locals crave the Belly Dog with Togarashi Fries (a hot dog topped with egg noodles, kimchi salsa and pickled green papaya), Tostones in a...  Read More



The main draw at this hip spot, run by James Beard Award winning pastry chef Mindy Segal, are the stunning, gourmet chocolate desserts. Mindy's Hot Chocolate also serves entrees such mac and cheese which many consider some of the best mac and...  Read More



If the ambience doesn't absolutely win you over, the wonderful French food certainly will. Romantic, intimate (restaurant is pretty small, typical of un bouchon) and so French. The menu is in French (with English translations) and includes many...  Read More



The Bristol's food is imaginative and the menu is constantly changing. The place specializes in meats and whole-animal butchery and while that is the big draw for many diners, its vegetable dishes such as the Hokkaido squash are no less...  Read More


Meet Jamie Bartosch

Jamie Bartosch is a lifelong Chicagoan who thinks her hometown is the greatest city in the world. She is an award-winning newspaper reporter, a freelance travel writer, and the mother of two great kids.