Bar Lupo, The Fifty/50, Coalfire Pizza- March 24, 2017
Hi all! Below, I am sharing my picks for what Rocking Right Now in Chicago for this week. Three delicious and unique spots. Click here to hear my full radio segment on 101-WKQX.
First Impressions are everything, right? Well my first impression of Bar Lupo was walking in, and being greeted with the sweet sounds of "Been Caught Stealing" by Jane's Addiction. Basically, we were off to a great start. Then, I made a quick stop in the ladies room...and I usually don't blog about bathrooms...but this one was like something out of a Fellini movie. Or think an underground cocktail joint in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood. It was so cool that when the owner came by to say hello, and after we chatted for a bit, he added, "Don't forget to check out the bathroom!"
So we've established it's a cool spot. But how's the food? They explained to me they wanted to be different than the typical River North spot. They wanted to feel more like a true neighborhood restaurant with retaining that edgy and gritty Euro vibe. Their food fits the vibe, it's as rich and as warm as the decor. I also like that the menu isn't too extensive, it focuses on a handful of dishes that they execute beautifully. My faves were the housemate ricotta on toast with truffle, the cavatelli pomodoro (all pastas are made in house and this one is so simple yet so full of flavor, just like true Italian food). I also downed some more truffles with their perfectly al-dente tagliolini pasta which was also served with wild mushrooms. Outstanding. Also don't miss their minestrone with a poached egg and their kale salad (you'll forget it's healthy, trust me.)
Then after some Beastie Boys and Mazzy Star while I finished my delicious craft cocktail, I was brought over to the "Saber Room" Where I got to wear a Roman warrior helmet and was taught how to saber a bottle of champagne... I mean, it wouldn't have been a true restaurant experience without doing that, amiright?? All in all, it was a truly unique night all while having a "typical" neighborhood restaurant experience.
Bar Lupo- RIVER NORTH- 217 W. Huron St.
If you'r sick of regular old sports bars and bar food. Check out Wicker Parks recently redone, The Fifty/50. When you see ahi-tuna tacos and French Onion braised mussels on a menu, you know it's not your average sports bar. But of course, even though the food is more elevated than the typical spot you go to watch your favorite team play baseball, they still have fantastic "bar food" staples. They're famous for their outstanding chicken wings and burgers. Do not miss those babies.
But my favorite item on the menu. Their snow machine cocktails. They have one of only about 3 in the country. This damn machine actually makes SNOW...as if we don't see enough of that here in the Chi. They have a "Frozè" drink that is wine mixed with the snow mixture and it actually is as smooth and as creamy as true Italian Ice. And if you're a whiskey lover, they have almost 40 varieties for you to choose from. I also filmed an episode of Eat Travel Rock TV there, check it out below!
The Fifty/50- WICKER PARK- 2047 W. Division
Pizza and Chicago go hand in hand like, well, pizza and humans. But when you think of pizza and Chicago, it's always deep dish. What if I told you that some of the best THIN CRUST, brick oven pizza on Earth exists in West Town?! Well I ain't lyin'. Head over to Coalfire pizza on Grand Ave (they have a newer location in Lakeview also). Not only do they make one hell of a pie... but they're made with flavor packed authentic Italian ingredients. Many of their pizzas have huge dollops of whipped ricotta on every slice... literally one of the most incredible bites of pizza that exists is when you bite into their perfectly fire charred dough that's covered in their tangy sauce with fresh fluffy whipped ricotta and fresh basil. Pure. Heaven.
Coalfire Pizza- WEST TOWN- 1321 W. Grand Ave- LAKEVIEW- 3707 N. Southport