The Changing Face of Andersonville
Once upon a time, Andersonville was a homely Swedish enclave lined with Swedish flags, stores, restaurants, and businesses. Nowadays, while much of that Swedish heritage is still pleasantly in tact, the neighborhood on Chicago's far north side is coming into a new era all its own, as more and more diverse businesses take shape. While the neighborhood itself is small and compact, that hasn't hindered its ballooning economy, much of which can be attributed to its new restaurants and bars. As Andersonville continues to evolve and develop, here's a peek at what's new and what's coming soon at this must-visit neighborhood:
Following a somewhat similar trajectory to Andersonville itself, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine has steadily grown from a diminutive Lakeview retail shop to a full-fledged empire of artisan provisions in Chicago. Today, Pastoral is the city's quintessential cheese shop, complete with its very own wine bar and restaurant in Bar Pastoral. Now the company looks to replicate and further that formula with their largest endeavor to date in Andersonville. Coming this fall is a 3,800 square foot space in Andersonville, complete with a full-service restaurant called Appellation. The hybrid retail shop, restaurant, and wine bar features 75 seats and designated spaces throughout the property, so as to ensure an even, relaxed flow. The restaurant gets its name from Pastoral's proclivity for pristine sourcing. Be it a Midwestern pasture or a European winery, Pastoral goes to great lengths to source the utmost in ingredients for its food and beverage programs, and Appellation will strive to transport diners to that sense of place via various cheeses, charcuterie, and composed plates. All of this is courtesy of Jessica "Jessie" Williams, an alum of Lula Cafe and Birchwood Kitchen. It's a bit of a full-circle homecoming for the chef, who once worked as a cheesemonger for Pastoral.
Pastoral isn't the only retail-oriented concept coming to Andersonville this year. Another hybrid retail and restaurant is taking shape a little further up the Clark Street corridor in the form of The Goddess and Grocer. Due later this fall, it's yet another outpost for the Chicago institution, which operates successful neighborhood locations in Bucktown, the Gold Coast, and River North. Andersonville marks its boldest locale yet, a far cry from the confines of downtown and Bucktown's ritzy shopping district. With space for around 40 seats, the new Andersonville shop will adhere to the timeworn formula of the other locations, hinged on prepared foods and upscale grocery items along with dine-in options like sandwiches, soups, salads, and killer desserts.
Along with some exciting upcoming developments, Andersonville has already seen some impressive openings of late. The first was La Colombe, the revered Philadelphia-based coffee roastery and cafe that has increased its Chicago presence in recent years with locations in the West Loop and Wicker Park. The Andersonville spot marked its largest in Chicago (are you noticing a theme here?) with a prime spot at the corner of Foster and Clark. The fresh new cafe boasts ample space to relax and sip some of the best coffee in Chicago, with a front-row view of Andersonville's central artery.
Then there's Cantina 1910, one of the most exciting and anticipated openings in Chicago at large, let alone Andersonville. Here, the bill of fare is modern Mexican cuisine, something previously lacking in the north side 'hood. Named for the decade-long Mexican revolution that took shape in 1910, the restaurant simultaneously pays homage to Mexican tradition while updating the template with a nod towards the contemporary with cooking techniques and sustainably sourced ingredients. Diana Dávila serves as chef, a Chicago area native who began working at her parents' taqueria at the ripe age of 10. Impassioned to explore this skill set even further, she attended culinary school in Oaxaca before cooking in restaurants in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Now she's presiding over a brand new kitchen all her own, cooking up both traditional, regional dishes, as well as newfangled novel creations. Most of the menu sources its ingredients from local Midwestern farms, adapted to fit a Mexican accent. Items include tacos al pastor with Midwest adobo made from raspberries and golden raisins; goat chorizo with sunchoke mash; sweet potato panuchos; shrimp ceviche with cured egg yolk; and lots more. The restaurant even boasts its own subterranean "preservation kitchen," an area where the culinary and cocktail teams pickle, ferment, smoke, cure, can, bottle, and vacuum-pack a miscellany of seasonal ingredients to use throughout the year. Cantina 1910 is working on planting its 1,400 square foot rooftop farm, preparing it for use beginning next year.
Between the new and the upcoming, there's a lot to be excited about (and hungry for) in Andersonville these days.
- Matt Kirouac