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CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS – SOUTH LOOP, PORTAGE PARK, OAK PARK, LAKEVIEW, OLD TOWN
SOUTH LOOP

Divvy, the local bike sharing program has been going for over a month and appears to be doing well with continued improvements. A second wave of stations appear to be coming to the South Loop. A new Divvy site on the north east corner of Polk and Wells is being installed. Plus it appears that the corner of 14th and Michigan, as well as State and 19th are also getting stations.

At first only 700 bicycles painted "Chicago blue" made their debut on city streets, but growth is coming fast. Divvy is on track to be the second largest bike sharing system in the US. It is a super simple process to use the bikes, as described on their website: "To ride, users can purchase 24-Hour Passes ($7) or an Annual Membership ($75) to use the system. 24-Hour Passes may be purchased from any station kiosk using a credit or debit card. Annual Members enroll online and receive a personal key used to quickly unlock bikes from any station. Bikes can be returned to any station anywhere in the system, creating an efficient network with many possible connection points and combinations of departures and arrivals."

PORTAGE PARK

Now is the time to go check out the recently renovated Staropolska Restaurant, located at 3030 N Milwaukee. This past summer they earned the title of Best Spot for Polish food in Chicago on CBS Chicago. Whether you go for dining in, delivery at home or need an event catered, make sure to leave room to taste many sumptuous dishes, from their notable Pierogis, chicken devolay, veal, or sausage with sauerkraut and finish it off with some creamy blintzes.

While you're in the area, be sure to check out Euro One Design (3023 N Milwaukee), featuring Polish and Eastern European clothing fashions. Then take a little stroll over to Eva's Polish Bookstore (3034 N Milwaukee) for the largest selection of Polish books in Chicago.

OAK PARK
Serving lunch and dinner daily and now a weekend breakfast, the Kinderhook Tap (located at 800 S Oak Park Ave) is a great local option for a variety of outings. They specialize in gastro pub fare and unique libations, featuring grass-fed beef, natural pork & free range chicken. Even the fresh bread is local.

Whether you are seeking a cocktail hour, a fun place for family night, a date night, or a place to use free wi-fi, they have options for all. Almost all of the menu is house-made, including a variety of vegetarian options and gluten free bread. They have a wide selection of micro-beer and frequently rotate their drafts & bottle list. Plus, they carry spirits from regional distilleries like North Shore, Koval, and Death's Door. If you haven't checked them out lately, now would be a perfect time to reacquaint yourself with this local-focused restaurant.

LAKEVIEW

The Bentley Tavern, a classy little corner bistro is just opening in Lincoln Park at 2834 N Southport. The address was once home to a brothel and a popular Italian joint-though never both at the same time. Today, laden with crown molding, wrap-around windows and marble, it's a place to stop in at the bar for a cold martini (made with Wisconsin vodka) and a few oysters. Or maybe giant prawns with cocktail sauce and caviar instead.
Ultimately, consider this a potential out-of-the-way casual date spot where you can split a bottle of wine and tuck into a rack of lamb or steak frites. Although it's also a good option if you just need someplace to catch up with friends over pork belly grilled cheese sandwiches.

OLD TOWN

Sometimes residents of a city forget to periodically check out the hot locations in their own backyard. This is a good time to get some friends together and see what The Second City is up to. They have four shows currently playing, plus their special engagements, and school. This Chicago establishment is responsible as the training ground for a host of famous alumni including John Belushi, Mike Myers, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Catherine O'Hara, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and more. Whether you want to try your hand at the stage or are looking for a memorable evening out, do something different this month by exploring something local.

CATHY MALLERS & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Posted: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 4:03 PM by Dean's Team

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