A Squared: City Walk #27: Andersonville

Thursday, September 26, 2013

City Walk #27: Andersonville

Let me begin this post with a little venting. I would have shared this post with you sooner, but after writing half and saving it I came back to finish it and-- poof! It was gone. So, here we are again...

Recently on a quiet weekend morning, Alex and I decided to head up to the Andersonville neighborhood for a City Walk. It's an area we have been to a handful of times, but one that I haven't really explored... if that makes sense? We have been to Andersonville for the Midsommarfest street festival and several times to have dinner at our friend Tony's place. We have never taken the time to just explore though, so it was fun to get to know a nieghborhood that is just far away from us enough to be pretty foreign.

For you non-Chicagoans, Andersonville is an eclectic neighborhood. It is packed with cute cafes, furniture shops, and a few great bars like Marty's (for martinis) and the Hopleaf (known for their wide selection of both mainstream and obscure beers). To locals it is known as a neighborhood rooted in Swedish immigrant heritage that has become the unofficial hub for the city's lesbian community. Only in Chicago, right?

The Walk began at 5205 N. Clark St. [1] and like so many Walks before it, the first stop was gone. The City Walk deck told us to look out for Laundre, an upscale men's clothing store. Sounds cool, right? Well, it is no more and a nail salon called Palette was there in its place.

The next stop was one of the main reasons that Alex and I ventured up to Andersonville on this sleepy morning: Ann Sather [2]. Ann Sather restaurants are an institution in Chicago and I am embarrassed to say that this was our first visit to one! After dining there, I am not sure what we were waiting for. Ann Sather is cafe specializing in Swedish cuisine. You see a lot of meatballs, lingonberries, potato pancakes, and pastries on the menu here, but their signature item is the cinnamon roll.

Alex and I both ordered breakfast wraps here and they were really tasty and satisfying. Mine included eggs, cheese, and avocado with a super spicy homemade salsa on the side. Are you ready to hear the best part? Each breakfast entree comes with your choice of two sides-- one of those choices is not one, but two of their homemade cinnamon rolls! And they are so good. They are served warm with a generous amount of icing and the servers bring them out before your entree arrives, so you get an enormous cinnamon roll "appetizer" to fill you up even before you get your actual meal. The prices here are really reasonable, the cinnamon rolls are amazing, and if you're looking to visit the original Ann Sather (this one in Andersonville!) do it ASAP because it is closing at the end of this year. Rest assured though, they have 3 other locations throughout the city so you can always feed your pastry craving.
Ann Sather Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Right next door to Swedish-inspired restaurant Ann Sather is the Swedish-American Museum [2]. This museum celebrates the heritage and history of Swedes in America and has a pretty vast museum store that looked like a lot of fun. Did I mention that we were in Andersonville on Labor Day so several of the stops on this Walk (including the Museum) were closed for business that day? Well, they were. So enjoy all these facade photos because that's basically all I've got!

The fourth stop on our Walk was a great furniture store called Scout [4]. It was closed that day too, but we have poked around with Tony before and it is a really fun place. They specialize in a unique assortment of both new and antique items for the home.

Further up Clark Street we approached our fifth stop: Women and Children First [5]. This hippie bookstore specializes in feminist literature and is one of the largest of its kind in the United States. Totally fitting for the Andersonville neighborhood, right?

Stop #6 is another one of those long gone establishments... the City Walk card described 5247 N. Clark St. [6] as Wikstrom's, a cafe specializing in Old World Scandinavian treats. From the sound of it, I wish it were still there! In its place, we discovered the Andersonville Galleria, an innovative gallery and market space that features a variety of art, jewelery, and apparel created by local artisans.

Following that, we turned the corner and headed just a block down Berwyn to find our seventh stop on the Walk. Tulip [7] is an Andersonville institution. And it's a sex shop, or as they like to describe it "an intimate toy gallery." I don't think we need to venture any further into a discussion about this establishment!

Our eighth stop was supposed to be a gourmet deli called Urban Epicure at 1512 W. Berwyn [8]. In its place we found Ranalli's of Andersonville, a Chicago area pizzeria. It smelled so good!

The next two stops were all about sweet treats. The first was Kopi - A Traveler's Cafe [9]. This eclectic restaurant specializes in European-style cafe fare and bakery favorites.

I was so disappointed that our final stop on the Walk was closed when we have arrived. We have walked or driven past a few times on prior trips to Andersonville, but it has always been at night when it wasn't open. It's the Swedish Bakery [10] and I am dying to step inside! Check out their amazing array of traditional Swedish cookies, cakes, and pastries on their website.

And last but not least, a stop that wasn't on the City Walk, but that is definitely worth a visit. Urban Orchard is an adorable little boutique grocery store right in Clark Street in Andersonville. They have a cute little cafe counter in the back and shelves stocked with locally sourced produce, high end prepared food products, and craft beers. I had a great time perusing this place and could drop some serious money here if I lived a little closer. Stop in the next time you're in Andersonville!


  1. I love Ann Sathers. I haven't been to the original because I live about a half mile from the on in Lakeview, but totally worth every bite! I still can't believe they give you two cinnamon rolls! I've only driven through Andersonville, but looks like an interesting neighborhood to check out for some good culture.

    1. It was my first trip to Ann Sather... so good!!

      And Andersonville is so cute. There a handful of really good home decor/furniture stores on Clark Street too!

  2. I love this little tour of Andersonville! I mis having a city to explore...this makes me want to take a trip up to Chicago, and indulge at Ann Sathers. :)

    1. Thanks, Jaclyn! As you know, Chicago is a fabulous city-- and always something/somewhere new to discover! And Ann Sather... OMG. Amazing.

  3. I've lived in Andersonville (or Edgewater - I've moved back & forth) for the last 14 years. I LOVE the Clark street stretch! The next time you're up here, make sure you check out The Wooden Spoon, the Middle Eastern Bakery, and Vincent's. :-)

    1. Thanks for the recommendations-- I'm adding them to the to do list for my next visit!

  4. I love your blog. This is a cool site and I wanted to post a little note to tell you, good job! Best wishes!!!


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