Family guide to Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Known for its ethnic diversity, Rogers Park throws its doors wide open to families, offering an eclectic taste of Chicago and off-the-beaten-path discoveries that will appeal to everyone from toddlers to tweens, plus mom and dad.
My family, plus my son's best friend, set out late one morning for the far north side neighborhood for a day of wandering.
The first stop: Uncommon Ground, the organic restaurant on Devon Avenue. The boys bellied up to the bar for hot milk steamers and cocoa, I picked an absolutely delicious 'chaider'-hot organic apple cider and chai tea that is tart, spicy and sweet.
The restaurant was bustling for morning brunch, but not crowded. Older neighborhood residents mixed nicely with younger hipsters and families, from the stroller set and older.
Our next stop was a Devon Avenue classic. On a street known for its Indian and Pakistani shops and eateries, the Argo Georgian Bakery is a small change of pace. The gentleman who runs it speaks with a thick Russian accent, but when you point to the traditional beehive brick oven, he grins and nods. "Khachapuri? How many?"
The hot bread, light and flaky, with cheese clinging to the inside, is big enough to hold in both hands, making a perfect hot snack. We bought a bag of frozen dumplings to take home and were off again, munching happily.
Next our plan called for a stop at Evil Squirrel Comics on Glenwood Avenue. We'd heard really good things about the small, sunny store and my son wanted expert advice on trading card games. As we browsed, I asked the owner, Shawn King, what he'd recommend for kids just getting into comics.
My son ended up with two early Classic Avengers anthologies. Upon hearing that William is also interested in Magic: The Gathering, another employee explained the packs on display and the boys each added a starter deck to their pile of loot.
We left, promising to bring the boys back for the regular Sunday evening Magic: The Gathering game, which is open to beginners. I'm also intrigued by a regular Knit Night for knitting and comics discussion. The next time we come to see a show at the Lifeline Theater up the street, we'll be sure to stop back in.