North By Northwest (Highway): Edison Park Edition

| August 10, 2009 | 0 Comments

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Awhile back I began a tour of Northwest Highway as it ran through Norwood Park. Our stop today brings us to Edison Park, the last neighborhood headed northwest before you leave the City. Where Norwood Park is more industrial and residential, Edison Park is loaded with independently-owned restaurants and some smaller businesses, too.

In this highly-walkable section of Northwest Highway, between Oxford and Ottawa (yes, the O streets, that is how you know it is Edison Park) you can pass a pleasant afternoon with you and your loved ones–or take some ‘me’ time and enjoy the shops alone. On the left side of the street as you walk northwest you will first hit 6666 N. Northwest Highway, the Mecca SupperClub, followed closely by Emerald Isle and Elliott’s Seafood Grille and Chop House. Mecca has its own parking lot next door and Emerald Isle’s is right across the street for your convenience. The newest restaurant in that block is Caponies Express. As a rule, since I am a good Sicilian girl I tend to stay away from all places with a Godfather-like reference (“the pizza you can’t refuse”) but Caponie’s food is good enough that I have temporarily suspended my ban. They not only deliver, but also do curbside delivery where you just pull up, give them a ring and out comes your food. How great when you have a screaming toddler in your backseat! Their pizzas are creative—I recommend the Verdura con Funghi–and their sandwiches are large.

Now you are on the corner of Northwest Highway and Oliphant, but hopefully you are still hungry. You can grab a warm breakfast or some sweet pasteries at Grazie Coffee Cafe. The eating area is well-stocked with crayons and drawing paper for the little ones and my daughter says the blueberry muffins have something along the lines of “very much blueberries” but her mouth was full at the time so maybe that’s not it. At any rate, we enjoyed our breakfast there last week. Grazie’s neighbors are VIP, which I have previously mentioned, and Tony’s Italian Deli. I don’t normally shop at Tony’s but a friend swears by them for sandwich catering so I will pass that recommendation on to you. Next up is the place my husband made me promise to mention, Wine Compliments, which is pretty much what it sounds like, a wine store. The owner knows us by face and name (not sure what that means when your 3.5 year old is recognized in a liquor store) and we’ve also seen him at the Norwood Park Historic Society Wine Tasting Festival (Sept 12, check out details here). We have been in Wine Compliments’ wine-of-the-month club for a long time now and we always look forward to getting our box of wines, recipes and information about the vineyards. Next door to Wine Compliments is MY favorite place, Nonno Pino’s Italian Kitchen, which is a wonderful restaurant that is family-friendly, (Kidlet was 4 days old when we first brought her here), has terrific specials and tables near the bar that open onto the street in Chicago’s very small window of palatable outdoor weather. It is my number one restaurant in the whole area and comparable to any red sauce place in the Loop and Downtown. Next door is a nail salon called Nuovo Nails, and at the corner, the last stop on the SW side of the street before you hit Ottawa, is Don Juan’s, a Mexican restaurant with a clever marquee that says things like “we JUAN you to have a great Valentine’s Day.” Gosh I’m a sucker for cheesy signs. I like their mix of both contemporary and traditional Mexican cuisine.

Starting over on Northwest Highway from Oxford, this time on the right-hand side of the street at 6676 N. Northwest, is If An Elephant Can Paint, a paint-your-own pottery place “that empowers everyone to discover their own creativity.” I haven’t yet been there but I know it would be fun for a kid’s party or even a baby shower. Next door is the parking lot for Emerald Isle. That’s right, a whole lot just for parking and it’s FREE. And so is all the parking around the area–most of the restaurants have free valet service at night, and there is also a free lot for all Edison Park shops on the corner of Northwest Highway and Oshkosh. (Or, you can just take the Edison Park Metro that is half a block off of Northwest Highway.) Next to the Emerald Isle lot is Zia’s Trattoria, a cozy Italian restaurant that a certain then-unkown state Senator once recommended in a lost edition of Check, Please. Hey, if it’s good enough for President Obama to come all the way to the northwest side to review, it’s good enough for me, too!

Just down the road, at the corner of Northwest Highway and Oliphant is an import from the suburbs, The Curragh Irish Pub and Restaurant. This pub with actual Irish servers offers menu selections such as such as boxties (potato pancakes stuffed with veggies, chicken or seafood), Irish Stew and Fish ‘n Chips. We went in there recently with another couple and our daughters and there was a great variety for all of us, my picky eater included. Opening soon is the attached breakfast cafe LexiLu. In the same block is Worldwide Liquors, a nail salon and Chung’s Tae Kwon Do and Hap Ki Do Academy where Kidlet has just started the mini-Tigers class, for 3-5 year olds. She is adorable in her uniform and loves screaming “head block, middle block, down block, thank you sir” in stores now. Master Chung and his son Michael are especially patient with the little ones and we hope she will stick with it long enough for her physical self-confidence to improve. Next to Chung’s is a flower store called Romance in Blooms and Baudles and Bags shop, which is still pretty new to the area. The most recent addition to the Northwest Highway contingent is Café Touche, a French Bistro begun by the owners of Zia’s, occupying the space previously held by the restaurant Nam Viet which closed about 18 months ago. It’s so brand new that I haven’t even been inside the place yet, but the reviews look positive so I will definitely add it to my list. And what tour of Edison Park would be complete without special mention of the reason the neighborhood got its name—Edison Park itself? The field house is small and not hugely stroller-friendly but the kids’ classes, especially those taught by the famous and wonderful Mr. Jay, are worth checking out. Of course, after a good class, you can just turn right around and eat your way home!!

Next time, join us for the last stop on the Northwest Highway tour, in Park Ridge.

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About the Author ()

Cindy La Greca is a part-time children’s librarian and full-time mom. She writes to you from the Chicago’s northwest side.

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