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Friday Feature: Feeling the heat in Logan Square

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Hearty entrees and libations from Longman & Eagle (photo by Steve Dolinsky)

I’ve lived in Bucktown for about 15 years, and I still remember how excited I was when I moved there. On weekdays, we would waltz into Soul Kitchen - and before that, the funky Wild Cherry - then head across the street to HotHouse to catch some obscure music act and drink cheap beer. Those days seem like a lifetime ago. The Soul Kitchen space is now a Francesca’s Forno (make that gas-fired forno, by the way) and the opposite corners feature a bank and a Starbucks. ‚ But 10 years ago, it was still edgy, and we were just starting to get exciting places like Spring and Meritage (hey, can you tell me the name of the French place that was in the Meritage - now Duchamp - space before it?). Anyway, I would imagine the same sort of feeling is taking over the locals in Logan Square these days. They’ve had a few gems for a while now: Lula Cafe (one of my all-time favorite places) and down the street, Buona Terra for Italian standards and Hachi’s Kitchen for more than respectable sushi in a surprisingly elegant room. But the dining and drinking landscape is changing pretty rapidly in the neighborhood, and two new standouts will certainly make 60647 that much more desirable.

Longman & Eagle hopes to recapture the era of the turn-of-the-century neighborhood inn. Based on a European model that the owners of The Empty Bottle fell in love with, it combines an ambitious kitchen with friendly staff and in about a month or so, six rooms on the second floor you can rent for the night. Julia Kramer has a nice review of the place in this week’s Time Out, so you should definitely take a look.

A growler from Revolution Brewery (photo by Steve Dolinsky)

Just a few blocks South along Milwaukee, the team behind the‚ Handlebar has opened Revolution Brewing. The night I arrived, they were busy filling up growlers (see picture, above), half gallons of IPA and stout and a few other types of hand-crafted beer that have been so popular, they haven’t had time to produce much beyond their front door. In fact, until they receive a few more fermentation tanks, the only place you’ll be able to enjoy it is in the brewpub. The food isn’t half-bad either: steamed mussels with julienned apples and an artisan cheese/sausage plate made wonderful companions to my “Workingman Mild” English luncheon beer. I’ll be featuring both places tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC 7, but if you miss it, you can always see the video here. There’s more to come: a new wood-fired pizza oven joint is going in just down the block from Longman & Eagle (in the old Abril space), and you can’t forget about The Whistler, which has been crafting wonderful cocktails and libations on Milwaukee Ave., giving The Violet Hour a run for its money (and no lines!).

The bar at Revolution Brewing (photo by Steve Dolinsky)

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