Matt Eversman, former executive chef at Saigon Sisters and Time Out Chicago's 2011 Breakout Chef of the Year, is ready to open his own restaurant, OON, in the West Loop next month. Here, he shares a few of his neighborhood spots to eat and drink in Lakeview, where he's lived for the past six years.
"I really like how diverse it is," Eversman says of Lakeview. "There are areas of really high energy like Clark Street and quiet neighborhood streets too. Everything from Wrigleyville to the lake." Eversman is a big Cubs fan, and enjoys seeing games at Wrigley when he has time but he says he usually only gets to one or two a year. Proximity to Asian supermarkets on Argyle, where Eversman picks up hard-to-find ingredients to concoct recipes for OON, are another lure of the neighborhood.
Pizza: Spacca Napoli. I'm actually going there tonight. We have a big group of 14 going over there. Everytime I go there I get something different. Just a little side note. The owner's wife, Ginny Sykes, is putting in some artwork at the restaurant [OON]. She did four big custom pieces in our main dining room and accompanying pieces for the lounge area.
Coffee: Probably Intelligentsia over on Clark. I'm not a huge coffee drinker but it's a good cup of coffee. I haven't been there since they redid the space and I want to check it out. It's a nice relaxing atmosphere.
Burger: DMK. Their lamb burger is my favorite non-traditional burger in the city. I just love lamb. They don't try to do anything crazy innovative. It's lamb with feta, tzatziki and olives. Traditional flavors executed well and they use great bread for their rolls.
Groceries: It's not Lakeview, but I actually love going to Argyle street considering my kind of cuisine. There are some great Asian markets up there. It's the one reason why I can't bring myself to move closer to the restaurant.
Beer: I like to say I like wine better, but I find myself drinking a lot more beer. I don't go out too often, honestly. It's a little bit of a drive, up on Montrose, but they have an outstanding beer selection at Fountainhead. They have a nice rooftop deck in the summer too. The last time I was there I got a porter by Brooklyn Brewery. It was not a cheap beer, but it was outstanding. I also like Rocks over on Broadway. It's a nice local sports bar and they have really good food too. I'm kind of surprised that they've never gotten any public recognition. We went there for March Madness last year and they have 30 TVs in the place.
Date night: There's a sushi place called Wakamono on Broadway that we go to quite a bit. It's solid sushi. It's not going to blow you away like Macku, but they have good service and an interesting cocktail list.
Dessert: Paciugo, the gelato place over on Broadway. I've been in there so many times. The first two or three times they had this black pepper and olive oil gelato that is the greatest dessert I've ever had. Now anytime I go in they don't have it and tell me they had it the day before or they'll make it tomorrow. It's like an eternal quest for me.
Brunch: Crosby's Kitchen. I go there for brunch with my girlfriend at least once a month and we're not morning people. The fact that we're going out of our way to go to brunch says something. Their Bloody Mary is awesome. They had a chicken chile Denedict once as a special that was insane.
Lunch: There's a little place called Panes Bread Cafe that has really good paninis and lunch stuff. In the winter, I used to go there all the time for their homemade soups. They have a patio during the summer that's a nice spot to have a sandwich and salad.
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