This weekend was all about Wicker Park in Chicago. Despite the couple shootings that have happened there over the last couple weekends, we still ventured out into the area for a fun filled weekend. Ironically enough we were at Big Star tacos on the night there was a shooting in the park about a block away. Thankfully we had already left for the night, but it’s still kind of scary… not enough to keep us from coming back here though. But enough about the gun violence in Chicago, let’s talk Wicker Park and food.
The Nosh Food Fest Wicker Park
The Nosh Food Fest is a brand new food fest in the parking lot behind A.N. Pritzker School at the corner of Damen and Schiller that happens every Saturday from 11am to 6pm through October. It’s a little hidden from the street, but there was a guy sitting at a table pointing us in the right direction. It’s still very new and not very popular yet, but I could definitely see it gaining some traction in the years to come as long as the vendors continue to sign on. It’s modeled after Smorgasburg in New York, which has grown considerably over the years, so hopefully NOSH will pick up some steam next year as the word starts to get out.
When we first walked up we had no clue what to expect, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit surprised by what we found. It’s pretty small and wasn’t very crowded. I’d say there were about 12 or so different vendors in the parking lot, with food ranging from cupcakes to bbq ribs. The selection of food, while small, was definitely broad enough to find something you’d eat. Nick and I started off with a Bacon Cheddar Brat Slider from the Paulina Meat Market. We were kind of thrown off at first because the sign definitely says “Bacon Cheddar Brat”, so we were a little surprised when we got a slider, but either way it was delicious, but obviously we needed more food. Celeste went to Da Lobsta and got a lobster grilled cheese which she loved. I took a bite of it just so I could give my opinion here and, coming from a guy who doesn’t really like lobster, it was ok. I probably wouldn’t order it at a restaurant myself, but if you like lobster I could see how it could be appealing as there was no shortage of lobster on the grilled cheese.
Nick and I weren’t sure what else we were going to eat until I noticed a family in the back corner, with no signs or menus on their tent, just a giant bbq smoker hooked up to a van… As I walked over, a nice young girl greeted me and pointed out their menu written on the inside of a cardboard post office shipping box. It didn’t matter what the menu was on because once you got close to that smoker you could just smell the rib goodness coming from it, I was sold. I ordered a “snack” size ribs, which ended up being only 2 full ribs (including the rib tip), smothered in bbq sauce. I did think it was a little expensive coming in at $8, but once I took that first bite I was sold. The place is apparently called “Fat Catz”, or “Fat Katz”, and I’m not sure if they have an actual store location or not, but either way, this dude knows how to cook ribs. He also had sausages and plain rib tips on the menu as well which we didn’t try, but the ribs alone were amazing. If we go back to NOSH before the season ends in October, I’ll definitely be getting more ribs from this guy.
After the Nosh Food Fest, we decided to find a bar nearby that would allow us to sit outside with Parker the Puppy… P.S. NOSH is very dog friendly. We ended up heading down to Division St and sitting outside at FatPour where Parker was instantly the hit of the patio. I really need to start a dog adoption company that rents out puppies to single guys, who can then take them to pick up girls… puppies are chick magnets for sure. Or maybe women are just drawn to my unbelievably handsome demeanor as well as sense of style… wait, nope, that can’t be it… had to be the puppy. We hung out at Fatpour for a while where Pat, Jen and Iman joined us before we made our way back to Big Star for some carry-out tacos on our way to Pat and Jen’s new place, where we ended the night.
Piece Brewery and Pizzeria
Sunday morning Celeste got up bright and early and ran the Bucktown 5K. I on the other hand stayed in bed as I don’t watch her run anything less than a 1/2 marathon these days. Plus it was pouring and I wasn’t about to stand outside in the rain for a 5K. After the race I met up with Nick and we made our way down towards that area to meet up with Celeste, Heidi, Andrew and Brian for some pizza, beer and Bears! This is only the 3rd time I’ve been to Piece, but it is still as good as I remember it being the first time. If you’re looking for some amazing thin crust pizza in Chicago, I highly recommend going to Piece in Bucktown/Wicker Park.
So that was our weekend in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. We did spend Friday night in Evanston at Taco Diablo for our 2nd weekly taco happy hour, but I’ll be honest, it wasn’t as good as it has been, but that’s a discussion for another time.