The Run Down

We're doing a bit of exploring on the far Northwest side and doing some neighborhood hopping in Chicago's Old Irving Park, Avondale, and Portage Park neighborhoods. We start the evening with a smorgasbord of steaks, empanadas, sausages, and cheese. After a meal fit for royalty, we sharpen up our blades and get in a little axe throwing practice. The night ends at a cider bar inside a converted church. Here are the details.

1. Argentine Steaks @ La Nonna

2. Axe Throwing @ BATL

3. Ciders @ Eris Brewery and Cider House

1. La Nonna

When it comes to getting a gigantic steak in Chicago, it’s usually served with an equally gigantic price tag. That’s not the case today, because our first stop is to a small Argentine eatery located in Avondale where we’ll be feasting on a massive rib eye, and a platter of empanadas, sausages, cheese and bread. That’s more than enough food for two people, and it will run you about $40. Not too shabby in our opinion.

The restaurant itself is the definition of a “neighborhood restaurant.” It’s located in a residential neighborhood where the only thing around is a small elementary school and scores of classic Chicago bungalows. In the midst of all that in a quiet corner of the neighborhood is La Nonna. Here are some tips to get you on your way.

– The food is a mix of Argentine, Italian, and American cuisine
– Their brunch is also spectacular if you want to make this a day guide. Because it’s hidden by itself and off the main drag, you’re not having to fight the big brunch crowd

Now onto the food itself. If you’re needing a suggestion, this appetizer platter is a hearty start to your dinner. The stars of the this dish, however, are definitely the empanadas. You could have just a whole plate of empanadas for dinner and you’d walk away a happy customer.

The main act of the night is this massive ribeye with a side of thick cut fries. This thing would run you about double or even triple the cost at any steak place downtown. Tonight we eat good and keep our pocketbook happy. 

This velvety creamy caramel flan is a great way to end a meat-heavy meal. Paired with an after-dinner cappuccino, I can’t think of a better way to go.

2. BATL – The Backyard Axe Throwing League

After dinner, we’re going to BATL, an axe throwing venue in Portage Park. The sport of axe throwing is gaining steam all across the country, and it was just in 2017 that this place opened it’s doors to the public. BATL hosts competitive leagues and tournaments, but they also have a public walk-in schedule where anybody can come in, learn from a coach, and throw axes at a wooden target.  Here are some details.

– The public walk-in schedule is here
– It’s $20 per person, per hour
– The walk-ins are only on the weekend (Fri – Sun)
– You can also reserve a lane for private use
– You can bring your own food and non-alcoholic drink into the venue

3. Eris Brewery and Cider House

Our last stop of the night is just a few blocks down the street. We’re at Eris Brewery and Cider House where we’ll be throwing back a couple of ciders and cider-inspired cocktails before calling it a night. The first thing you’ll notice about this place is that the space is huge.

Before it was a cider house, this place was actually a Korean church for many years. You can sort of visualize this space as a church if you close your eyes a bit. Now it’s a den of food, drink, and indulgence, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.  

There’s a brightly lit patio right up front, which makes for an excellent spot to post up on a mild summer night. Walk inside the giant glass doors and you’ll set foot into a massive hall filled with diners and cider connoisseurs at the bar.

If you’re just getting drinks tonight, you can head straight to the bar. Don’t worry if you’re not much of a cider drinker, they brew a whole host of traditional beers that you can try. Here’s how the menu is laid out.

They of course have their ciders, which is what they are really known for. A 5oz pour of any one of these will run you around $3 – 4.

They also do blends, which are half cider and half traditional beers. That’s where you’ll go if you want to try a cider, but looking for something less sweet.

After you’ve sampled all that you could, you can stumble your way back to the Irving Park Blue Line stop, which is only a 5 minute walk from Eris.