The Run Down

We're going on a neighborhood walkabout through Lakeview and taking in the sights and sounds along Lincoln Ave. This guide is probably best suited for those chill Sunday's where coffee, donuts, vintage furniture shopping, and beer are in the cards. Here are the details.

1. Morning coffee @ Heritage Bicycles

2. Vintage furniture @ The Brown Elephant

3. Donuts & Breakfast Sandwiches @ Dinkel's Bakery

4. Afternoon Booze @ Bitter Pops

1. Heritage Bicycles

We’re starting the day at a small storefront that’s one part handcrafted bike shop and one part coffee shop.  It’s a place where you can get your bike fixed, watch mechanics do their thing, and grab a latte while you’re at it.

Founded in 2012 by a husband and wife team, they were one of the first places to use food and beverage to transform retail into a community space. Since then they’ve built a mini-empire with six other locations throughout Chicago.

This is their coffee shop side.  The distressed wood floors, faded white paint on the walls, and the vintage design elements has all sorts of Southern charm vibes.

Walk towards the back and there’s a passageway that takes you to the bike shop on the other side of the building. You’ve got tables and couches on both sides. Post up with your coffee here or anywhere you can find a spot.

If the weather is cooperating, take your cup of coffee to their outdoor patio across the alley way. Afterwards, we’re going north on Lincoln Ave for some retail therapy.

2. The Brown Elephant

Right down the street is The Brown Elephant, perhaps the ultimate Chicago thrift store. It has everything imaginable but it’s somehow consistently organized. The main focus here is on furniture, so if you’re in the market, then make sure to scope this place out fully.

The mission behind The Brown Elephant is what really sets this place apart. The store is actually operated by Howard Brown Health, a clinic focused on LGBTQ health and care for the uninsured and under-insured. So if you have stuff to donate or you need to buy anything, just know that all of that goes to a good cause.

The place is massive and has two floors full of clothes, home furnishings, and furniture. They’re always getting new stock and there’s no better feeling than rummaging through a lot of products and finding a sweet sweet deal.

3. Dinkel’s Bakery

Continue north on Lincoln Ave until you hit our next stop, Dinkel’s Bakery. Started in 1922 by Joseph Dinkel, an immigrant from Southern Bavaria, German, his family still operates this bakery to this day.

After almost 100 years of existence, the menu has evolved to include a whole host of baked goods and savory items. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that you can still get your hands on their famous Stollen bread.

It’s a traditional German fruit bread made from pure butter dough with butter-cream filling, almonds, cashews and fruit soaked overnight in rum and brandy. It is then glazed in melted butter and lightly dusted with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.

If traditional German fruit bread isn’t your thing, then here are two things that might be. Their bacon and egg breakfast sandwich is really something else. It’s a simple sandwich of sharp white cheddar, bacon, and eggs all between warm, fresh-baked bread. While we’ve had our share of breakfast sandwiches in our lives, we’re going out on a limb and putting our top 3 of all time.

 

Apart from the sandwiches, they make a mean donut.  There are lots of donut fans who claim Dinkel’s has the best donuts in town. We’re not going to argue with them. Try to to fill up too much here because we’ve got some more eating and drinking to do.

4. Bitter Pops

Our neighborhood walkabout ends at our last stop, Bitter Pops. This place continues our theme of hybrid retail and community spaces. This place is part liquor and part tap room and kitchen.

This is what you’ll see as you go through the entrance. It’s beer heaven with a huge assortment of local and craft beers on either side of you. But right around the corner is their taproom and kitchen, which is where we’re going to hang out. 

Here are a few notes to keep in mind as you plan your visit.

– First come, first serve seating only
– Tap room is open until 10pm; on Friday and Saturday it’s open until midnight
– Order drinks at the bar, but you’ll order food through your phone and pick it up at their kitchen window

In addition to their 20 taps of local craft beer, ciders, and coffee, they also have some deluxe bar food. On it you’ll find things like smash burgers, chicken sandwiches, and a spice bag.

 

If you haven’t had a spice bag before, it’s a Chinese-Irish fast food staple popular in Ireland. This version includes panko breaded fried chicken breast tossed together in a bag with fries, sautéed peppers, onions, and chilies and a spicy mix.

If you’re looking for an easy snack, their $7 single patty smash burger was just the right size to pair with a cold summer shandy.