The Run Down

Up in Rogers Park, it’s easy to find things to do. Perhaps not the first place many think to visit on a weekend day off work, Chicago’s northernmost neighborhood has a little bit of everything, from tapas restaurants and trendy coffee shops to lakeside relaxation and charming avenues. Today, we’re going to get a taste of Rogers Park by embarking on an excursion via the Red Line. We’ll stop to pursue antiques, pick out new books and be introduced to witchcraft — all right after fueling up at a cozy, plant-filled cafe.

1. Brunch @ Sol Cafe

2. Costumes and Vintage @ Lost Eras

3. Vintage Shopping @ Lakeside Treasures

4. Books @ The Armadillo's Pillow

5. Witchcraft @ Malliway Bros

1. Sol Cafe

Located just steps off the Howard Red Line stop, Sol Cafe keeps summer relevant all year long. Filled with tropical plants and rays of sunshine, the coffee shop is one of several retailers that live on the ground floor of the historic Howard Theatre, which first opened in the late 1910s and showed first-run films until it shuttered in 1975. The top floors of the building were repurposed into apartment units.


The eatery describes itself as “scratch made diner food with a little funk.” It has been cited as having some of the best breakfast sandwiches in the city — at Sol, they put a spin on the classic handheld, stacking bacon, egg and cheese onto a brioche bun. For those on the hunt for the best sandwich to indulge in the morning, this is a necessary stop.

Sol Cafe operates with the goal of providing an inclusive space while also conjuring “the excitement of what’s new while offering you the nostalgic comforts of the familiar.” Its menu features vegan and vegetarian options, and the space itself offers various seating options ideal for remote workers or old friends reconnecting.

2. Lost Eras

Just down the street and occupying an expansive property on the corner of Howard Street and Rogers Avenue, Lost Eras gives visitors a glimpse of its selection before they even step foot into the space. Ornate glassware and peculiar trinkets line shelves along every window overlooking the street. Boxes of books and racks of clothing are placed in front of the entrance, begging passersby to pursue them.

Lost Eras is an apt name for this antique treasure trove because not only can you stumble across some special pieces, but it’s also easy to get lost within its walls. With more than 50,000 pieces of vintage clothing, and “thousands of styles and genres” of costumes, it’s the kind of place you’ll want to make sure to leave time for.

Inside, the store can be broken down into three main sections — each could be its own shop, that’s how large the space is — you’ll find homeware in one; a mix of clothing, trinkets and art, plus the register, in another; and costumes in the third. You can’t forget about the sprawling basement where you can find things like military fatigues, old school Chicago police uniforms, and the random artillery shell. 

Around since 1969, Lost Eras is more than just an antique store. They also rent stage props for stage productions, television shows and films, both major motion pictures and small school plays. Plus, you can sell your collection to them either by filling out a form online or bringing items to the storefront (they also do free house calls across the country).

3. Lakeside Treasures

After Lost Eras, we’re heading a couple blocks south to Lakeside Treasures, another vintage store tucked in between bustling restaurants and a blocked off street turned into an al fresco outdoor dining room just off the Jarvis Red Line station.

If Lost Eras is the IKEA of antique stores, Lakeside Treasures is your stylish family member’s home — and it’s set up almost like a house too. 

The store has been around for more than two decades. Owned by Betty McDaniel, a retired social worker, Lakeside Treasures is viewed as a “cornerstone of the neighborhood,” according to WBBM.

“I have always loved antiques,” she told the outlet. “As a child, I loved old furniture. I just go out and buy items that I like and hope that a few people will come in and like the items that I chose.”

Walking inside, you’ll notice thriving succulents in funky pots adorning the furniture in the window dressing. Antique handmade furniture, glassware, vessels and tchotchkes are neatly displayed on side tables and dressers. Mirrors and artwork dress the walls like they would in a dining room.

As if you’re walking into someone’s home, follow the length of the store to the back, where you’ll walk into the kitchen. Kitchenware graces the countertops and surrounds the sink. Chairs are cleverly hung on the wall, alleviating space to make room for a table stacked with lampshades. 

4. The Armadillo’s Pillow

Sitting about a mile away from Lakeside Treasures is The Armadillo’s Pillow. The walk would be lovely and refreshing on a warm day, but if Chicago’s weather isn’t cooperating, it’s just two stops south on the Red Line. To find it, take the train to Morse or Loyola and walk the remaining few blocks east toward the lake.

Most neighborhoods have a homey used bookstore, and The Armadillo’s Pillow is Rogers Park’s. Akin to Myopic Books in Wicker Park, the store lets customers know what they’re getting into from the get-go. Books are stacked high on every surface and line shelves in alphabetical order. This isn’t the kind of bookstore that organizes its merchandise in a minimal way. Everything is out, and it’s up to the customer to get digging.

The Armadillo’s Pillow opened its doors in 1994 and has been selling both common and hard-to-find books ever since. But that’s not all, the shop also offers incense, art and handcrafted jewelry. It’s the kind of place you might stumble into and come out the proud owner of books about wooden mallards, France or grammar.



5. Malliway Bros

We’ll conclude the day of shop hopping with a visit to Malliway Bros., part publishing house, part witchcraft specialty store. To find the shop from The Armadillo’s Pillow, walk two blocks north on Sheridan Road to Morse Avenue, which you’ll take until you pass under the Red Line tracks running parallel to Glenwood Avenue. On the southern corner of the street, you’ll spot Malliway Bros.

A scent of incense hits you the moment you walk into Malliway Bros.,  where you’ll likely be greeted by the owners themselves: brothers Blake and Wycke Malliway.

The shop used to occupy a small space a couple of blocks away from 2018 until August 2021, when, after bursting at the seams, the owners decided to move to a bigger space to house supplies and a growing roster of books published by their own company, Crossed Crow Books. Now, the space is also used for events such as release parties, book signings and tarot readings.



Walking around the brick and mortar, you’ll spot dried flowers and herbs, a wide assortment of candles and books galore. You’ll also notice animal parts, from squirrel heads to beaver tails and whiskers. Yes, they are real. The items might not be a sight for the faint of heart, but Blake emphasized all are ethically sourced, meaning the animal died a natural death.

Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner, are looking to learn about witchcraft or fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, the Malliway brothers are ready to answer questions and be of help.

“We’ll answer whatever questions [people] have,” Blake said. “We’ll take as much time as they need to talk through stuff, so it’s never just a one-and-done [conversation]. … We’re as much involved as they want us to be with them.”