The Run Down

After a long week, or to start off a new week on a relaxed note, whichever way you look at it, a peaceful Sunday morning is just what the doctor ordered. To achieve that, you’ll spend your morning in Lincoln Park where you’ll kick off the day with comfort food at Batter & Berries before recharging with some caffeine at Coffee Lab & Roasters. Finally, you’ll escape to another world at Three Avenues Bookshop.

1. Comfort food @ Batter & Berries

2. Caffeine fix @ Coffee Lab & Roasters

3. Books galore @ Three Avenues Bookshop

1. Batter & Berries

You’ll kick off the morning with a comforting brunch. Head west of Lake Michigan until you come across the street sign for the name of the 16th president of the United States. You’ll be met with an exuberant yellow awning depicting a plethora of berries next to purple lettering spelling out Batters & Berries and be reassured you’ve made the correct choice for the first meal of the day.

On a weekend, chances are high that a line of hungry locals is formed anxiously around the entrance. Add your name to the waiting list — it’s recommended to use their online system to lessen your wait time. It’ll be worth it.

The yellow door acts as a portal to your favorite aunt’s house — you know, the eclecticly dressed one who was always cooking up something classic. The dining room is generally packed to the brim, akin to a family reunion. Wooden kitchen tables are reminiscent of a childhood Thanksgiving dinner, and the yellow walls are full of modernized art that pairs well with the soothing cuisine you’re about to inhale.

Tanya and Craig Richardson founded Batter & Berries in 2012 with a mission to serve its customers food that nourishes the soul. The restaurant sensation lives up to its name by serving delicately mixed French toast batters and sauces made with fresh fruit.

If you’re seeking even more comfort in your meal, the Cluck & Gravy is a southern staple of homemade buttermilk biscuits and chicken sausage gravy. For those who want to get an early start to weekend shenanigans, Batter & Berries is BYOB, so bring some champagne, and they’ll gladly provide the freshly squeezed orange juice.

Batter & Berries, according to its website, strives to be a melting pot for its community and supply raw joy to its patrons. After all, owner Craig Richardson believes the restaurant is in the “happy people business.”

2. Coffee Lab & Roasters

It’s not uncommon to require a boost of energy to keep your morning trucking along, especially after a brunch that filling. Take yourself about a block west where you’ll spot a coffee shop with a black-and-white, modern exterior. Welcome to Coffee Lab & Roasters.

Independently owned, Coffee Lab & Roasters prides itself on being a neighborhood essential that serves up espresso-based drinks and coffee using certified fair-trade beans freshly roasted by BCBC Coffee Roasters, a Chicago-based specialty coffee roaster. Owners Helen Kim and Peter Moon succeed at delivering a one-of-a-kind product that differentiates itself from that much larger coffee chain that’s located on seemingly every street corner.

Upon entering the box-like building, you’ll be greeted by a barista and an array of scrumptious-looking pastries. Behind them is an abundance of drinks plastered on the menu. Check out their seasonal drink menu for some interesting coffee orders, but you can’t go wrong with a cortado or their famous Kyoto-style cold brew made through a slow-drip extraction process.

Once your coffee arrives, take a load off in the seating area; although it’s not sizable, chances are you’ll be able to snag a seat. The space is minimalist, urging visitors to sip and chill in for a while. If the weather permits, sit outside and get a front-row seat for people-watching. But if you’re feeling energized enough, keep trucking down Lincoln Avenue with your caffeine and get lost in the exploration before the final stop.

3. Three Avenues Bookshop

What’s better than shopping for books with a belly full of French toast and a brain wired from caffeine? A few blocks further west, you’ll come across Three Avenues Bookshop at the six-way intersection of Lincoln Avenue, Wellington Avenue and Southport Avenue.

It’s easy to mistake the shop for your average Lincoln Park apartment complex as it lives in a long, brownstone-like building akin to many others in the neighborhood.

Three Avenues Bookshop is a family-run independent bookstore that opened in 2022. Founded by partners Tim Wurman and Jordan Felkey, this community staple aims to promote literacy and bring their neighborhood together in the name of storytelling. Having dreamt about owning a small business, Tim said it was during the COVID-19 pandemic that he landed on opening a bookstore.

The intimate bookstore is like browsing your middle school library as a kid thanks to its organized setup and various nooks of specific genres. Choices aren’t abundant here; instead, staff carefully curate a selection of reads for both children and adults. Don’t be shy to inquire about the passionate and charismatic staff members’ “Team Picks” recommendations or just to simply gush about literature with them.

Beyond books, other items scattered throughout the store include everything from games and puzzles to coffee beans and loose-leaf tea. Suffice it to say, Three Avenues’ welcoming atmosphere and staff’s affectionate attitude invite you to stay a while. To quote the store’s website: “We believe in independent bookstores and the power that stories have to open our minds and bring people together.”