This small Wicker Park restaurant may have a hipster reputation and yes, it is popular among bike messengers, fixed-gear riders and the proudly mustached. Oh, and it’s got a vegetarian and vegan menu. But don’t let that scare you away. The food is absolutely delicious—regardless of your thoughts on a meatless lifestyle—and it has plenty of great drinks at a full-service bar and beer garden that’s open until 2 am.
Opened in 2003, the restaurant features fair-trade, organic eggs and produce from local farms and breakfast every day until 3 pm. The menu has a bit of a southwest flavor to it, with items like black bean tostatas, chili cheese fries and a fried avocado taco. Additional appetizers include fried pickles and spicy cilantro-yogurt samosas. Most of the food is vegetarian, with a vegan option available on request.
On the breakfast side, the country-fried portobella is an interesting take on a country classic, with a jalapeno cream gravy, mashed potatoes and collard greens topped with a fried egg or blackened tofu. The Handlebar omelet comes with smoked gouda, walnut, pears and breakfast potatoes, and the smoked paprika shrimp and grits are served with Wisconsin aged cheddar and sautéed spinach.
Entrees include a blacked catfish, fish tacos and a meatless Sloppy Joe made with carne de soya. The veggie chili mac and cheese is another popular choice.
There’s plenty of parking for bikes, although if you drive, good luck finding a spot on North Avenue. The outdoor seating is great in the warm weather, and while the inside is definitely on the small size, the friendly staff usually makes it work.