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The Grid: Ravenswood’s choice eats

Ravenswood is a hub for a creative class of artisans and craftsmen and the independent studios that line the “Industrial Corridor” anchored by Lillstreet Art Center and celebrated annually at the Ravenswood Art Walk.

Mural on the loading dock door of Lillstreet Art Center in the 4400 block of North Ravenswood Avenue. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Mural on the loading dock door of Lillstreet Art Center in the 4400 block of North Ravenswood Avenue. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

There are lot of hand-crafted elements embedded into Ravenswood, and that level of care permeates into daily life, exemplified in the neighborhood’s independently owned restaurants and drinking hangouts on “Malt Row.”

Bayan Ko

1810 W. Montrose

Chef Lawrence Letrero melds his Filipino heritage with his partner Raquel Quadreny’s Cuban roots on Bayan Ko’s menu. Best sellers include pancit luglug (Filipino noodle dish served with uni and scallops topped with raw egg yolk and chicharron) and ropa vieja (Cuban shredded beef brisket served with fried sweet plantains and black beans).

Lawrence Letrero (right) and Raquel Quadreny (left) are the team behind Bayan Ko restaurant.  | Brian Rich/Sun-Times
Lawrence Letrero (right) and Raquel Quadreny (left) are the team behind Bayan Ko restaurant. | Brian Rich/Sun-Times
Ropa vieja at Bayan Ko restaurant made with beef brisket, maduros, and black beans.  | Brian Rich/Sun-Times
Ropa vieja at Bayan Ko restaurant made with beef brisket, maduros, and black beans. | Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Over Easy Cafe

4943 N. Damen

Since 2007, Over Easy Cafe has had a cult following for its breakfast/brunch — from “sassy” (pork chorizo-jalapeño-red pepper-potato hash, cheese, ancho ketchup, sour cream and guacamole) to “frazzled” eggs (scrambled served over fried bologna with spicy maple mustard). There’s also an incredible selections of pancakes and French toast.

Glenn’s Diner

1820 W. Montrose

An institution known for fresh seafood and a fun cereal display behind the bar, Glenn’s also serves breakfast all day along with “all you can eat” Alaskan king crab legs on Tuesdays and “you-peel-them” shrimp on Thursdays. Bloody Marys come with a skewer of cocktail shrimp.

Spacca Napoli

1769 W. Sunnyside

For over a decade, customers have spent time in long lines to try Jonathan Goldsmith’s Neapolitan pizza. Many consider his well-sourced, high-quality pies the most authentic Neapolitan in the city.

Urban Vegan

1601-1603 W. Montrose

Urban Vegan offers Thai flavors for vegans with protein substitutes from soy chicken and soy fish to soy shrimp. Chef specials include curries, spicy eggplant and basil stir-fry.

For authentic Thai cuisine without restrictions, head to foodie favorite Aroy Thai, at 4654 N. Damen.

Fountainhead

1970 W. Montrose

Fountainhead has over 40 drafts and a selection of more than 600 whiskeys. Sample the elevated pub food and, in the summer, check out the rooftop beer garden.

BienMeSabe

1637 W. Montrose

Order arepas, empanadas, or the larger entree Parrilla — Angus grilled strip steak with longaniza sausage and beans. BienMeSabe translates to “tastes good to me” and is also the name for a Venezuelan coconut cream cake.

Mural on the west facing wall of Bien Me Sabe Venezuelan Cafe in the 1600 block of West Montrose Avenue in Ravenswood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Mural on the west facing wall of Bien Me Sabe Venezuelan Cafe in the 1600 block of West Montrose Avenue in Ravenswood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Budacki’s

4739 N. Damen

You can get your hot dog or Polish fix but you’ll be surprised to discover a “Seoul Steak Bowl” on the menu — Korean style grilled ribeye over rice.

Budacki’s Hot Dogs in the 4700 block of North Damen Avenue in Ravenswood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Budacki’s Hot Dogs in the 4700 block of North Damen Avenue in Ravenswood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Chez Simo

1968 W. Lawrence

This is a classic French bistro that’s BYOB, lovingly maintained by owner Simo Yacobi. Mondays through Fridays, partake in an early dinner (before 6:30 p.m.) prix fixe for $27 that includes an appetizer, entree and dessert.

River Valley Farmers Table

1820 W. Wilson

This farm-to-table restaurant and community grocery store is an offshoot of River Valley Farm in Wisconsin. Since 1976, the farm has been growing chemical-free mushroom varieties and seasonal vegetable and herbs.

River Vally Farmer’s Table in the 1800 block of West Wilson Avenue in Ravenswood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
River Vally Farmer’s Table in the 1800 block of West Wilson Avenue in Ravenswood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Band of Bohemia

4710 N. Ravenswood

Band of Bohemia has the distinction of being the first Michelin-starred brew pub where the upscale dining menu is designed to perfectly complement the freshly brewed beers.