By Shenali Perera
Aside from one 7-Eleven and a small Furious Spoon, there are no chains or franchises in Logan square, one of the trendier, cooler neighborhoods of Chicago. Just a half-hour drive from the heart of the city, Logan Square is home to many artisanal coffee shops, steampunk-chic restaurants and bars, and quirky clothing and personal care boutiques. As soon as I stepped out into the street I was greeted with friendly faces, mostly families and young couples, along with the sharp smell of coffee and a strange number of pet grooming boutiques.
Graffiti decorates nearly every open space, from the sides of buildings to under bridges to ATMs; it’s everywhere and it’s beautiful. These magnificent pieces of art imbue the neighborhood with its vibrancy and artistic flare.
That aesthetic travels inside buildings as well, namely the Emporium, an arcade/bar, in Logan Square. Lined with detailed illustrations of spaceships and intergalactic battles, Emporium becomes Logan Square’s Farmer’s Market on Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm. Family, couples, and seniors, come out to sample some of Chicago’s best local farm and food businesses. You can find locally sourced honey, meats, salamis and juicy fresh fruit. It also houses handmade specialty tea blends from Senteamental Moods, homemade hummus from The Chick and the Pea, and even all-natural vegan cosmetics from the Waterfall Glen Soap Company (I became quite a fan of their Citrus Grove body butter). The Farmer’s Market is a genuine and welcoming community and an excellent opportunity to get to know about the greater Chicago area's produce businesses.
I could spend hours exploring modish, stylish boutique stores, of which Logan Square hosts plenty. The Galerie F is an art exhibition/gallery that also sells prints, posters, and records. Ranging from $10 to $500, their pieces are an eclectic mix that showcases many artists and varied tastes. Wolfbait and B-girl is a stationary/clothing/personal care store with delicate handmade jewelry and rich handcrafted candles and soaps, all from local businesses and Etsy stores. Steel Petal Press is another stationary shop with a sense of humor, a great place to get gifts for your friends and yourself. A personal favorite of mine was the “Dear mom, you raised a good kid (if I do say so myself)” Mother’s Day card.
Logan Square has so many bustling restaurants with Instagramable decor and Bang, Bang Pie and Biscuits is a case in point. This bakery/restaurant serves only pie and biscuits and is known to have the best chicken pot pie in the city. I also recommend the Chocolate Pecan pie, which manages to be rich without being too sweet. With only two locations in Chicago, there is a permanent line trailing out the door and down the street. It’s that good. Another food stop worth mentioning is Katherine Anne Confections. Katherine, the namesake of the shop, has allegedly been making caramels since she was ten years old. Her dedication has evidently paid off; her caramels are award-winning, and if you don’t believe me, the awards are placed on a stool in the corner. Their thick European hot chocolate and marshmallows are also made in-house. It is a gem tucked away in Logan Square.
If you are looking for a more active experience, you can check out one of the neighborhood's many parks, such as Humbolt Park or Logan Square Park, the latter of which is situated at the heart of the neighborhood and connects directly to the main commercial street, N Milwaukee Ave. The Logan Theatre is another social hub and is also showing Oscar winning/worthy movies during its A Late Night at the Logan Series. With its enticing restaurants, chic boutique stores and charming scenery, I sincerely recommend Logan Square if you’re looking for a fun-filled day with friends and family.