Discover Something New at Home in Chicago

Posted Nov 20th 2013 11:00 AMUpdated Dec 20th 2013 10:59 AM

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Shutterstock / Rudy Balasko
In Chicago, some things never change. Winter extends from early fall to the end of spring. Commuters grow old sitting in gridlocked traffic. And the Cubs find ways to lose. But all the things that make the Windy City an addictive place -- the neighborhoods, the lakefront, the food, the music -- are also still here, along with some surprises for those who haven't been back in a while.

New Restaurant: Honey Butter Fried Chicken

If you love the taste of fried chicken but hate the bones, check out Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Avondale. There are no bones, save for the drumsticks, and they give you -- you guessed it -- honey butter to slather on the mouthwatering fried chicken and corn muffins. Founded by the chefs who started the popular underground Sunday Dinner Club, this place has been jammed since it opened in September. Try to arrive as close to the 5 p.m. opening time as possible to avoid long lines.

Newly Hip Hood: Avondale

In recent years, Logan Square has evolved from an ordinary working-class neighborhood into a haven for fair-trade-coffee-loving, ironically-crummy-old-bicycle-driving hipsters. Now the surrounding neighborhoods are also changing, as evidenced by a host of new developments in Avondale, a traditionally Polish neighborhood just north of Logan Square. Aside from Honey Butter Chicken and overhyped foodie favorites Hot Doug's and Kuma's Corner, try the malty Burning Bridges Brown Ale from Chicago nanobrewery Spiteful at the Beer Temple, the world-class barbecue at the Pork Shoppe or the tasty bar food at the Orbit Room.

Word on the Street

You're probably aware that the once-lowly Blackhawks are now a dynasty in the making, but did you know that Mario Batali and partner Joe Bastianich are opening a 63,000-square-foot temple to gastronomy in River North? Eataly will include eight Italian-themed restaurants, a gourmet market, a butcher shop, an in-house brewery and pizza and mozzarella bars. According to Crain's Chicago Business, the place is set to open on November 22 or 29, so stop by and see if the hype is warranted.

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Dave Seminara is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago. He moved to the city from New York in 1997 and met his future wife on his first day in town. He moved away twice for reasons that are still unclear to him but kept coming back to Chicago. Eight years in Chicagoland have taught him how to beat parking tickets, eat lunch out for $5 or less and ride his bike around town without getting run over.

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