the franklin room
Rockit Ranch Productions
berrista coffee
white oak tavern & inn
sean cooley
alliance patisserie
Barley & Brass
sean cooley
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1. The Franklin Room 675 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Near North Side)

This whiskey-focused tavern is from the Union Sushi + Barbecue folks, who're doing classic comfort food like chick-fried ribeye, fried bologna, and Reuben sandwiches, as well as a healthy selection (as in, large amount-healthy, not, like, healthy-healthy) of cheese and charcuterie boards.

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2. Duck Inn 2701 S Eleanor, Chicago, IL 60608 (Bridgeport Sox)

The name of this spot might conjure up images of a cute bed and breakfast, but in reality, The Duck Inn is a stylish restaurant decked in bare brick and orange accents that specializes in -- you guessed it -- duck. They aren't playing around here: The seasoned rotisserie duck, four-course chef's tasting menu, and creative dishes like potted foie gras and scallop and clam stew earned it a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2016.

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3. Berrista Coffee 4219 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60641 (Irving Park)

This coffee shop and café from Chef Homaro Cantu (ING, Moto) is a far cry from the usual caffeine-slinging suspects, thanks to a menu built entirely around the Miracle Berry, a peculiar fruit that transforms bitter and sour flavors into sweet ones. This allows Chef/partner Azeez Yusuf to create dishes like chicken and sourdough-based waffles which, when consumed after letting the berry dissolve on your tongue, taste sweet without any added sugar.

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4. White Oak Tavern & Inn 1200 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

White Oak Tavern's a rustic, farm-driven resto with second-floor lodging accommodations and one of Chicago's all-time great snacks: caramel popcorn with candied pecans, bourbon maple, and aged Gouda. Yup. Also worth ordering: a massive duck board laden with fried duck leg, duck liver mousse, cherry mustard, pickled cauliflower, and grilled bread, or (/and?) a tender beef shoulder paired with potato polenta.

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5. WhirlyBall Bucktown 1825 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (Bucktown)

Whirlyball combines lacrosse, basketball, and a bumper car arena -- and it's also super fun. This gigantic Whirly complex in Bucktown is complete with a 32-strong beer list, Buffalo chicken BLTs, bowling, laser tag, and 60 flat screens.

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6. Alliance Patisserie 615 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

An offshoot of popular Alliance Bakery in Wicker Park, this 20-seat sweets emporium in the former Grahamwich space offers hungry Downtown shoppers a French-leaning alternative to the area’s myriad cupcake and donut shops. Indulge in everything from macaroons and eclairs to fancy French desserts that aren't, um, eclairs. Pair it all with copious amounts of Bow Truss coffee.

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7. Barley & Brass 2015 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

The same people who brought us excellent burger stop 25 Degrees have transformed the former Fame space on Division into a dimly lit, casual bar and eatery sporting plenty of leather seating and exposed brick alongside a marble-topped oak bar. Stop in for kegged cocktails, re-imagined classic cocktails, and an array of bar snacks including poutine, lollipop wings, and Greek-inspired sliders with feta and tzatziki.

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8. Wonuts 835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Gold Coast)

The folks behind Waffles Café opened up a small stand in Water Tower Place that's dedicated to the eponymous hybrid treat. The simple shop is super tiny (like, no tables or chairs tiny), but if you want an instant iced red velvet Wonut and an Intelligentsia coffee on the go, this is your jam.