Normally when someone suggests a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, I’m hesitant to go along with it. I am so glad I didn’t shy away from Handlebar. Located at 2311 W. North Ave., this cozy spot is tucked into the busy Wicker Park neighborhood. Handlebar serves made-from-scratch vegetarian and vegan comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On a gorgeous Sunday morning, this was a perfect brunch place. The outdoor patio has lots of tables, but feels serene and quiet. Breakfast items are served until 3 pm every day. I started with a deliciously spicy Bloody Mary, topped with a fried pickle; Handlebar’s signature touch. My friend ordered the Roasted Mushroom Omelet: organic eggs packed with mushrooms, Wisconsin cheddar cheese, and scallions. The giant omelet was served with breakfast potatoes and sourdough toast. The potatoes were perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I couldn’t quite bring myself to order a vegetarian breakfast, so I went with the Smoked Paprika Shrimp and Grits. The shrimp were large and tender, nestled into a bed of cheesy grits, sauteed spinach, and sweet potato crisps. Before ordering, the sweet potatoes gave me pause, but they were my favorite part of the dish. I also added two over-easy eggs, making this a rich and tasty breakfast.
Handlebar has an extensive lunch and dinner menu as well. The kitchen is open from 10 am to midnight Sundays through Thursdays and until 1230 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Brunch is served from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Handlebar does not take reservations, so if you’re going at a peak time, I’d suggest showing up a titch early. You can also order online; check it out here.
RACHEL HOOVLER & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO