When a spot is named Wake 'n Bacon (420 W. Belmont Ave.; eatwakenbacon.com ), you can pretty much expect that brunch is quite the specialty. (I haven't had the pleasure of trying that meal there, but I plan to do so.)
However, this Lake View spotensconced in the first floor of an apartment building near Lake Shore Drive but with prominent signage and outdoor swing seatsis expanding its reach into dinnertime (4-9 p.m.), at least during the weekends.
And this casual spot impresses.
Now let it be known: Wake 'n Bacon is not your typical spot, from its very decorative ceiling to Executive Chef Will Silas' global take on various items to the fact that you can add CBD to almost any food or drink item. (After all, this venue IS at 420 W. Belmont Ave.hint, hint.)
The menu, which is full of reasonably priced items, is conveniently divided into "Munchies," "Savory" and "Sweet"and, thankfully, there's not an overwhelming number of items to peruse. (By the way, keep in mind that you order at the counter here, as there are no servers on the floor.)
My dining companion and I decided to try a couple appetizersincluding meat I hadn't tried since childhood: Spam. The Wham Bam Thank You Spam (spiced, battered Spam fries served with housemade chipotle-mayo dip) was memorable for the right reasons, providing just enough Spam-ness to take me back to my elementary-school days. We also tried the street corn bowland, let me tell you, I could totally visualize myself eating this on my sofa while watching a movie on television. It's a comforting mix of tater tots covered with corn, cotija cheese and Wake 'n Bacon's bacon, drizzled with poblano mayo and cilantro lime saucea perfect culinary companion with fall practically here and winter not far away.
However, there are other choices, like the Thai Me Down Salad (red pepper as well as red and green cabbage topped with fried wontons and Thai peanut-salad dressing), togarashi popcorn and The Big John (tater tots topped with sunny-side eggs, house pickled chilies, salsa roja, provolone and "crack bacon"the venue's description, not mine).
For our entrees, my friend and I went in different directions but with the same result: enjoyment. He went with the Holy Al Pastor tacos, which consists of grilled chicken marinated in achiote, garlic and pineapple; it's then topped with roasted pineapple salsa, onion and cilantro, and served in corn tortillas. I opted for the Bombazo Pambazoa Mexican-style sandwich filled with potatoes, chorizo, avocado, sour cream and pineapple-pickled red onions, served on bolillo bread and brushed with guajillo sauce. But there were certainly other items I wanted to try, like the Wake 'n Bacon burger, sweet salmon couscous and Mo' Chicks Mo' Poblanoseven with my low spice tolerance.
Desserts may be throwaways at other places, but Wake 'n Bacon has some intriguing items that are certainly worth devouring. Tops for both of us was the ube (purple yam) creme brulee; the top was almost too caramelized, but the yam (tasting like cereal milk) provided a gustatory balance. (In fact, it was this dish, as well as the tacos, that convinced my friend to say that he'll return to this spot very soon.) The Oreo cookie pie was also delicious, although the cookie aspect seemed to be more with appearance than taste; the dessert certainly tasted of chocolate, but I didn't get the Oreo essence. (Yes, I wrote "Oreo essence.")
And please don't overlook the drink menu. Crafted by the talented Mian, said menu includes Dark Passiona concoction consisting of Casa Magdalena rum, Gifford coconut syrup, Mr. Black Coffee liqueur, Chinola passionfruit liqueur, lemon juice and Angostura bitters. Mian said that the drink is based on the tried-and-true combination of orange and chocolateand that template absolutely worked for this cocktail (which packs a kick). However, if this isn't your thing, there are Guava Me Passion, Express Yo-Self (with espresso, vodka and other ingredients) and that old standby, the Bloody Mary, among others. And, of course, there's a nice variety of non-alcoholic drinks, including juices, Mexican cola and Vybes CBD beverages.
I'm sure many people may have walked by Wake 'n Bacon, either knowingly or unwittingly. However, I urge you to check out this very uniqueand enticingrestaurant.
Note: This visit was arranged.
More reviews and Chicago restaurant news are at future3733.substack.com .