Chicago Neighborhoods: Logan Square

Despite being one of Chicago’s most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, Logan Square is an area steeped in history. Nowhere in the city is its famed boulevard system better represented. These spacious, tree-lined thoroughfares encircle the city, connecting major public parks. Two of these, Logan and Kedzie Boulevards intersect at ‘Logan Square’, a large grassy traffic circle surrounding a 70-foot tall eagle-topped marble column. This Illinois Centennial Monument was designed by architect Henry Bacon, who is perhaps better known for his Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Logan Square neighborhood is just west of the Kennedy Expressway (Routes 90/94). Kimball, Fullerton and Diversey avenues are its main thoroughfares. The actual Square is a picturesque traffic circle at Kedzie and Logan Boulevard, with a small hill and elegant marble column. Recently, vintage lighting fixtures have been installed along the Boulevard to enhance its historic character. Includes Palmer Square as well.

Historic Boulevards

In a city renowned for its boulevards, Logan Square is a neighborhood with four of them in its own National Historic District.

More on those later. First, the food.

At the corner of Western and Armitage Avenues near the eastern border of Logan Square is a time-capsule called Margie’s Candies. It’s been here since 1921, selling chocolates and malteds and devilishly seductive banana splits. Booths still have those little tabletop jukeboxes. They haven’t worked in years, but it’s still fun to flip through the options and find “Muskrat Love” by the Captain and Tennille.

Less than a block east is Sam’s Red Hots. Compared to Margie’s, it’s a newcomer. One of a vanishing breed (the no-frills Chicago hot dog stand) it’s been here a mere 70 years, owned during all that time by just two families.

“Ain’t many of us left,” says employee Julia Rempala as she assembles, with perfection, the quintessential Chicago hot dog: Vienna all-beef frank with yellow mustard, bright green relish, chopped onions and two — always two — potent sport peppers.

And now, something completely different.

On Kedzie Boulevard, near where it meets Logan Boulevard to form the actual Logan Square, is the Lula Cafe. It hasn’t been here nearly as long as Margie’s or Sam’s. On its modest menu are elements of the following cuisines: Moroccan, Italian, Mexican, Indonesian, Japanese, Jewish, Greek and German.

One daily special features stinging nettles. “There are thorns,” advises the waiter, “but they soften during cooking.” A spicy peanut butter sandwich is enhanced with, among other enhancers, red onions, sambal (a chili-based sauce) and Indonesian soy sauce.

Across Kedzie Boulevard from the Lula Cafe — back to boulevards — is Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church (1912), familiarly known as Minnekirken, still conducting services in Norwegian. Down Kedzie Boulevard are many other good things. Same with Palmer Boulevard and Humboldt Boulevard and Logan Boulevard, things that have nothing to do with eating at all.

To drive today along Humboldt, Palmer, Kedzie Boulevards and, especially Logan Boulevard is to see the architectural equivalent of Margie’s Candies — a sweet preservation of something very special from another time.

Logan Square was strongly Norwegian in the early 1900s — Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne, a Norwegian immigrant, lived here as a boy — but it has always been diverse culturally and economically. Five years before the Norwegians built their church, the Irish built St. Sylvester’s on Humboldt Boulevard. A few blocks south, on Fullerton just east of Kedzie Boulevard, stood the grand Logan Square Congregation Shaare Zedek (1922).

Mansions, most built in the first years of the 20th Century by immigrants who hit it big (among them Ignaz Schwinn, the bicycle maker), coexist with more modest houses of the time and with apartment buildings and with churches.
On side streets are humbler houses, many in great shape, some not, and more churches, some Norwegian, some not.

Dominating all is the Illinois Centennial Monument, on Logan Square, designed by Henry Bacon, same man who did the Lincoln Monument. Erected in 1918, the 70-foot column topped by an eagle has been the Logan Square landmark.

So intact were these 2.5 miles of tree-lined boulevards that the system was designated a National Historic District in 1985; the city followed 20 years later by designating the district a Chicago Landmark, further protecting it.

There has been change, of course. The synagogue is gone, demolished in the 1970s; St. Sylvester’s now conducts some of its masses in Spanish. But the neighborhood remains one of first- and second-generation immigrants — 65 percent are Hispanic, from all over — and that, plus pockets of gentrification, have generated an unusually eclectic mix of restaurants.

Locals and visitors find all the Cuban classics (ropa vieja, cerdo estofado, the familiar sandwiches) at Siboney on Western Avenue and at Cafe Laguardia on Armitage Avenue. Mexican offerings range from common taquerias to the uncommon moles at Fuego and at Real Tenochtitlan, both on Milwaukee Avenue.

Mofongo, the Puerto Rican favorite, can be found at cozy Cocina Boricua on Fullerton Avenue. Go Peruvian for the cau caus at Rosa de Lima on Ashland or, around the corner on Armitage, at Rio’s d’Sudamerica.

But there’s also Italian — Buona Terra does sophisticated Northern Italian goodies on California Avenue at rational prices — and barbecue (ribs and rib tips at Fat Willie’s, on Schubert Avenue, are favorites), and coffee shops, and more.

For shoppers, Wolfbait & B-girls, on Logan Boulevard, draws the boutique crowd, and there are a few other specialty stores. Music happens here, at larger venues (the Congress Theater, Logan Square Auditorium) and at clubs scattered about the neighborhood.

Add a throwback: The Logan Theater, on Milwaukee Avenue near the Centennial Monument, dates to 1915, and though it’s gone from single-screen to a four-screen mini-multiplex, it nonetheless represents one of Chicago’s few remaining stand-alone neighborhood movie houses.

Kind of like Sam’s Red Hots being one of a vanishing breed.

“Everything is steamed — your hot dogs, your polish, the tamales, the buns,” says Julia Rempala. “We do it the original way.”

Hold the stinging nettles.


Chicago Tribute Markers of Distinction

  • Other Attractions

Chicago Tribute Markers of Distinction commemorate notable Chicagoans by marking the places where they lived or worked. Since the program started in 1997, eighty markers have been placed across the city. This number will be increased to 100 markers placed by the end of 2009.

Free Admission | 78 E. Washington St. | 312.744.6630

Congress Theater

  • Music

A designated Chicago Landmark, The Congress Theater was built as a movie palace in 1926. Today, the historical theater hosts live performances from a range of genres.

2135 N. Milwaukee Ave. | Tickets: 773.276.1235

Diversey River Bowl

  • Sports & Recreation

Also known as Diversey Rock ‘N’ Bowl, Diversey River Bowl is great for groups and parties. It offers Light Show bowling on Thursday – Sunday, and occasional themed events, such as Lebowski Fest.

2211 W. Diversey Pkwy. | 773.227.5800

Fireside Bowl

  • Sports & Recreation

This awesomely vintage bowling alley opened in the ’40s and has kept most of its period feel. Group rates are available for parties. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.

2648 W. Fullerton Ave. | 773.486.2700

Illinois Centennial Monument

  • Art & Architecture

Dedicated in 1918, this monument commemorates Illinois’ first 100 years of statehood. The 70-foot monument has bas-relief figures at the base supporting a Doric column topped with an eagle.

Free Admission | W. Logan Blvd. & N. Milwaukee Ave.

Kosciuszko Park

  • Parks & Gardens

The park’s Tudor revival-style fieldhouse was designed by Albert A. Schwartz and includes an assembly hall and a swimming pool. The park also has outdoor tennis courts, baseball diamonds, a playground and a spray pool.

Free Admission | 2732 N. Avers Ave. | 312.742.7546

Logan Blvd.

  • Art & Architecture

Logan Blvd. is the northernmost leg of Chicago’s historic boulevards system; they were called “the boulevards of the millionaires” because landowners built stately homes in a wide variety of architectural styles along them. The area of interest runs from 2400 to 3200 West Logan Blvd.

Free Admission | 2400 W. Logan Blvd.

Logan Blvd. Skate Park

  • Sports & Recreation

Located under the I-90/I-94 expressway, Logan Blvd. Skate Park is a free skate park. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.

Free Admission | N. Western Ave. & W. Logan Blvd. | 312.742.7529 (PLAY)

Logan Theater

  • Sports & Recreation

The Logan Theater dates back to 1915. Though it’s grown from single-screen to a four-screen mini-multiplex, it nonetheless represents one of Chicago’s few remaining stand-alone neighborhood movie houses.

2646 N. Milwaukee Ave. | 773.252.0627

Mozart Park

  • Parks & Gardens

The fieldhouse was designed by Albert A Schwartz. The park also has has two baseball diamonds, an outside playground and two outdoor basketball courts.

Free Admission | 2036 N. Avers Ave. | 312.742.7535

Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church

  • Religious locations

The Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, built in 1912, is the only church within 400 miles of Chicago to offer services in Norwegian.

Free Admission | 2614 N. Kedzie Blvd. | 773.252.7335

Palmer Square

  • Parks & Gardens

Part of the boulevard system, Palmer Square is lined with large, beautiful homes in a variety of architectural styles. Originally it was closed to through traffic and used for the recreation of residents.

Free Admission | 3200 W. Palmer Blvd.

Rosa’s Lounge

  • Music

Rosa’s is a real Chicago Blues club with great innovative performers, such as Melvin Taylor who plays psychedelic-style blues similar to Jimi Hendrix. Rosa’s will not disappoint anyone looking for a good show.

3420 W. Armitage Ave. | 773.342.0452

St. Sylvester’s

  • Religious locations

Irish-built St. Sylvester’s on Humboldt Boulevard (1897) is now a bilingual Roman Catholic parish of the Archdiocese of Chicago that celebrates their faith and serves the Logan Square community. Attend masses daily and on weekends in both English and Spanish. Accessibility limitations. Please call site for more information.

Free Admission | 2157 N. Humboldt Blvd. | 773.235.3646

Windy City Field House

  • Sports & Recreation

Available for private parties, Windy City Field House offers classes, leagues and tournaments in basketball, indoor soccer, volleyball, floor & roller hockey, baseball/softball and lacrosse.

2367 W. Logan Blvd. | 773.486.7300


Brand BBQ Market

  • Barbeque

Brand BBQ Market offers high-quality barbeque with uncommon meats, such as pulled duck, pork belly confit, and a hamburger made with beef and “burnt ends.”

2824 W. Armitage Ave. | 773.687.8148

Buona Terra

  • Italian

Owned and operated by Chef Jose “Chepe” Garcia who previously cooked at Tuscany and Riva, Buona Terra serves traditional Italian food at reasonable prices. For a special night, come to a “wine dinner.”

2535 N. California Ave. | 773.289.3800

Café Bella

  • Italian

Café Bella is a cute place with very good food in European, American and Latin styles, made from scratch. Cafe Bella has been featured in Time Out Chicago and Zagat’s.

3311 W. Fullerton Ave. | 773.292.5040

Café Bolero

  • Cuban

Café Bolero serves Cuban food with a fine-dining atmosphere, including candle-light dining in the back room. Check their website for a schedule of live music performances. Reservations are required for Fridays and Saturdays.

2252 N. Western Ave. | 773.227.9000

Café Laguardia

  • Cuban

Featured on Check Please! and Rachael Ray, this Cuban restaurant, with a second location in Dunning, offers a friendly atmosphere and most importantly, delicious food, including the house specialty Paella Valencia.

2111 W. Armitage Ave. | 773.862.5996

Dunlay’s On The Square

  • American (New)

Dunlay’s on the Square serves American comfort food with a gourmet twist and a wide variety of beer, wine, and martinis made with freshly squeezed juices.

3137 W. Logan Blvd. | 773.227.2400

Fat Willy’s Rib Shack

  • American (Traditional)

Fat Willy’s Rib Shack, a serious barbecue restaurant with an inviting atmosphere and friendly staff, has been featured in the Chicago Reader, Check Please!, and the book Eat. Shop. Chicago.

2416 W. Schubert Ave. | 773.782.1800

Hachi’s Kitchen

  • Japanese

Chef and owner Jim Bee is well known throughout Chicago for his innovation, dedication and artfulness in the realm of sushi. For 20 years, he has been serving the freshest and highest quality seafood to his patrons at Sai Café in Lincoln Park.

2521 N. California Ave. | 773.226.8080

Honey 1 BBQ

  • Barbeque

Using traditional Arkansas wood-smoked BBQ, your meal takes a little more time to cook at Honey 1 BBQ, but it’s worth the wait.

2241 N. Western Ave. | 773.227.5130

Hotti Biscotti

  • Other

Hotti Biscotti is known for hosting experimental and noise bands, with open mic night on Wednesdays. For those who aren’t in the band, there are board games and Saturday movie screenings. The menu changes daily based on what the chef-owner feels like cooking – and whatever it is, it is always cheap.

3435 W. Fullerton Ave. | 773.292.6877

Katakana & Koko Sushi Bar

  • Japanese

Katakana & Koko is a large (4,000 sq ft) restaurant with sushi. In addition to traditional sushi, it also has rolls with unconventional ingredients, such as goat cheese.

2829 W. Armitage Ave. | 773.235.2199

Knew Restaurant

  • American (New)

Try Knew Restaurant for fine dining and interesting entrees, such as a prime buffalo filet in a red wine balsamic reduction sauce.

2556 W. Fullerton Ave. | 773.772.7721

Logan Bar & Grill

  • American (Traditional)

Logan Bar and Grill has ten beers on tap and 50 varieties in bottles. Come to team trivia on Saturdays at 8 pm or enjoy the beer garden, sports games, and fireplaces at your leisure.

2230 N. California Ave. | 773.252.1110

Logan Square Cafés and Coffeehouses

  • Dining

Enjoy coffee and a book by the fireplace at Cherubs Café (2524 W. Fullerton Ave.), snack and sip from early morning until late night at Café con Leche (2714 N. Milwaukee Ave.), or sample the sandwiches and treats at New Wave Coffee (3103 W. Logan Blvd.).

2400 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Logan Square Latin American Dining

  • Mexican

For Mexican favorites along with Spanish-language karaoke, stop by La Puebla (2658 N. Milwaukee Ave.). Open twenty-four hours, Lazo’s Tacos is a great late night stop (2009 N. Western Ave.). For Cuban specialties, stop by 90 Miles Cuban Café (2540 W. Armitage Ave.). Find a casual breakfast, lunch or dinner, and traditional Puerto Rican cuisine at La Cocina Boricua (2420 W. Fullerton Ave.).

2400 N. Sacramento Ave.

Longman & Eagle

  • Gastropubs

This new entry to the gastropub scene features a wide range of beverages and serves food nightly until 1 am.

2657 N. Kedzie Ave. | 773.276.7110

Lula Café

  • American (New)

Lula lives up to its reputation as a great restaurant with truly international and sometimes eccentric cuisine; they don’t take reservations so be prepared to wait.

2537 N. Kedzie Blvd. | 773.489.9554

Margie’s Candies

  • Food Retail: Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt

Open since 1921, this tiny old-fashioned ice cream shop has a large menu of sundaes, shakes, and other tasty desserts involving homemade ice cream and candies. Accessibility limitations. Please contact site for more information.

1960 N. Western Ave. | 773.384.1035

Milwaukee Ave. Nightlife

  • Bar

Enjoy music, dancing and more at Tini Martini (2169 N. Milwaukee Ave) or Lucky Number Grill (1931 N. Milwaukee Ave.) If beer is your thing, try one of dozens of options at The Rocking Horse (2535 N. Milwaukee Ave.). For the latest music along with bespoke cocktails and an art gallery, stop by The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.).

2200 N. Milwaukee Ave,.

Pierre’s Bakery

  • Pastries

Pierre’s Bakery specializes in international pastries and is best known for the Atomic Cake, with a layer each of cheesecake, chocolate and strawberry cakes.

2747 N. Milwaukee Ave. | 773.252.8888


  • American (Traditional)

Quenchers has been offering an extensive selection of beers since opening in 1979. Stop by to experience one or more of their 300 varieties of beer, food including Tater Tot Pizza, live music, free wi-fi, free popcorn, and a vintage photo booth.

2401 N. Western Ave. | 773.276.9730

Real Tenochtitlan Restaurant

  • Mexican

Real Tenochitlan Restaurant specializes in regional Mexican dishes beyond tacos and burritos in a classy atmosphere. Reservations are available online at

2451 N. Milwaukee Ave. | 773.227.1050

Revolution Brewing

  • Bar

Located in the trendy Logan Square neighborhood, Revolution Brewing is one of Chicago’s craft brewing companies. Try the Bacon Fat Popcorn at their restaurant, which also has vegan-friendly options.

2323 N. Milwaukee Ave. | 773.227.BREW(2739)

Rio’s D’Sudamerica

Try traditional and contemporary Peruvian cuisine at this fine dining restaurant.

2010 W. Armitage Ave. | 773.276.0170

Rosa De Lima

  • Latin American

Go Peruvian for the “cau caus” at Rosa De Lima. Enjoy their much raved about roasted chicken and plantains for a reasonably cheap price, or sip on a Peruvian cocktail, like a Pisco or a Lucuma sour.

2013 N. Western Ave. | 773.342.4557

Sam’s Red Hots

  • Hot Dogs

One of a vanishing breed, family-owned Sam’s Red Hots has been at Armitage and Western for 70 years. Enjoy a traditional Chicago style hot dog and side of fries for a cheap eat.

2375 W. Armitage Ave. | N/A


  • Cuban

For authentic Cuban cuisine and live music, look no further than Siboney.

2165 N. Western Ave. | 773.904.7210

Streetside Bar and Grill

  • American (Traditional)

Enjoy your microbrewery beers (both on tap and bottled) along with inventive American sandwiches, burgers and wings at Streetside Bar and Grill’s two fireplaces.

3201 W. Armitage Ave. | 773.252.9700


Armitage Bike Shop

  • Bikes

Armitage Bike Shop, a family-owned store, is the place to go for new bikes, used bikes, fixed-gear bikes and skateboarding equipment. Open since 1995, the store is known for carrying a huge selection of bike accessories.

3601 W. Armitage Ave. | 773.489.2175

Challengers Comics

  • Comic Books

This large comic book store has its own social networking website and regular game nights and book release events.

1845 N. Western Ave. | 773.278.0155

Logan Hardware

  • Music and DVDs

Located in a former hardware store, Logan Hardware specializes in music from independent record labels but also has board games, handmade goods, new and used DVDs and home stereo equipment.

2410 W. Fullerton. Ave. | 773.235.5030

U-Spy Store

  • Hobby Shops

U-Spy features spy gear such as cameras disguised in key-chains, lighters, sun-glasses and wrist-watches; hidden audio recorders; lock pick kits; video surveillance; and forensic investigation supplies.

2406 W. Fullerton Ave. | 773.529.2779 (2SPY)

Wolfbait & B-girls

  • Fashion

For local Chicago designers and unique, handmade pieces, the fashion and gift boutique Wolfbait & B-girls is a Logan Square “must.” The inventory changes daily.

3131 W. Logan Blvd. | 312.698.8685


Bucktown, Humboldt Park & Logan Square

  • Bus,
  • Walking

This Chicago Neighborhood Tour takes you to experience the three distinct and uniquely Chicago characters that are Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Logan Square on the city’s Near West Side.

77 E. Randolph St. | 312.742.1190 (TTY: 312.744.2947)


Logan Square Farmers Market

  • Culinary Events,
  • Farmers Markets

Logan Square Farmers Market is run independently by the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce.

Free Admission | Logan Blvd & Milwaukee Ave | 773.489.3222

Location & Area

  • North Boundary: 2800 N Diversy
  • South Boundary: 2400 N Fullerton
  • East Boundary: 2400 W Western
  • West Boundary: 3600 W Central Park
  • Primary Zip Code: 60647

Current Trends and Facts of Logan Square Chicago

Logan Square is famous for its wide, tree-studded boulevards and parkways lined by distinguished mansions and elegant vintage buildings. Historically, many wealthy Chicago merchants built massive greystones, creating many modern opportunities for single- and multi-family homes.

With stops on the CTA’s Blue Line and immediate access to the highway system, residents are able to commute to many areas in the city and suburbs from Logan Square.

Entrepreneurs and artists pioneered gentrification of the area; so there are many eclectic, restaurants, shops and coffeehouses that appeal to residents and visitors alike. The annual art, music and craft fairs are among Chicago’s best.