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Best by Transit: Chicago’s Pink Line

By Nicole Thompson

I never acquired my driver’s license because I never quite passed driver’s education in high school. While it’s a secret shame, the passenger-side travel gives me time to take in my surroundings as I advance toward my destination. This consistent buzz along the transit line has allowed me to discover quite a few hotspots. Finding my way about the city using the help of trains, buses, or making my rounds by foot also helps me find places to spend my time.

The Chicago ‘L’ has acted as my personal chariot, chauffeuring me from place to place. The Pink Line is especially gifted at taking me to interesting places about the city. The Pink Line, which runs between 54th/Cermak Station in Cicero, Illinois and the Loop in downtown, offers a variety of restaurants, markets, and attractions. There are twenty-two stations, and of those, I will cover a few choice hotspots located near eight of those stops. I’ve excluded stops within the Loop because there are so many vibrant places to be explored within it, that The Loop beckons a hotspot list of its very own.

54th/Cermak(2151 S. 54th Avenue)

United Grill  2145 South Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804-2352

The low-cost grub hub is the ideal place for late night drunken gatherings or the mid-day consumption of bacon and eggs. Frequent goers of United Grill hold it in high regard because of its nonsense, greasy diner mentality.

Pulaski (2021 S. Pulaski Road)
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria  3859 West Ogden Avenue, Chicago, IL 60623

Some of the best Chicago-style deep dish pizza around, come to Lou Malnati’s to experience a triumphant cohesion of fresh ingredients.

California(2010 S. California Avenue)
Chan’s Garden‎  2825 West Cermak Road, Chicago, IL 60623
Urbanspoon, Yelp and Menupages reviewers alike have given this Chinese food mecca stunning ratings. This is impart due to their high quality food, great value and overall attention to service.

Pete’s Fresh Market‎ 2526 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60608
Located in a neighborhood of well-stocked grocery stores (Aldi, El Guero, Midwest Food, Cermak Produce, etc.), Pete’s still manages to stand out. They offer stellar deals on fresh produce and poultry. Also, they are equipped with capable and attentive employees.

Los Corrales‎ 2881 West Cermak Road, Chicago, IL 60623-3513
The family owned restaurant offers authentic, mouth-watering Mexican cuisine at pocket-friendly prices. Also, the guacamole is far beyond amazing.

Damen(2010 S. Damen Avenue)
Abuelo’s‎–  2007 South Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608-2624
El Fua, the restaurant’s new name, is a small Mexican dive which offers everything from flavorful tortilla soup to the Mexican-style classics like burritos, tortas and fajitas.

18th(1710 W. 18th Street)
National Museum of Mexican Art‎ 1852 West 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608-2706
The NMMA has promoted the culture and art of Mexican citizens globally for the past twenty-five years, hosting exhibits of well-known artists, sharing Mexican film series, and gathering communities for film festivals.

Fogata Village Restaurant‎ 1820 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608
The vegan-friendly breakfast/brunch Mexican/Italian restaurant has mouth-watering dishes. Not only does this delicious eatery welcome sit-downs, it also offers delivery.

Taqueria Los Comales‎ 1544 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608-2824
Located in Little Village since the 70’s, Los Comales features its specialties: the “Al Pastor” taco, el platillo de cecina, and their homemade salsa.

Nuevo Leon Restaurant‎ 1515 West 18th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60608
Though the line to this delicious restaurant lingers into the streets, the family owned establishment offers homely service and savory and quality food.

Polk (1713 W. Polk Street)
Pompei‎ 1531 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607-4015
This establishment offers gourmet hand rolled pizzas, hand cut pasta and signature pizza strudel.

De Pasada‎ 1517 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607
The lengua tacos and tamarind jarritos are only some of De Pasada’s  main attractions. The restaurant is also BYOB and it offers delivery.

Golden Thai Inc‎ 1509 W Taylor St # 1, Chicago, IL 60607-4050
University Village/Little Italy’s premier Thai eatery is best known for its value and quality. While some argue it isn’t the best Thai in the area, the food as well as the staff is ambitious.

Conte Di Savoia‎ 1438 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607-4623
The Italian gourmet cheese, meat and bread shop also offers delicious sandwiches, potato salad and salad. They also have Gelato for $1.

Clinton (540 W. Lake Street)
New Line Tavern‎201 North Clinton Street, Chicago, IL 60661-1227
Located in the West Loop, New Line offers a full menu of tasty entrees, appetizers and bar bites. The also have wine, beer and mixed drink galore.

Trattoria Isabella‎ 217 North Jefferson Street, Chicago, IL 60661-1318
The warm, romantic setting stages as the perfect location for a great evening out with friends or a charming evening between beaus. The filet mignon, chicken, veal chop and seafood entrees are well executed here.

N9NE Steakhouse ‎440 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60606
This upscale steakhouse is stocked with amazing seafood and sizzling steak. While the doors only stay open for a few limited hours during lunch and dinner, there are no others like the N9NE.

Chicago French Market‎ 131 North Clinton Street, Chicago, IL 60606
The Chicago French Market is a gathering of vendors, who sell cheese, baked things, coffee, meats, produce, pasta and prepared meals. They are open from Monday-Friday (7:00a.m. – 7:00p.m.) and Saturday (8:30a.m. – 5:30 p.m.)

Other notables along the Pink Line: Union Park, United Center (Ashland stop), Morton College (54th Cermak),  Cook County Jail, Little Village, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Douglas Park (California), Ogilvie Transportation Center Chicago Transit Authority (Clinton)

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