Dine, Drink, and Sleep at Longman & Eagle, Chicago
Last year, one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants, Longman & Eagle, expanded into an inn with the creation of six rooms. The owners, two of whom run the music venue Empty Bottle, built and outfitted the whole place. From $85. 2657 N. Kedzie Ave., (773) 276-7110. This appeared in the September, 2012 issue.
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Logan Square is Chicago’s equivalent of Paris’s 10th arrondissement, a mix of gentrification and grit. In addition to fashionable young parents on the way to baby yoga class, there are homeless people pushing shopping carts of their belongings. The local Latino culture coexists with the evolving mix of hipster bars and restaurants including Retro Cocktail, Lula Café (2537 N. Kedzie Ave.), and Table, Donkey and Stick (2728 W. Armitage Ave.), where beer flights accompany upscale European mountain fare. A short bus ride down street art–filled Milwaukee Avenue, past discount furniture stores and sidewalk taco stands, brings you to Gallery F (2381 N. Milwaukee Ave.) representing local urban artists.
Need to Know
Rooms: Six rooms; from $85 per night. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: There’s no room service, but guests can always slip downstairs for breakfast, lunch, bar snacks, and dinner at one of Chicago’s most popular farm-to-table kitchens. Chef Jared Wentworth was a founder of Seattle’s gastropub scene and amps up a simple French toast with pineapple jam, candied Serrano ham, rum, and coconut panna cotta and fresh pineapple. Spa and gym details: Neither are on-site, but around the corner, Spa O (3111 W. Logan Blvd.) offers massage and other treatments, while Logan Square Fitness (2734 N. Milwaukee Ave.) has classes and a workout room.
Who’s it for: Foodie travelers (and heavy sleepers) who want to escape the Chicago tourist circuit but don’t mind staying atop a bar that stays open Saturday until 3 a.m. Our favorite rooms: Number 55, the largest at 351 square feet, has a king-size bed and best view but is also the noisiest, as it sits right over the restaurant and bar. The least expensive rooms, at a bargain $85 per night, have a full-sized bed still suitable for snuggling couples. Dining secret: The Longman & Eagle restaurant officially takes no reservations, but if inn guests slip a word to the innkeeper, they can always get a table, even when the neighborhood regulars face a three-hour wait.
Margarita with a Beer Back at Longman & Eagle, Chicago
Longman and Eagle is a bar, restaurant, and small inn in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. It's very popular for weekend brunch, and I was charmed by being served a mini beer back with my morning margarita.
The food was fantastic: I had rich, cheesy grits with prawns served with the heads on and a peppery sauce. Service was so friendly.
PBR, coffee and a pile of bacon. That's what a Saturday brunch should look like! It's easy to walk right past Longman & Eagle because it's on an unscenic strip of Logan Square; but visitors should do themselves a favor and stop in. The menu runs the gamut from esoteric offerings like pastrami spiced pig head to familiar comfort food like fried chicken and waffles, all utilizing local organic food from neighboring farms in the region. Travelers can also spend the night in the boutique hotel above the restaurant but they need to reserve the rooms in advance because there are only 6 of them.
A 25-minute Blue Line ride from the tourist crowds of the Chicago Loop and Michigan Avenue, Longman & Eagle is a unique case study: It’s a Michelin-starred gastropub whose chefs also serve up stylish innkeeping service. Occupying the top floor of a two-story building facing the L station, the six smartly designed rooms (with an entrance independent from the restaurant) feature hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, original art, and a primary color scheme that offsets spare, modernist furniture by Robert McAdams and Jon Martin of Mode Carpentry—a neighborhood company flourishing on many elegant gentrification projects. Through Longman & Eagle’s pub staff and regulars, guests have insider access to Logan Square, one of Chicago’s up-and-coming neighborhoods. What they won’t get are traditional hotel services such as room service or 24-hour concierge. Independent travelers use the swift and efficient local transportation; taxis for trips into town are easy to come by at the stand across the street from the restaurant. What the rooms lack in soundproofing, they make up for in quality entertainment: HDTVs equipped with Apple TV service, and, in the larger three rooms, vintage cassette players complete with mix tapes.