Tag Archives: NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT

If you’re looking for a warm and inviting place to escape the winter, Shokran is the place. While located in the Irving Park neighborhood, most would call this off-the-beaten-path. It’s not downtown and it’s not in a fancy restaurant area like Wicker Park. But that doesn’t mean it’s not special. Shokran (meaning ‘thank you’) is extremely special. And insanely good.

Despite it’s simple and nondescript location, the interior is anything but. The ceilings are adorned with fabric and booths are covered in jewel tone cushions. It’s orange, red, yellow, and blue decor transports you far away from the busy and bustling Irving Park Road. In addition, walls are covered in photographs of Morrocan markets, ornate lanterns light up the space, and candles add to a cozy atmosphere. 

And the food! You will not be disappointed. It’s affordable and the portions are generous. One of my favorite dishes is the lamb Fez, a tagine made with prunes, almonds, and hard-boiled eggs. Be sure to try the lamb kabob and don’t leave before you have had the Chicken Bastilla. It’s a traditional dish served at weddings made with crispy phyllo dough, layered with chicken, eggs, and almonds. It was so good, we forgot to take pictures. Staples like the hummus and the Morrocan mint tea were also incredibly good. 

The service was also friendly and prompt, really rounding out a wonderful experience. It is cash only but it really shouldn’t deter you. The atmosphere and food make Shokran a must. If you’re new to the neighborhood or a long time resident, make sure to go, support, and enjoy Shokran.

Shokran

 4027 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60641

As our first ever neighborhood spotlight, I thought I’d devote it to something dear to my heart. Pie. If you’re moving to the Humboldt Park neighborhood then you have to check out this nostalgic bakery.

I’d had my eye on this place ever since it opened in 2015 but just never got around to going. It was only recently that a realized that it was owned by husband and wife team Parker Whiteway and Dinah Grossman. Women owned business are important and deserve support so I couldn’t wait to check it out.

I think it’s safe to say, I walked away in love.

Atmosphere is everything to me and Spinning J has it. There are vintage booths, olive green velvet curtains, and pink walls with gold stencils throughout. As their website states, Spinning J was built with reclaimed and recycled materials, and it was artfully done. The details, like the soda fountain light fixtures to the throwback tile floors, add charm and personality. I can tell they had fun making the space. It’s nostalgic, warm, and unique.

And the pie. It exceeded my expectations if that was even possible. I went with my mom and sister and together we had the Dirty Chai, the S’mores, and the lemon poppyseed cake all on charmingly mis-matched china. The Dirty Chai was creamy and light, the S’mores pie was dark and rich, and lemon cake was moist and citrusy. And the coffee! It was strong and complimented the sweet pastries perfectly. I was blown away, full, and happy. I regret not trying any of the shakes or sodas but I think I’ll wait, since they’ll be perfect for the summer months. I’ll be coming back to try everything on the menu!

So go, the minute you have a chance. It’s small and almost always busy but it’s really worth the wait.

Spinning J

1000 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60622