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The Riverside Deli & Cafe

The Riverside Deli & Cafe
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  • The Riverside Deli & Cafe

    Post #1 - March 18th, 2006, 11:02 am
    Post #1 - March 18th, 2006, 11:02 am Post #1 - March 18th, 2006, 11:02 am
    I'm sure this place is known to folks who live in the neighborhood, but it was a real "find" for us. (I see only one mention of it on LTH, in a 2004 thread about Sunday brunches.) We were in the car, in the neighborhood, and, in fact, headed for Jane's, when my wife spotted The Riverside directly across the street from Jane's, and her intuition said we should check it out. Her intuition was right. When we first walked in, little alarm bells went off for me, because it's one of those places where you go to the counter to tell them what you want, then find a table, and when it's ready they bring it to you, and I've had "mixed results" at such places--sometimes it works, and sometimes it's chaos. But at 1:30 in the afternoon on St. Patrick's Day, the place wasn't crowded, and it looked easy enough. It was much better than easy; it was welcoming, warm and friendly, and my little alarm bells were all wrong. I ordered a chicken noodle soup and a "Cuban Sub," and both were outstanding. The soup tasted truly homemade, and had just the subtlest touch of cilantro about it. The sandwich was a very mild ham, with some mozzarella-like cheese (I'm not enough of a cheeseophile to identify it exactly, but it was unprocessed and real), lettuce, tomato, and a little mayo, grilled on a rye-like bread (I'm not enough of a breadophile to identify it exactly, but it was fresh and real), cut in half. Really, really good. All followed by a slice of fabulous dark chocolate cake that we shared, which was made by "Grandma," who I have no doubt whatsoever is really Grandma. The two Latina women who womanned the place were so nice, and the decor redefines "cheerful"--if the busy mix of bright colors and vintage architecture and artifacts (the place was a butcher shop in the neighborhood for a long time before it became a restaurant thirty years ago) doesn't make you happy, double your dose of Lexapro.

    The Riverside
    1656 W. Cortland
    773 278 3354
  • Post #2 - March 18th, 2006, 7:11 pm
    Post #2 - March 18th, 2006, 7:11 pm Post #2 - March 18th, 2006, 7:11 pm
    Shhhhh....it's my favorite brunch spot!
  • Post #3 - March 19th, 2006, 11:08 am
    Post #3 - March 19th, 2006, 11:08 am Post #3 - March 19th, 2006, 11:08 am
    i've been to riverside a few times for their brunch buffet... the first time I thought it was super cool/different/etc... the last two times i've found it to be somewhat medicore.. (the food wasn't all that fresh, a lot of it had obviously been sitting out for a long long time, etc)

    Does anyone know the story behind this place? To me it seems as though they run a catering business, and the food they serve for brunch is mostly leftovers of that? ...could be wrong here though? For those that don't know, they have a brunch where they have 2 or 3 small rooms filled with completely random items (small sandwiches, various types of eggs, twinkies, empanadas, various side items, etc..)... there isn't much rhyme or reason to the stuff they have, but that's partly why its an interesting experience..

    also, is it me or is the place a little on the expensive side? I feel like it was $75 for 3 people to have brunch and coffee... its a somewhat unique experience, though, so for that alone everyone should go at least once!
  • Post #4 - March 20th, 2006, 8:21 am
    Post #4 - March 20th, 2006, 8:21 am Post #4 - March 20th, 2006, 8:21 am
    rdstoll wrote:Shhhhh....it's my favorite brunch spot!

    Believe me, I gave thought to whether to keep this apparently well-kept secret of a place to myself! But then I realized the whole point of LTH is sharing discoveries, and I've certainly benefited from other members sharing theirs. So in the name of ethics, I had no choice.

    Haven't been there for brunch...don't know whether I'd come down on your side or dddane's...but I do know we'll be back for lunch. Incidentally, one important adjective I left out of my description of this sunny, cheerful, colorful place is clean.
  • Post #5 - March 20th, 2006, 11:45 am
    Post #5 - March 20th, 2006, 11:45 am Post #5 - March 20th, 2006, 11:45 am
    Brunch: It's an eclectic collection of Latin dishes and traditional American items. You'll find a variety of things like empenadas (many varieties), spanish rice and mexican-styled eggs, as well as other unique latin dishes that can be best described as tapas-like. Their American standards are quite good, IMO, with the best bacon I've ever had, period.

    The place is somewhat small with an odd seating arrangement, and if it's crowded, it can be difficult to navigate the buffet area. I think it's around $12 for all-you-can-eat so it's a decent deal. Coffee quality is not that great. As to the comment about the food being a bit cold at times, I agree that can happen, but more often they keep cranking out the items and replacing old ones. There's just so much to choose from there.

    I would highly recommend this place. Whenever I have guests in town for the weekend I bring them here for brunch and they love it.
  • Post #6 - July 13th, 2015, 1:17 pm
    Post #6 - July 13th, 2015, 1:17 pm Post #6 - July 13th, 2015, 1:17 pm
    A beloved family-run cafe near the northeast corner of Paulina and Cortland Street in Bucktown — known for its deep fried Twinkies and friendly workers — served its final buffet-style brunch on Sunday and will be reopening under new owners in the fall.

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150713 ... s-bucktown
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #7 - July 21st, 2015, 10:01 am
    Post #7 - July 21st, 2015, 10:01 am Post #7 - July 21st, 2015, 10:01 am
    In case you're sentimental about this place....
    A huge estate sale at Riverside Cafe begins Wednesday and promises "extremely rare and one-of-a-kind finds" at the former eatery that was sold to new owners earlier this month.

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150721 ... y-bucktown
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny

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