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Nintendo: A Casualty in Darwin's Evolution

By Hanna Aronovich in Food on Feb 27, 2006 6:50PM

Chicagoist would like to set one thing straight: A digital jukebox and electronic poker machine are not a fair trade for a Nintendo entertainment system. The new management at Darwin’s (1935 N. Damen) has removed the Nintendo system from the front bar, and we could not be more disheartened. Many a Saturday night, when tired of the typical bar scene, Chicagoist would take refuge at Darwin’s. We’d order a few beers, play some Super Mario Bros. and everything in the world would seem right. Darwin'sLogo.jpg

Imagine our surprise on Sunday, when we stopped by Darwin’s for some dinner and gaming goodness. Our waitress said having Nintendo at the bar was “bad for business,” and the new owners removed it. What a sad state of affairs when classic 1980s video games put a hurt on the bottom line.

Despite our disappointment, our meal was quite pleasant. Darwin’s menu plays on the theme of evolution (ie: The appetizers section is labeled “In the Beginning”). To start, we ordered Nacho Average Nachos. With white beans, chorizo sausage and crème fraiche, it’s a sophisticated twist on a classic. The Primordial Soup, a blend of pumpkin and jalapeno, has a thicker texture, but was just the right amounts of pumpkin and pepper. Our salad came beautifully displayed: a tightly wrapped spinach-leaf bowl filled with oranges and walnuts, with a serving of goat cheese on the side. The chicken curry wrap, lacking in both chicken and curry, was the weakest item we ordered. However, we finished off our meal with an incredible croissant bread pudding, dripping with caramel and ice cream. The soundtrack to our meal, from the new jukebox, included tunes by OK Go, Modest Mouse, Erasure and Enrique Iglacias (we could not escape his love).

Darwin'sCocktailTables.jpg A cozy bar with upscale food, and an impressive beer and wine list, Darwin’s is warm and welcoming. Although spacious with a front and back room, the candle-lit tables and warm tones on the wall give the space an intimate feel. Colorful paintings by local artists adorn the wall. Hanging white lights create a festive tone year ‘round.

There is much to love about Darwin’s, but we can’t get over the loss of our beloved Nintendo . If there ever was a time to mobilize, now is it (773-252-8530).

Speak out, and bring back the joys of Saturday night Tetris competitions.