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Dine On The Waterfront At Humboldt Park's New Boathouse Cafe

By Carrie Laski in Food on Jul 23, 2015 3:30PM

Veggie patty with Portobello and smoked fries

Three years since Humboldt Park residents Erica Serrano and Silvana Botero applied for the space at the neighborhood's vacant boathouse their dream eatery Cafe Alejo has finally opened to the public.

With the boathouse's idyllic view of the water and the surrounding park, it's obvious why the two were so dedicated to the spot. Grabbing a table at the cafe on a summer evening will transport you far from the concrete and traffic of the city.

Indoor and outdoor seating is available, and many of the outdoor tables are covered naturally by the pavilion in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Decor is casual, with art that gives a nod to the life and Latin American travels of the neighborhood's namesake Alexander Von Humboldt.

A beautiful view

Cafe Alejo is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with different bistro-inspired options available on the menu depending on the time of day. In the morning, try signature espresso drinks alongside donuts from Glazed and Infused, granola with seasonal fruit, or a jamon, huevo and queso sandwich. An intriguing kale and roasted beet salad is one of the lunchtime choices and for dinner you can opt for a skirt steak, grilled salmon or vegetable ragout.

I can personally vouch for the salmon, as it was juicy, tender, topped with a light cream sauce and served alongside grilled asparagus and summer squash. The veggie patty is also excellent, with a thick-sliced Portobello mushroom in between a lightly-grilled buttery bun and a side of hot, smoked fries.

Resident pastry chef Emilie Pitoula whips up treats like vanilla creme eclairs and chocolate raspberry mousse for dessert. As for drinks, the cafe will receive its liquor license in August, so until then only non-alcoholic beverages such as iced tea and soft drinks are available. But Cafe Alejo plans to offer a selection of craft beer and wine.

Grilled salmon and asparagus

Vanilla creme eclairs

Beyond serving up delicious food and serene waterfront views, Serrano and Botero have plans to offer cooking and baking classes, host live music and provide jobs for neighborhood residents. Speaking with Silvana after my meal, she confirmed what I could already see during my time spent at the cafe: The community's response has been overwhelmingly positive. Families stroll in to enjoy great food and look on while others fish in the lagoon, walk their dogs, and play with their children. Stop by any time between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends to see for yourself.


Cafe Alejo is located at 1301 N. Humboldt Blvd.