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The NYTimes Just Realized Chicago's Ukrainian Village Is Cool

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 17, 2016 4:48PM

Photo of Ukrainian Village via Eva O'Brien on Flickr

If you need more convincing that Ukrainian Village is So Hot Right Now, put on the boots you wear to get persuaded: the New York Times just put out a "36 Hours in Chicago" story (the paper's first since 2014), and the first three stops on its Chicago tour are in, you guessed it, Ukrainian Village: Shokolad Pastry & Cafe, the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and the Ukrainian National Museum. (Okay, so the last one is technically in West Town, but it's close to Ukrainian Village physically and spiritually.)

Overall, the focus of the NYT's story is the West Side: over the allotted 36 hours, the reporter moves along the Blue Line, sort of, hitting up Wicker Park, Humboldt Park and Logan Square. In a way, it reminds us that we love the West Side; in a way, it gives us premature nostalgia, because a lot of the quirky hole-in-the-wall places the reporter visits are sure to be replaced with mezcal bars and transit-oriented developments with $3,000-a-month rent in the next five years (or five days). And in a way, it's funny, because the NYT coverage of other cities always reads sort of like your clueless aunt wrote it.

Here are five opinions we had while reading this story, in no particular order:

1. Shouting out Rainbo Club's $2 PBRs kinda feels like damning with faint praise. "The watery beer is so cheap!"

2. We're excited about Jam's seasonal hollandaise. We didn't know this was a thing, but it is! Right now, the hollandaise is "English pea [and] maitake mushroom." Sick.

3. Humboldt Park's Spinning J makes their own root beer with foraged sasparilla, but we don't care. I just can't muster up a single food-boner for foraging. It's okay to plant plants in a convenient location instead of wandering the forest! I'm okay with that.

4. We respect Rosa's Lounge. Apparently, their New Year's banner was still up in April, because Rosa is a philosopher queen and time is a flat circle (latter not explicitly stated by NYT, but still clear).

5. Lol at the NYT description of the Logan Square Farmers Market. "[A] spirited Sunday showcase." Haha. Oooookay.

At the end of the day, though, the story is mostly funny (when it's funny) because it's not designed for locals—it's for tourists. In that capacity, we really can't knock it. It is objectively better to get a jibarito and go to a Ukrainian Village museum while in Chicago than it is to stare at the Bean for 36 hours.