-Grubbing in Chicago
Bar Food in Logan Square
More than three years after the pandemic shut down one of my favorite neighborhood bars it’s back and better than ever. Best Intentions quietly reopened at the end of April and had a line of people outside when they made their triumphant return along Armitage Avenue in Logan Square. Best Intentions is what many would describe as a hipster bar and they would not be wrong but it’s still an awesome spot. I don’t think being hipster makes a bar bad but lots of places definitely overdo it. What I like about Best Intentions is how they managed to keep most of the dive bar feel from the tavern it replaced. It doesn’t feel new and it isn’t some over-exaggerated replica of a bar from a bygone era. It’s got the feel of a slightly updated dive bar and most of the updates come in the form of the food and drink menus.
Best Intentions first opened in 2015 but it felt new returning there for the first time in more than three years. It also felt familiar returning to a spot that’s basically a time capsule to the pre-pandemic days. One of the big changes they made since closing was installing low-wavelength ultraviolet light devices that are designed to keep the air clear of floating viruses. The prices don’t seem to have changed much. Drinking at Best Intentions is still a bit of a discount all things considered. They have a quality selection when it comes to beer, wine, and cocktails and many of them are $10 or less. I was happy to see the Wondermint Malted is back and better than ever. Their signature cocktail is a boozy milkshake made with Death’s Door Wondermint Schnapps mixed with Broker’s London Dry Gin and Luxardo Angioletto which is a hazelnut liqueur. It’s served from a slushie machine but made with dairy and thus it’s more of a malted milkshake. It reminds me of a Grasshopper. I had one the other other day under the warmth of the sun and everything felt right for a few minutes. The outdoor patio is another thing I love about Best Intentions. It’s spacious by city standards and includes a cabana bar.
The food was always good at Best Intentions but they revamped the menu and didn't miss a beat in doing so. It’s bar food but it’s a step above the average Sysco supplied stuff that most bars serve. On multiple visits we've enjoyed a complete meal made up of their 1/2 lb “Cuppa Shrimp” made with cornmeal battered popcorn shrimp served with an addictive cocktail sauce for dipping plus an order of their crispy hand cut fries and a burger which they describe as a single mustard and onion griddled patty with white American cheese, dill pickles and house sauce. I hadn’t heard much about this one so I didn’t really know what to expect so I was surprised to pull what smelled like a classic slider out of the paper bag it comes served in. Size wise it was a bit bigger than a slider and it reminded me of the “sliders” you’ll find at spots around Detroit which I wrote about in 2013. This was one gnarly burger that brought me back to the past in terms of smell, size, and flavor. They come in at $6 each and if you order a bakers dozen you’ll get one of them for free. ($72). It's my favorite burger in town at the moment and that's bc of it's awesome old school flavor. The burger tastes like it comes from a spot that's been making them forever just like the bar feels like it's been around for a very long time. They make for a perfect pairing.
3281 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647