Part of the Fifty/50 Group— and located right next door to sibling restaurants Roots and Homestead— West Town Bakery & Diner looks like your favorite college town hangout. Walk in and you’ll notice the eye-popping street art and graffiti, colorful seats and stools, and references to the Wu-Tang Clan. This isn’t a stuffy place or your run-of-the-mill diner.
At the same time, West Town Bakery is definitely a step up from the university grease joint where you had to see your friend’s band play in the back of 12 times. They use local ingredients whenever possible, have dining options for vegetarians and vegans, and creatively play off of classic diner food. Plus, you’ll immediately start drooling at the sight of their huge display case filled with doughnuts, pastries, cakes, and cookies all baked in house.
Your Morning Commute Doughnut
Nothing really compares to the joy of a fresh doughnut in the morning. Wicker Park residents may have a Stan’s Donuts right by the Damen Blue Line stop, but more than a mile south the options are a little limited. Fortunately, West Town Bakery has every treat you can imagine.
During my visit I tried a maple bacon donut—the bacon added just a hint of savory to balance out the maple sweetness—and a perfect coffee donut that would be an excellent pairing with your morning cup of java. If you’re looking to get a bit more adventurous, I also sampled a croissant doughnut that was stuffed with crème and tasted like a s’more.
Breakfast and Lunch
If you’re sticking around to dine at West Town Bakery, you’ll find plenty of diner classics like thick-cut French toast and eggs Benedict, but you’ll also find some slight twists on familiar favorites.
For instance, I tried the Duck Confit Cubano that keeps the ham while switching out the pork for juicy, tender duck. A lot of times the pork on the average Cuban sandwich can be tough and dry, but the switch to duck added an unexpected yet tasty flavor element, was perfectly moist, and sandwiched between two pieces of delicious French bread and crisp zucchini pickles.
Likewise, the loaded grilled cheese sandwich has American cheese and ham– yet it’s topped with a mornay sauce that blends together a variety of cheeses for a taste that’s much more complex than what your parents gave you when you were young.
Bottom Line on West Town Bakery & Diner
With a shortage of great breakfast places around Damen and Chicago, West Town Bakery only needed to be okay to survive. However– like the rest of the Fifty/50 Group’s restaurants, West Town Bakery manages to offer an experience that’s comforting and familiar, but at the same time fresh and exciting. Whether you’re grabbing a pastry on the way to work or sitting down for a weekend brunch, you’re going to be happy.
West Town Bakery & Diner
1916 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
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