With a rich multicultural influence reflected in the eclectic dining scene, Arcadia Terrace is a quiet tree-lined residential pocket of Chicago that is experiencing new growth and a rebirth of interest, thanks to recent revitalization along Lincoln Avenue. As the neighborhood's main commercial drag, Lincoln Avenue is where you'll find most of the action in Arcadia Terrace. A string of Asian restaurants, plus an American eatery and a unique Eastern European cafe are popular places to grab a bite around here. But the food scene stretches to the neighborhood's northern border as well, where fondue and West Indian baked goods reign supreme. Other Arcadia Terrace tastes include pizza (this is Chicago) and Irish brews (again, this is Chicago!). The local, non-conventional markets make it a cinch to make meals at home, especially if you've got a recipe for traditional Chinese dishes.
Arcadia Terrace Facts
Location: About 8 miles north of the Loop
Bordering Neighborhoods: West Rogers Park, Peterson Woods, Budlong Woods, Rosehill Cemetery
Boundaries: Peterson Avenue to the north, Western Avenue to the east, Bryn Mawr Avenue to the south and California Avenue to the west
Then and Now
Arcadia Terrace may be closely connected to the larger neighborhoods of
East Rogers Park and West Rogers Park, but it continues to maintain its own quiet identity, thanks to a distinguished geography and demographic makeup.
Due to its locale, nestled at the southern border of West Rogers Park (also known as West Ridge by local historical societies), Arcadia Terrace’s tight boundaries have often been grouped in with the more sizeable surrounding communities. This small neighborhood resides on land initially inhabited by the Potawatomi tribe in the seventeenth century. A series of treaties forced them to abandon their villages between 1816 and 1829, and by the 1830s and ‘40s, farmers from Germany and Luxembourg had settled in the area and developed the terrain for farming. Arcadia Terrace and the surrounding neighborhoods remained relatively rural throughout the nineteenth century.
Catering to the large number of devout Catholics that resided in the vicinity, several Roman Catholic churches were constructed throughout the region. Much of their influence remains evident in Arcadia Terrace neighborhood today. For example, residents still send their children to the private school of Saint Hilary, which has served the community since 1926. The school itself has been operating since 1928, enriching families with the Catholic ideals that were so prominent in the neighborhood’s early history.
Like its northerly neighbor of West Ridge, Arcadia Terrace was annexed into the city of Chicago in 1893. With East Rogers Park booming, the neighborhood relied on the economic resources and developing businesses of both East and West Rogers Park for its commerce. But by the turn of the century the brickyards formerly located along the North Branch of the Chicago River moved to the area near present-day Kedzie Avenue to cash in on the land’s natural clay and sand deposits. Laborers came to the area to mine the deposits. As soon as the construction of the North Channel of the Sanitary District began, more clay was uncovered, thus creating more jobs and continued economic prosperity for nearby residents of Arcadia Terrace. With the surge in excavating and construction projects in the area, Scandinavian and German immigrants flocked to the neighborhood seeking work. The pay was lucrative and Arcadia Terrace soon built up a reputation for its finely-crafted residential architecture where the laborers made their homes.
The end of World War I sparked a real estate boom in neighborhoods in the north side of Chicago. Many of the homes built during this period were brick bungalows and two-flats, which remain the dominant residential structures in Arcadia Terrace neighborhood today. However, poor public transportation facilities limited the construction of multi-use buildings that stacked apartment complexes above street-level storefronts, which is why Arcadia Terrace is dotted with so many single-family homes and two-story residential buildings.
Arcadia Terrace felt few side effects from the Depression Era of the 1930s. Sanitary District Canal projects kept the area fueled with jobs, and the community continued to thrive. Such growth prompted the construction of several hotels along Lincoln Avenue, a strip sometimes call 'Lincoln Bend' by historians. While many of these hotels remain physically intact today, a sizable portion of the old inns are being transformed into new condos.
The end of World War II set off the final surge of growth for the Arcadia Terrace and West Ridge neighborhoods. During this time, a large number of Jewish families moved to the north side from other parts of Chicago, along with Polish and Russian Jews. By the 1960s, the population expansion had leveled off while property values continued to climb. Today, the area encompassing Arcadia Terrace is a multicultural mecca that encompasses descendents of the neighborhood’s past generations in addition to new residents that include Middle Easterners, Indians, Pakistanis and Koreans.
As for the origin of Arcadia Terrace’s name? It refers to the tranquil peace and innocence embodied by the ancient Greek region of Arcadia. This southerly pocket neighborhood of West Ridge was so pleasantly serene it garnered its own unique identity as a type of Arcadia when it became part of Chicago in the 1890s. Today, Arcadia Terrace is synonymous with that same quiet charm that attracted residents years ago, thanks to its setting sandwiched between the hushed grounds of Rosehill Cemetery to the east, Mather and Green Briar parks to the north, and the green belt of the Chicago River to the west.
Arcadia Terrace Real Estate
Arcadia Terrace’s quiet streets are home to classic Chicago architecture that has shaped the neighborhood’s identity and continues to provide an ideal locale for Chicagoans to raise families and first-time homebuyers to find their dream home. Residents and visitors to Arcadia Terrace will notice the autumn color palette that is common throughout the area. Many of the classic bungalows and two-flats were constructed with red or yellow bricks that still characterize the neighborhood streets today, endowing it with a rare brand of timeless charm.
Along the tree-lined walkways edged with manicured green lawns, quaint brick bungalows and traditional two-flats are the prominent residential structures occupying the lots in this small north side Chicago community. Many of these homes were built on the heels of World War I. When public transportation improved in the 1930s, Arcadia Terrace saw an increase in apartment complexes fueled by the growth of a business district along Devon Avenue to the north.
These days, multi-unit residences are in high demand in the neighborhood as more and more new construction condominiums spring up throughout Arcadia Terrace. While some take on a contemporary architectural design, others follow a more traditional approach, mimicking the vintage style of older buildings in the area. The
'Lincoln Bend', or the stretch of Lincoln Avenue that curves through Arcadia Terrace, was once home to several high-rise hotels. Some of these hotels carried a seedy past and were home to vagrant travelers and brothels alike. Today, many of these old hotels are being stripped down and converted into brand new living spaces. Lincoln Avenue is buzzing with fresh development and drawing attention of buyers from a diverse cultural background.
Arcadia Terrace’s attractive north side location has made the land increasingly valuable in recent decades. Generally, you can find a modern three-bedroom condominium here that includes a garage space or two for between $370,000 and $450,000. The average sales price for a two-bedroom condo is around $250,000, although you can find several units for under $200,000. The number of single-family detached homes on the market in the Arcadia Terrace neighborhood is more limited than its multi-unit housing selection. But typically, three-bedroom houses sell for just under $400,000.
What’s on the Menu?
True to its diverse multicultural character, Arcadia Terrace is home to a number of
restaurants and quaint bakeries that reflect the remote charm and eclectic vibe of the neighborhood.
When working your way through the dining scene here, we suggest starting with something fun, and what better way to have fun with food than with fondue? Despite fondue’s reputation as a dated 1970s fad, it is still alive and well in Arcadia Terrace inside the kitschy digs of Fondue Stube (2717 W Peterson Ave, 773-784-2200). Grab a stick and prime your palate with a roast-worthy offering of cheeses (Swiss, cheddar, Munster and cream cheese lox) accompanied by veggies, beef, seafood, and dipping breads. Those who are lactose intolerant or vegan will rejoice—Fondue Stube offers soybean-based cheese to complement the spread of bite-size tofu dippers. Even the decor of this retro outpost screams 'lava lamp', so it’s easy to get in the mood for the throwback meal. Much of the dining room glows with the muted charge of Christmas lights while scratchy, olive-colored sofas and dark walls make it feel like you’re dining in a ‘70s-inspired rec room, sans the eight-track player, of course. Instead, feast your ears on the strains of classic music crackling from the speakers, Stube stakes its claim as 'Chicago’s finest classical music restaurant', according to its owners. Encore!
Down the curving bend of Lincoln Avenue lies Hub’s Restaurant (5540 N Lincoln Ave, 773-784-4228), a casually classic American-Greek haunt that knows how to serve both flavor and value. A family-owned business since 1976, Hub’s menu includes Greek staples like the gyros plate and Greek village salad loaded with pepperocinis, anchovies and feta. They also carry an array of steak and sirloin sandwiches and the gargantuan meatball sandwich, packed with meat, seasonings and marinara. Dine in the restaurant and take in Hub’s sprawling collection of Saturday Night Live memorabilia, or catch a game on one of its plasma TVs. Prices skew on the lower end, so no check surprises here.
The portion of Lincoln Avenue that runs through the Arcadia Terrace neighborhood is also home to a slew of
Asian restaurants, including Cafe Orange, Dowon Restaurant, How Lee Chop Suey, and Tampopo. Each brings a unique taste of the Orient to the table…
Clubbing and cuisine find a fine urban balance at Cafe Orange (5639 N Lincoln Ave, 773-275-5040), where the blacked-out doors and curtained windows conceal a world of flavors. Part nightclub, part restaurant, guests take in the Asian pop music blasting through the speakers of the high-ceilinged room. Around the tables, chairs and comfy sofas dot the floor. On the menu, look for specialties like barbequed short ribs and traditional bibimbop (a rice and vegetable dish) to sizzle the palate. For those looking to enjoy their meal without the music, plan on arriving early because the owners at Café Orange are eager to accommodate the club patrons as readily as the dinner guests. The bar offers plenty of beer and spirits to appease the clientele who come to drink and dance, so when dinner ends around 10 pm, we hang onto our glasses and start to groove.
Up the street, check out Dowon Restaurant (5695 N Lincoln Ave, 773-878-5888 ) for a traditional Korean dinner of small plates, or banchan as they are commonly called in the native country. Patrons get a taste of unique dishes such as seasoned mung beans, squash and mushroom mix, and the popular kimchee, or spicy Korean pickled cabbage. Other menu standouts, according to our sources, are the fried pot stickers, dukmandooguk
(rice cakes, veggies and eggs), and the Korean BBQ spread, which is prepared tableside. The dining room boasts traditional bamboo, hardwood floors and Japanese silk screens on the walls. Much of the staff only speaks Korean, which authenticates the dining experience and really gives the feel of feasting in an Asian eatery on the other side of the world.
If you’re into classic Chinese cuisine, check out How Lee Chop Suey (5664 N Lincoln Ave, 773-784-0566), a favorite takeout joint for Arcadia Terrace locals. And those with a palate for the adventurous should look no further than Tampopo (5665 N Lincoln Ave, 773-561-2277), a popular sushi haunt in the neighborhood. This family-owned business has Mom working in the kitchen while her son runs the main sushi bar, charming guests with custom-made maki and flame-seared tuna. The atmosphere is fun, friendly and unpretentious. To start, we like to get the koroke appetizer, which is a potato, corn and beef ball (that tastes much better than it sounds).
Moving on to the main course, Tampopo offers a great selection of protein-packed tofu-inspired dishes for non-meat eaters. But if you want to go all out and get the house specialties, make sure to order the Godzilla and dragon rolls—monstrously tasty!
When it’s ‘za you are hunger for, Arcadia Terrace has two local pizzerias that satisfy cravings from lunch to late-night. Delisi’s Pizzeria (5806 N Western Ave, 773-784-6320) says it is the 'Definition of Delicious', according to its employees’ T-shirts. A bold assertion, but who’s to argue? Families love the place because kids get free lollipops and adults usually spend less than 10 bucks per person on a meal. Chicago memorabilia adorns the walls and the dining room’s satellite dish keeps the TV stations tuned to sports. The smaller T’s Grand Slam Pizza (5701 N California Ave, 773-271-7777) also offers Arcadia Terrace residents a quick carryout service for pizza, if you’re in the mood for something a little lower key.
The quaint charm of Arcadia Terrace is also reflected in its bakeries and coffee shops. Ba Le French Bakery & Restaurant (2405 W Ardmore Ave, 773-878-0929) personifies the unique cultural fusion of the neighborhood, thanks to its French-Vietnamese culinary ties. Food Network star Bobby Flay cites this tiny Ardmore Avenue outpost as a 'must-do' dining destination in Chicago, and we certainly know why. Ba Le’s startling sandwich menu features gems like fried tofu vegetarian and lemongrass sausage sandwiches. The price is right, too, with deals abounding daily. Buy five sandwiches and get one free, or try three rolls of French bread for the price of one. At La Be, quality is just as good as quantity. The Buddha statue greeting us in the entryway certainly agrees. For a sample of West Indian eats, check out Mom’s Bake Shop (2415 W Peterson Ave, 773-784-1318), where owner Josie De La Cruz whips up Filipino delights, including leche flan and halo-halo (a mixed drink of condensed milk, jackfruit, coconut, and ice). On the entree tip, enjoy an authentic taste of the Philippines with an outstanding version of homemade kare kare, a peanut noodle dish. The small dining room brims with Filipino mementos and brightly colored flowers.
For your caffeine fix, consider dropping by Bel-Ami Cafe (5530 N Lincoln Ave, 773-878-2808), a Bosnian coffee joint with so much more. Don’t let the smoky interior fool you-Bel-Ami’s sunset-colored walls and flat-screen television provide the backdrop to a fantastic snack, or full meal, if that’s what you’re feeling. Bel-Ami’s pljeskavica (hand-formed meat patties) are a flavorful blend of Eastern European spices and barley. This Arcadia Terrace neighborhood eatery also serves a surprisingly great plate of chicken wings and the menu is hardly vegetarian friendly.
Night on the Town
After having a lovely sit-down dinner or once that long work week is finally over, why not check out the local nightspot that keeps Arcadia Terrace on its toes until 'last call'.
Irish eyes are always smiling at Emerald Isle on Peterson (2537 W Peterson Ave, 773-561-6674), where the no-frills decor certainly doesn’t hinder a good time. The two-room venue houses a sturdy wooden bar and is home to a slew of great specials, including $1 burgers and $10 beer buckets on Tuesday nights, and $2 Italian beef sandwiches on Wednesdays. The crowd here merges a combination of long-time regulars, blue-collar workers and young professionals who wander in for a cocktail after a day at the office. The beer flows like water at Emerald Isle, as does the conversation among neighborhood locals and newcomers to the scene. Also on tap: Golden Tee electronic golf and a pool table for additional entertainment. Of course obligatory Irish embellishments dot the room, including framed Guinness posters and a few beer mirrors. Grab a bite from the bar menu, which features distinctly American sandwiches (no shepherd’s pie or blood sausage here).
Best Shopping Stops
Arcadia Terrace can hardly claim to have a thriving retail district, but the few shopping outposts it does have fill the specific niche for produce and paper products, essentials to everyday life.
Start by grabbing that grocery list and heading out to the neighborhood’s not-so-conventional markets, where you’ll find a whole lot of interesting food you never knew you wanted, let alone existed. Gohyang Food Market (5731 N Lincoln Ave, 773-275-1397) mainly stocks Asian-influenced specialty goods. This is the place in Arcadia Terrace to find rice papers, Chinese five-spice, and plenty of seasonings to whip up that perfect batch of kimchee (pickled cabbage) at home. The rows of unfamiliar packages and unreadable labels in this cozy storefront market allow customers to recreate the essence of Chinese takeout in our own kitchens with a flavorful array of seasonings and numerous variations of rice. For the freshest selection in specialty meats, Muller Meats (2439 W Peterson Ave, 773-561-7580) takes us back to the days when the butcher knew best. And at Muller’s, he still does, expertly slicing pork loins, rib eyes, and even onion and sage stuffed chicken breasts. This favorite among Arcadia Terrace carnivores also carries an array of deli meats and cheeses, and fresh and frozen seafood. Just a word of advice, arrive early if you go on Saturdays to avoid the long lines.
On the less flavorful tip, this north side Chicago neighborhood isn’t all about food, and one shop that can attest to that is Fashion and People (5668 N Lincoln Ave, 773-784-8260). As Arcadia Terrace’s only real retail store, their apparel is geared toward women ages 22 to 70, a store clerk told us. In addition to appealing to a rather specific clientele (21- and 71-year-olds wouldn’t be interested in the attire here apparently), the boutique carries clothes made only in Korea. Although you might not think it, the designs at Fashion and People are much like the modern styles of the day found in any American or European store, except made of better quality, so they claim. Whether the stitches are tighter or not, we think the trends here are pretty darn cute and the show floor boasts racks of casual sweaters, silk blouses, and a limited collection of fashion jewelry and hair accessories.
This may seem a little off-topic, but it is one of the interesting secrets of Arcadia Terrace that we find intriguing. So you should probably just keep reading.
What really happened in Roswell, New Mexico? The Center for UFO Studies (2457 W Peterson Ave, 773-271-3611) certainly wants to know. Inside their tiny office outpost on Peterson Avenue, scientists and researchers are dedicated to studying Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) and alien spacecraft. CUFOS affiliates maintain a library of UFO-related materials, including books, articles, documents and sightings reports. The Arcadia Terrace-based organization also publishes credible information about UFOs through its own quarterly magazine, the International UFO Reporter (IUR), in addition to an annual scholarly publication. Several CUFOS staff members conduct fieldwork at sites, including the famed one in Roswell. Others travel to national conventions where sightings reports are discussed from all over the world. CUFOS encourages local Chicagoans to get involved in its efforts by reporting strange occurrences or volunteering. Those interested in speaking with a staff member, or to alert them of that odd flashing object coasting by the Sears Tower, can certainly visit the CUFOS or call the center direct. And if we were able to insert a sound bite right now, it would be that eerie theme music from The Twilight Zone.
Whether you travel by car, bike, bus or foot, getting around Arcadia Terrace is simple. And we’re going to tell you just how to do it.
While there are no CTA 'El' train stops located directly in Arcadia Terrace, residents can easily hop on a bus and shoot down to the Brown Line train at either the Rockwell or Western stations, which are located directly south of the neighborhood along Eastwood Avenue. Okay, ready for a rundown on the bus system around here? The #11 Lincoln Avenue bus travels northwest-southeast while the #49B Western Avenue bus makes a straight shot up to the eastern border of Arcadia Terrace. The #93 California Avenue bus also runs north/south and services to the western jurisdiction of the neighborhood. And the #84 Peterson Avenue bus makes stops along the northern border. Got all that? Good.
If you have your own car, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares are Peterson and Lincoln avenues. These are
both four-lane roads, so traffic tends to be fairly easy-flowing, although it may be a different story during rush hour. Peterson Avenue will take drivers straight over to the lakefront, while Lincoln Avenue routes motorists towards downtown Chicago. For those who are residents, much of Arcadia Terrace is permit parking so people with vehicles are required to purchase permit stickers from the City of Chicago to park on the street during certain hours of the night.
The neighborhood is located well east of I-94 (Edens Expressway), so to get to Arcadia Terrace from the highway motorists should exit at Peterson Avenue and travel east towards the lake until hitting California Avenue. Bicyclists can use the bike lanes painted along California, Peterson, Bryn Mawr, or Western avenues. And if biking, driving, and public transportation just don’t do it for you, plain old walking is a real treat in Arcadia Terrace. Classic architecture combined with landscaped green yards and well-maintained sidewalks make this north side Chicago neighborhood a destination in itself.
School’s in Session
Only two small private schools take residency in Arcadia Terrace, but both boast a rich history of academic excellence. The Catholic-affiliated Saint Hilary School (5614 N Fairfield Ave, 773-561-5885) serves kindergarten through eighth grade students and offers a full range of art and music programs. Sports programs, including volleyball, football, basketball, and baseball, are offered to students during the fall, winter and spring. A regular 'Principal’s Newsletter' posted on the St. Hilary site keeps parents in the know of new activities and programs offered to students on a monthly basis. Over on Bryn Mawr Avenue, St. Philip Evangelical and Lutheran School (2500 W Bryn Mawr Ave, 773-561-9830) teaches kindergarten through eighth grade students the ins and outs of math, reading and writing while developing their Christian faith. The school offers an impressive technology program, where computers are integrated into the curriculum. St. Philip also places an emphasis on music ministry, where vocal and instrumental ensemble participation is incorporated into the annual school year.
In addition to the following, for more information on both private schools in Arcadia Terrace and other Chicago area schools, please visit our Chicago Schools Guide.
Saint Hilary School - 5614 N Fairfield Ave - (773) 561-5885
St Philip Evangelical and Lutheran School - 2500 W Bryn Mawr Ave - (773) 561-9830
As soon as it’s time to make a trip to the grocery store or fill a script at the local pharmacy, it’s important to know where you can go in the neighborhood to load up on basic goodies, sundries and headache relievers. We’ve got you covered with a sampling of the useful resources and handy stores in Arcadia Terrace.
Fondue Stube - 2717 W Peterson Ave - (773) 784-2200
Hub’s Restaurant - 5540 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 784-4228
Cafe Orange - 5639 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 275-5040
Dowon Restaurant - 5695 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 878-5888
How Lee Chop Suey - 5664 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 784-0566
Katsu Japanese Restaurant - 2649 W Peterson Ave - (773) 784-3383
Tampopo - 5665 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 561-2277
Woo Chon Restaurant - 5744 N California Ave - (773) 728-8001
Ba Le French Bakery & Restaurant - 2405 W Ardmore Ave - (773) 878-0929
Mom’s Bake Shop - 2415 W Peterson Ave - (773) 784-1318
Bel-Ami Cafe - 5530 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 878-2808
Dunkin’ Donuts - 5723 N California Ave - (773) 334-5980
Emerald Isle on Peterson - 2537 W Peterson Ave - (773) 561-6674
Delisi’s Pizzeria - 5806 N Western Ave - (773) 784-6320
T’s Grand Slam Pizza - 5701 N California Ave - (773) 271-7777
Gohyang Food Market - 5731 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 275-1397
Muller Meats - 2439 W Peterson Ave - (773) 561-7580
Budlong Woods Public Library - 5630 N Lincoln Ave - (312) 742-9590
Touhy Pharmacy - 2721 W Peterson Ave - (773) 334-3193
Walgreens - 5627 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 728-7916
Fashion and People - 5668 N Lincoln Ave - (773) 784-8260
Chicago Transit Authority - (888) 968-7282
As one of the many diverse Chicago neighborhoods, Arcadia Terrace offers homeowners a wide range of residential properties. Arcadia Terrace homes include lofts, condos and townhomes, to name a few. In addition to Chicago real estate, you can get detailed neighborhood information from our comprehensive online Chicago neighborhoods guide. With features like dining, shopping, entertainment, and resources, we’ve done all the leg work already to make your home search that much easier. Now, when a listing in Arcadia Terrace catches your eye, you can read all about the surrounding area and what it has to offer, all without leaving your computer.