2 Sparrows in Lincoln Park (Lenny Gilmore/RedEye )
553 W. Diversey Pkwy 773-234-2320
Rating: !!! (out of four) Off to a good start
The story: This Lincoln Park breakfast and lunch cafe from Gregory Ellis and Steven Fladung, who grew up and worked at Charlie Trotter’s together, is a boon for those who adore artisanal eats; they make as much as possible from scratch, from the pickles on the Cuban sandwich ($12) to the ketchup on the burger ($12). The name’s a nod to the Greek myth about two sparrows pulling the chariot of Aphrodite, the goddess of agriculture—so appropriate since they’re all about using the best produce and meats from local farms. Birdy details such as a nest-shaped chandelier and Rishi tea served in tiny teapots resembling speckled eggs charmingly enforce the subtle theme.
Loved it: Shrimp and grits with tasso ham gravy ($12) was smoky, creamy and soul-soothing. Sandwiches are served with perfectly crunchy house-made tater tots the size of campfire marshmallows. Consider me addicted.
Almost there: A pork belly biscuit sandwich with a sunnyside-up egg and pickled onions ($10) is on the right track but could use some tweaking; it’s just a bit too tall to tackle as a sandwich but too crumbly to eat with a fork, and there isn’t enough yolk to keep the whole thing from feeling dry-ish. The apricot pop tart ($4) is dripping with delish lemon-thyme frosting, but I wish the pastry was soft enough to cut with my fork. Servers were a bit shaky (literally—mine looked visibly nervous) but surely everyone will loosen up as the cafe moves beyond opening week.
Bottom line: I’m rooting for 2 Sparrows and will definitely return, especially after a liquor license arrives and the bar is stocked with local brews and spirits.