Few restaurants manage to pull off serving breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday and still keep things interesting. Yet at Uncommon Ground - which recently opened its second location in the city - the little coffeehouse-that-could has evolved into a creative outlet for artists, musicians, and eaters of all ages.
"Our biggest commitment is to trying to be as local as we can and in the Midwest, it's a bit of a challenge in the winter but in the summer, we're really hoping that, you know, over fifty percent of what we're bringing into the restaurant to sell is provided locally," said Helen Cameron, Uncommon Ground.
They not only source local food, but also furniture: every table is recycled from trees in Jackson Park on the South Side. Foodwise, the day begins with naturally-raised chicken breakfast burritos topped with a dark mole; inside the spinach tortilla you'll find eggs, peppers, chihuahua cheese and cumin creme with smoked chili sauce.
The uncommon breakfast melt has a base of Red Hen's onion black bread, topped with Nueske black peppercorn bacon, cheddar ale cheese, organic spinach and a couple of eggs over easy.
"I think our concept is, has always been sort of set in the simplicity of good ingredients and not messing around with the food too much and letting those ingredients really shine."
For lunch, they'll slather onion marmalade onto a toasted baguette, then cover one side with crisp arugula and green apples, while the other side gets a mess of cooked pork belly.
Fish tacos aren't exactly from Baja, but the seared tilapia is matched with a surprisingly good sweet potato salsa, crunchy cabbage and tomatillo creme.
At dinner, a buffalo rib eye is rubbed in espresso and cocoa nibs.. arriving with yukon gold fries and an onion marmalade.. while a "duo of duck" has both leg confit and seared breast.. plus gorgonzola potatoes and braised cabbage.
Cameron says they're constantly trying to keep their extensive options well-balanced for a diverse crowd.
"While we have some very indulgent things on our menu, I also like to make sure that we have things that are healthier options, and we like to try to provide something for everyone if we can, it's something we work on all the time."
They also have a small stage at the new location, where you can check out live music throughout the week.
1401 West Devon Avenue
3800 North Clark Street