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That's also the reason I've avoided the Kingsbury Street Cafe, which opened a little over a year ago right across the street, and which, in a moment of acute panic upon viewing the Whole Foods parking lot, I demanded we detour to. It's a breakfast/lunch-only restaurant from a decades-old family-run wholesale baking operation, whose previous posting was in the staff cafe at Harpo Studios (you'll be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement at the end of this post). After Oprah evacuated, the Dong family moved their HQ here, where once in a while a Volkswagen Touareg vacates a spot on the street and a Lexus RX Hybrid swoops in to claim it.
I'm sorry I stayed away so long because it turns out the Kingsbury Street Cafe is a safe house in this particularly awful pocket of Lincoln Park. Breezy, brightly lit, with cavernous ceilings and generously spaced blond wood tables, you can't tell it's crowded even when it is. And the Dong family's choice to grapple the city for a liquor license and open for table service is a gift to anyone lucky enough to find refuge here. Salads and sandwiches at lunch: burgers, a banh mi, and plenty of plant-only options for herbivores. Weekend brunch is significantly more varied and creative; whole-wheat carrot pancakes, chia-seed breakfast pudding, build-your-own jalapeño-goat cheese-turkey sausage-egg-white omelets, chocolate-stuffed French toast, pulled- barbecue-chicken eggs Benedict, etc.
And then there's the Piggy Moo Cluck, which sounds like it's going to be an obnoxious gut bomb on the order of the Silver Palm's Three Little Piggy, but which actually turns out to be a very proper and polite but still satisfying ham and cheese sandwich. With bacon and eggs. The ham itself is shaved thin and piled tightly, topped with an over-easy egg, which helps lubricate a couple slices of maple bacon and a blanket of melted cheddar fused to the underside of a light ciabatta bun with a crispy exterior that's the golden shining armor on this quietly heroic sandwich.
Take that and a tall, spicy Bloody Maria in a hurricane glass and meet me across at Whole Foods.
Kingsbury Street Cafe, 1523 N. Kingsbury, 312-280-1718, kingsburystreetcafe.com