Birchwood Kitchen

2211 W. North

Aside from being pretty damn delicious and having bottles of Co-Op’s mole-based original hot sauce readily available (for purchase as well), Wicker Park’s Birchwood Kitchen kills you with kindness. The warm, accommodating staff makes you feel more than welcome, devoid of phoniness and over-the-top hubbub—no staffer is climbing over anyone to pull your chair out for you. My last trip included a detailed and helpful breakdown of the menu and specials from an employee, followed by the cashier overhearing that it was my birthday weekend and shelling out a free scone. As I get older and my cynicism flourishes, good food is nice and all, and Birchwood undoubtedly has excellent, fresh food, but I really just want people to act like they appreciate me. Thanks for understanding, Birchwood. —Kevin Warwick