Monday, April 30, 2012

Drum Roll, Please! Bongo Room Opens This Morning

Very excited to hear, via its Facebook page, that Bongo Room North is opening its doors this morning at 8!  The windows of the storefront at 5022 North Clark have been shrouded in brown butcher paper since we first heard the news that it was coming, back in February.  Now the wait is over.

So there's yet another place in Uptown to try for great breakfast, lunch and brunch.  You can see what's on the menu here.  Two caveats -- it closes at 2pm, and no reservations are taken, ever.  We welcome Bongo Room to our community and look forward to eating there soon.

Update:  Eater Chicago has an interview with the owners and a photo of the interior.


  1. Well here it goes...

    I LOVE eating out and supporting small and local businesses, I do it all the time (ask my stubborn pudge) but I have to point something out.

    I was excited to hear about Bongo Room because there seems to be a lot of hype around it, until I looked at the lunch menu. Every item is meat based. Now before your panties get all bunched up, here is why this bothers me.\\

    Now, there are hundreds of sites out there that talk about desertification and the risks posed to humans so its no real secret that this is happening.

    What gets me is the fact that less and less land is becoming available to grow food for people and what land we do have available for crops (and that is including degraded land that uses monoculture practices, pesticides/herbicides and now which has toxic soil) is mainly used to grow feed for the animals in which we eat.

    A 2 minute Google search will bring up dozens of more sites with data on domestic land usage and percentages used for animal feed and ethanol use.

    So my question is... when are we going to wake up and realize that having a meat based diet is HORRIBLE for our environment? When are we collectively going to start taking seriously the fact that our resources (and that includes land) are running out? When are we going to cease our selfish consumerist lifestyles and begin living a life for the benefit of all others? ...

    These are just a few of the questions rattling around in my head driving me nuts while I wake up and go through life.. :-) Looking forward to the debate...

  2. I just watched Forks Over Knives, and it got me thinking about watching my meat and dairy consumption. While I now eat plenty of veggies, I will add more raw foods and less processed. Its not hard, and veggies are fairly cheap. it will be a habit change.

  3. Looking forward to the debate?

    How much of a debate is expected in the comment section of a page making simple note of a restaurant opening?

    This is like going to the Iowa State Fair, and setting up a booth talking about the perils of dying coral reefs. While your concern is warranted, and the thinking has logic, IMHO you are in a poorly chosen place to engage others on this topic.

  4. No need to be hysterical, UptownAction. You're preaching to the choir.

    Though this isn't exactly a steakhouse or a BBQ restaurant, if you don't like the meat-heavy presence on the menu, you can vote with your wallet and dine elsewhere.

  5. Appreciate all the different approaches each of us have to food, nutrition, etc. And though I’m not a vegetarian, I learn from my vegetarian friends all manner of new (to me) tasty dishes. Our differences keep us, and our neighborhood, interesting.

    But for those of who enjoy a bit of bacon with breakfast, I can happily say from firsthand experience that the Bongo Room is a terrific addition to the area. Delicious breakfasts, great place to grab lunch, and cannot wait to sleep in on a Saturday and have a new brunch place to add to our weekend routine.

    The Bongo Room is a small Chicago business that’s been around for a long time. I can’t imagine what all it takes to keep a little business, or even a restaurant, alive for any number of years but I bet being responsive to the neighborhood figures in. I’m glad that they’ve chosen Uptown/Andersonville to lay down some new roots and as long as they keep serving good food/good coffee, am happy to keep my $$ in my neighborhood.

  6. Wow,

    this is starting to be a replay of the recent KFC thread.

    Meat bad.

    Meat bad.

    It's a friggin restaurant thread. If you're against eating meat. Don't eat meat. Don't hijack every food related thread.

    Where's Phil?

    Perhaps we can link this restaurant opening to May Day and the upcoming NATO conference protests.

    Let's all partake of the Tao of the Simpsons regarding meat.

  7. completely agree with Trey & LG.

    Welcome to the neighborhood. I look forward to dining on their swine breakfast meats sometime soon. Long live the breakfast sausage! =]

    We complain on this forum for years about the (former) alderman, gangs and lack of businesses. So now we get some new local business with a history of success to open up in the area and we're going to nitpick that they don't serve the correct menu to sustain the planet? Really?

    Support your local businesses. Go order some bacon or maybe just an egg-white and veggie omelet.

  8. Is anyone else a bit put off by the $9.00+ breakfast sandwiches? I've not been to the other locations, so I don't know the food, but $9.50 for a croissant, an egg, some bacon, and a slice of muenster seems a bit much.

  9. You don't have to eat there, you know. If $9.50 for a sandwich bothers you, there are other, and cheaper, places. Now, three bucks for a croissant at Baker and Nosh may be a lot. Hell, I can buy four for that at Dominick's. But the ones at Baker and Nosh are far superior. So I'd rather spend my three bucks on one croissant there than a plastic bag full at Dominick's.

    For years, we didn't have choices in Uptown. Now we're finally getting destination dining, places that people will actually come to from other neighborhoods to spend their money in Uptown. And all I'm hearing are complaints and quibbling. It's kind of sad.

  10. I must say, was dining at the Wicker Park Bongo Room in 1995 when it was a small little room underneath the Damen Blue Line stop with 3 hour waits for tables on the weekend. I loved it then, and love it now! Their food is fresh and their fresh and innovative baked breads are to die for. I'll gladly pay any price for their food. Welcome to the neighborhood!

  11. BooHoo nailed it, destination dining is the name of the game.

  12. "don't eat there" "bunch of complainers on this blog" "vote with your dollars elsewhere"...

    Does this rhetoric really work? It's a turn a blind eye mentality, "if you don't like it, just move along".
    Transfer that tone of thinking to cancer alley, big oil, big pharma, politics heck anything and see how well things turn out. My point being remember the saying "think globally, act locally?" By choosing what to support in your local community, you are doing just that. I don't support restaurants that have meat heavy menus because they in turn support an industry that is grossly unsustainable because of the way it operates (just look at the Brazilian rainforest). I and we should not turn a blind eye unless we enjoy being sheep. Our macro problems exist because of poor micro decision making.

    Now, I can't say it loud enough, I'm all for local business, small business the mom & pop's you name it, but I'd also fight against an oil refinery opening at Montrose beach, another crime attracting convenience/liquor store, a local animal testing lab, a religious book store that pushes a discriminatory message etc etc.

    Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant, keeps me from using inebriates even though I'm beating my head against the wall..

  13. This restaurant really does look great and each new addition to our neighborhood will make it more attractive. However, since the topic came up, as a vegetarian I am always surprised when a restaurant doesn't have a few solid vegetarian choices for each meal. So many more people are stearing clear of meat for a whole host of reasons. Even though my husband does eat meat we select restaurants where we both can enjoy a nice meal so I'm always anxious for some new veggie/vegan friendly restaurants to open in Uptown.

  14. How about contacting the folks at the Bongo Room and asking them to add some vegetarian dishes?

  15. i am stoked about the bongo, and sure it will impress as well as nookies. welcome and thanks for bringing something unique to our community!

  16. Why is the Brazilian rainforest an unsustainable industry? Just because it is filled with all manner of critters trying to eat other critters doesn't make it bad, UA, that is just how the rainforest operates. Quit trying to take away the rainforest!

    But thanks for fertilizing this thread too. Please consider the inebriates, and ease up on the skull cracking. Some people in the globally are apt to think locally differently than you do. It happens.

  17. I am happy to see another food destination place open in Uptown. Kudos for the Bongo Room for taking a chance on Uptown and a risk in the business world.

    As far as UptownAction all I can say is wow. Here is the deal...

    If we have to tolerate you highjacking a post for political purposes you have to tolerate a little bacon on a menu. Deal?

    Or, life is short, try to enjoy it. You were smart enough to figure out all the "evils" of the world, give us credit that we will find them out on our own as well. If not let ignorance be bliss, and let us enjoy a $9 artery clogging piece of heaven.

  18. Point of information here : at the Bongo Room, breakfast is served all day. There are many non-meat options, including sandwiches, on the breakfast menu. If you think of the breakfast menu as the base and the lunch menu as the extras, there are plenty of options for everyone.

  19. In Vino Veritas...

    First day on UU and you break out with a grand slam! My hat goes out to you, keep it up you have me laughing. :-)

  20. Uptown Action.. in honor you you, honest to God, I am going to cook steaks on the grill tonight and make sure I visit the Bongo Room this weekend... if it irritates your self-righteous ID, then it must be, as Martha says, "..a Good Thing"

  21. This is a neighborhood blog. Even though I am enjoying a juicy cheese burger tonight, I find it unnecessary to call UptownAction names.

    Though I don't really agree with his/her position, he/she has a right to it.

    With the way many of you treat other people on this blog, I am embarrassed to have many of you as neighbors. I would say it to your face. Be nice.

  22. Got some haters in Uptown! lol If my feathers were only so easily ruffled when someone challenged my paradigm, man..I'd probably be on a cocktail of meds to control my blood pressure and anxiety/angst.

    Relax people, enjoy your meat. I'll enjoy my legumes, grains, fruits and vegetables and we can all live happily ever after (or at least until we run out of land and resources! ooohhhhh!!)

  23. Enough commenting on other commenters. Hope y'all have it out of your systems.

  24. I'm disappointed--I saw all these comments and thought they came from people who have already eaten at the new Bongo Room and had thoughts. I guess I'll just have to try it out for myself! Glad to have a new place in the hood to try out in the morning.