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Lakeview Trumps Pilsen in Neighborhood Style Contest

By Chloe Riley | April 10, 2013 6:52am

CHICAGO — In a neck-and-neck contest for Chicago’s most stylish neighborhood, Lakeview narrowly beat Pilsen in a Racked.com decision that befuddled the Pilsen-ite blue collars and business class alike.

“If you really like polo shirts with the collar shot up, then yeah,” 16-year Pilsen resident Nat Ward said of Lakeview. 

Ward, who “builds things” for a living, emphasized Pilsen’s diversity and “more poor hipsters who are here trying hard.”

Hipsters aside, having a varied mix of people in the hood was something Cafe Jumping Bean owner Eleazar Delgado also prided.

“Lakeview, wow. Really?” he said. “Pilsen has the diversity of the people. That holds itself.”

Delgado listed the murals, bike tours, theater at Benito Juarez and Honky Tonk BBQ winter farmers market as just several of the Pilsen 'hood highlights.

And evidently one famous Lakeview coffee shop couldn’t resist reaching out the hand of peace to the Jumping Bean.

“I just had Julius Meinl here last week trying to get my business,” Delgado said smiling. “I said no thanks. Great coffee shop, but no thanks.”

Exactly 847 votes were counted in the contest, which originally began with Andersonville, Wicker Park, Pilsen, River North, Logan Square, Lakeview, the Gold Coast and Bucktown.

Lakeview-ians were also quick to tout their claim to style fame.

At Krista K — a clothing boutique at 3458 N. Southport Ave. — local designers like Mott 50 and Daftbird dominate.

“We’ve been here for 11 years, so to still be in the conversation, we’re excited to be included,” store manager Jenn Cotton said. “People come in, we know their names, we know their kids. We’re like a fixture in the neighborhood.”

Music Box Theater General Manager Dave Jennings said those who get it know Lakeview is more than just the Cubs and bars.

“Once you get into it, you’re really surprised and amazed at what’s here,” said Jennings, who’s also a board member on the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce. “There’s a lot of culture here aside from what you see on Clark Street.”

And whether it’s independent, foreign, or midnight cult classic, Jennings said film is brought to a new level at the Music Box and the Lakeview neighborhood.

“It’s unique, not only in Chicago, but nationally in that it screens films that you’re not going to see anyplace else. It offers a plethora of different experiences that really grab the interests of just about anyone.”