FAR NORTHWEST SIDE — Dozens of new shops and restaurants have recently opened their doors on the Far Northwest Side, saving gift hunters a trip Downtown — and making it easy to find unique gifts that won't find their way into the regifting pile come January.
FOR THE CHICAGO-LOVER IN YOUR LIFE
After starting online, Replica Chicago opened its Jefferson Park store (4425 N. Milwaukee Ave.) in 2012, and has been the go-to source for Chicagophiles for all over the city ever since. Owner Lyn Hooley makes the ceramic-tile coasters decorated with vintage maps of Chicago and the El system herself. $24 for a set of four coasters, available online and in store; $6 for individual coasters sold online only
FOR YOUR MEAT-LOVING BROTHER
Open only since March, Leadbelly (5739 W. Irving Park Road) is the go-to place on the Far Northwest Side for gourmet burgers, craft beers and custom (boozy, if you please) shakes. Using ingredients made from scratch, including beef and pork belly ground by hand as well as homemade buns, Leadbelly is sure to satisfy even the most demanding carnivore. Gift cards are available in any amount, and are sold in a gift basket with the eatery's famous almond and chocolate butter cookie.
FOR YOUR ARTSY FRIEND WHO WANTS TO SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT
Edgebrook resident Laura Guenther opened Local Goods Chicago (5354 W. Devon Ave.) nearly a year ago to showcase the work of Chicago artists — and to give Far Northwest Siders a cool place to shop. Any gift from this store is sure to be unique, but upcycled lamps from Norwood Park artist Kim Gottschall's KVG Designs are sure to be a conversation starter and good for the environment, too. Prices range from $50 to $90
FOR YOUR FOODIE BEAU
Recently featured on WTTW's "Check, Please," The Portage (3938 N. Central Ave.) is a foodie's close-to-home paradise. Touting elevated comfort food, the restaurant offers a Downtown-caliber dining experience a stone's throw from Portage Park. Gift certificates are available in any amount.
FOR YOUR THRIFTY AUNT
Thrift & Thrive (6025 W. Irving Park Road) in Portage Park is a frugalista's wonderland, with gently used and recycled items as far as the eye can see. The store offers furniture, jewlery, records and a host of knick-knacks and thingamabobs. Shop the store's new vintage section for throwback clothes, games and toys. Prices vary