NORTH CENTER — Bucktown's loss is about to become North Center's gain.
Flipside Cafe, a seasonal pop-up restaurant that for three years operated out of Miko's Italian Ice at 1846 N. Damen Ave., is pulling up its temporary stakes and looking to put down permanent roots on Lincoln Avenue.
Taking over Miko's October through April — "the worst months of the year" — while its owners headed south to Alabama, Flipside's Will Von Hartz quickly gained a following for his baked goods and comfort food.
That success led him to consider turning Flipside into a full-time operation.
Though he'd established a presence at Miko's, the location and size of the space — "it was like a garden apartment" with room for just 10 seats — made it impractical as anything other than a pop-up. Von Hartz began a search for a place of his own.
"I did look in Bucktown and Wicker Park, but I can't afford it," he said.
An avid cyclist, Von Hartz rode around various neighborhoods making note of vacant storefronts, and "friends of Flipside" also pointed him in the direction of potential locations.
He ultimately settled on a space in North Center between Irving Park Road and Montrose Avenue on Lincoln, near his own home of 16 years, and is "very close" to finalizing a deal.
With any luck, Von Hartz said he could soon be serving up freshly baked muffins, grilled cheese sandwiches, kale burgers and his signature bread pudding French toast to a new crowd of fans — and of course any loyalists from his Bucktown days willing to make the trek north.