Bang Bang Pie Shop: A slice of heaven in Logan Square

Go for the pies and stay for the biscuits at Bang Bang Pie Shop, located at 2051 N. California Ave.

Welcome to Bang Bang Pie Shop!

Husband-wife team Dave and Megan Miller created a business that reflects recipes passed down from Megan’s family, which are sweet and homey. As you enter Bang Bang you’ll notice the staff rolling dough in the open kitchen, parents pushing baby strollers into the shop, and couples having conversations over a slice of pie.

Everything inside Bang Bang Pie Shop is made from scratch – from the biscuits and pies that come piping hot from the oven to the fresh roasted coffee brewed daily. (Tip: If you’re a coffee addict like me, buy a 12-ounce bag of Bang Bang Magic Beans!). Though Bang Bang may not have a large menu, it’s the details that make the dining experience so special.

Bang Bang Pie Shop Menu

Bang Bang Pie Shop Menu…short, yet affordable!

Coffee Station

Stop by the coffee station for Bang Bang Magic Beans!

Order a biscuit and head to the topping bar. You’ll find a variety of homemade butters and jams to accent your biscuit. (Tip: Try the biscuit with black pepper honey butter and blueberry lavender jam. Or, add chive butter to the ham biscuit. Trust me, these combos work!). Bang Bang also serves biscuits and gravy, but only on weekends.

Biscuit

Biscuit with black pepper honey butter and blueberry lavender jam

Biscuit Topping Bar

Biscuit Topping Bar

Candied Bacon

Sweet & Savory: Get a side of candied bacon to go with your biscuit!

Of course Bang Bang’s specialty is the pie! And there are different pies to satisfy all sugar cravings – cream pies, custard pies, fruit pies, and chocolate pies. During a recent trip, my party tried the honey pie and chocolate peanut butter banana pie and they were TO-DIE-FOR…just look at the photos below! We wanted to sample the blueberry pie as well, but it sold out. (Tip: Arrive at the shop early or pre-order a whole pie to ensure you get your favorite flavor!).

Bang Bang Pies

Bang Bang Pies: Honey Pie (left), Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie (right)

Aside from the nosh, Bang Bang serves up a theater experience. Check out Speakeasy, a Prohibition themed murder-mystery where you could be the prime suspect. It’s BYOB and all players receive a slice of pie. Click here, to reserve your spot for Speakeasy at Bang Bang Pie Shop on Saturday, July 7, 2012.

Flyer for "Speakeasy"

“Speakeasy” (live theater with a slice of pie)

Bang Bang is open Tuesday through Friday 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Dig into Bang Bang Pie Shop today (except on Mondays when it’s closed)!

Other tips about the area:

  • You don’t have to travel far to reach 90 Miles Cuban Café (2540 W. Armitage Ave.). Enjoy a traditional Cuban meal with a side of white rice, black beans, and plantains. (Tip: Look out for the daily specials, especially the picadillo. It’s a must-try dish!). The restaurant is also BYOB! If you bring rum or wine, the staff will mix you mojitos or sangria!!!
  • Be a locavore and drink a beer at Revolution Brewing (2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.), one of Chicago’s craft breweries. Pair the Anti-Hero IPA with a hand-tossed pizza. (Tip: Ladies, it’s a great place to impress a guy on a first or second date!).

Koval Distillery: Mixing whiskey and tours in Ravenswood

Yes, Tip C is finally getting tipsy (or at least slightly buzzed).

Koval Spirits

Koval Spirits: Lion’s Pride Whiskey (left), Koval Liqueurs (right)

Last Saturday, I scheduled a tour with some friends at Koval Distillery, located at 5121 N. Ravenswood Ave. (Tip: Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license or state ID to prove you’re of drinking age. Otherwise, staff won’t allow you into the facility!). Koval is a family-operated, craft distillery founded by Robert and Sonat Birnecker. Robert brought his family’s distilling techniques from Austria and continued the tradition in our fair city. Koval’s business model is the first of its kind in Chicago since Prohibition. And now, we get the privilege to sample its whiskey without breaking the law.

Koval Office Manager Jason Liechty led our tour. Jason guided us through the distillery’s history, whiskey-making process, and Koval product line. (Tip: Be sure to wear comfy shoes! It’s a 1 ½ to 2 hour tour of the distillery, which can be harsh on the feet.). And of course there were tastings of Koval spirits. However, don’t expect to get drunk unless you’re a total lightweight. Jason informed us that alcohol producers are only allowed to serve each patron up to 2 ounces of liquor during tours. Needless to say, we were given small servings of the 9 spirits we tasted – 3 from the White Whiskey line, 3 from the Lion’s Pride Whiskey line, and 3 liqueurs. Koval has 30 spirits, so it was nice that they offered us a good portion of their products.

Distillery Machines

Distillery Machines: Column Still (left), Pot Still (right)

Koval makes a pure artisan product – single barrel whiskey made from rye, wheat, oat, millet, or spelt. Jason handed us jars of each ingredient in its purest form, which is why Koval is certified organic and kosher. Aside from whiskey, Koval creates truly unique liqueurs and specialty spirits. For instance, Koval used Metropolitan Brewery’s Dynamo Copper Lager to concoct Bierbrand, a German beer schnapps. Koval also has limited edition spirits, such as its Paw Paw Liqueur and Asian Pear Liqueur. (Tip: Pick up those limited edition liqueurs in case Koval doesn’t produce them again. It may be your last chance!).

At the end of the tour, you can purchase any Koval spirit, as well as t-shirts, glassware, and much more. (Tip: Sign up for Koval’s newsletter and volunteer list. Volunteers at Koval receive a discount on products!).

Tours take place every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday at 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday at 7:00 p.m. (Tip: Buy a Drink Deck before scheduling. You get a complimentary tour of Koval for two and 15% off in-distillery purchase!).

Be a locavore and sip some Koval whiskey soon…cheers!

Koval Whiskey Barrels

Koval Whiskey Barrels

Other tips about the area:

  • Interested in brewery tours? Then schedule one with Metropolitan Brewery (Koval’s next door neighbor). Like Koval, Metropolitan is a Chicago brand with an emphasis on quality. Tours with Metropolitan are few and far between, but don’t be discouraged. Metropolitan beer is sold and served at various stores, restaurants and bars in Chicago.

Frasca: Not your average pizza joint in Roscoe Village

Finding a spot to eat in Roscoe Village is never an issue. There are restaurants like Orange and Kitsch’n for brunch, as well as bars like Village Tap and Volo for happy hour. While the food and drinks are incredible at all of these places, oftentimes you’ll have to wait patiently for a table to open up or you’re practically sitting in the diner’s lap next to you because it’s too darn crowded. At Frasca, a pizzeria and wine bar located at Paulina St. & Roscoe St., you don’t run into these problems.

Frasca

Welcome to Frasca

My roommates and I wonder why we haven’t had to wait 30+ minutes to grab a table at Frasca. Perhaps drivers lose patience if they can’t find a parking space nearby. I admit, it’s easier to take the Brown Line and get off at the Paulina stop to get there. Or, maybe it’s the efficient wait staff and sensible layout of the restaurant that allow service to run at an even pace. The bar wraps around the center of Frasca and seats up to 18 people. (Tip: Great place to dine for a casual date!). For larger parties, the booths and tables surrounding the bar are comfy and evenly spaced. And, if weather permits, there are plenty of tables outside for al fresco dining.

Needless to say, Frasca Pizzeria + Wine Bar is known for its pizza. Frasca’s pizza is not the traditional deep dish pizza or pan pizza Chicagoans are familiar with. It’s Italian style pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven to make the thin crust perfectly crisp and chewy. The Prosciutto, Margherita, and Soprano pizzas are among my favorites. (Tip: Dine at Frasca on Wednesdays for buy one get one free pizzas!).

Although the pizza is fantastic, I typically go there for brunch or happy hour. There are many drink specials throughout the week for a cheap happy hour, such as ½ off bottles of wine on Mondays and $6 dollar specialty martinis on Thursdays. Also, ask your server for the Farmers Table menu, which features a variety of bruschettas, cheeses, and cured meats. I fully recommend ordering a butcher’s plate, so you can sample different items on the menu. For instance, I can split a small butcher’s plate with a girlfriend and select the Tomato & Basil Bruschetta, Brie & Apple Bruschetta, Delice de Bourgogne Cheese, and Prosciutto. Four items may not seem like much food, but trust me, the portions are generous and filling. And, Frasca adds fun accouterments to the butcher’s plate like grapes, almonds, and chutneys.

Small Butcher's Plate

Small Butcher's Plate

Weekend brunch at Frasca is equally amazing! Though they serve typical brunch fare – pancakes, French toast, etc. – you want to order items with an Italian twist. The Breakfast Pizza is something you won’t see at most restaurants. And, the Paulina St. Omelette is to-die-for with mozzarella, mushrooms, sautéed spinach, and a drizzle of hollandaise. (Tip: Skip the diet! Order the side of potatoes instead of fruit. Frasca adds alfredo sauce and rosemary to its potatoes…YUM!). If you want to splurge even more, try the cinnamon-sugar donuts. They come fresh out of the kitchen piping hot.

Paulina St. Omelette with Potatoes

Paulina St. Omelette with Potatoes

Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts

Cinnamon-Sugar Donuts

Frasca is open Monday through Thursday 4:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Friday 2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., and Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Hope to see you there soon!

Other tips about the area:

  • Need a cute outfit to wear for a date at Frasca? Then, head over to Bazar fashion boutique (Frasca’s next door neighbor). Bazar has lots of flowy dresses, cute accessories, and even a few decorative pieces for the home. It’s a great place to find gifts for your girlfriends, because items are reasonably priced around $50 dollars or below.
  • If you’re not in the mood for wine, stop by Northdown Café and Taproom down Lincoln Ave. The beer menu is insanely long, but don’t be intimidated! The bartenders are incredibly nice and help you navigate the extensive list of brews on tap, bottles, domestics, and imports.