Cheeky Chicago founders Erica Bethe Levin (left) and Jessica Zweig (right).
Tonight, Cheeky Chicago, the Chicago guide blog for women, celebrates its annual Cheekiest Guys of Summer with an event at Oak Street Beach (6 PM) and an afterparty at Drumbar (201 E. Delaware Pl., 312-943-5000). The list of honored men includes local celebrities like Windy City Live’s Ryan Chiaverini, renowned stylist Eric Himel, soccer star Dan Gargan of the Fire, and chef de cuisine Sean Pharr of NoMI, among others.
Of course, behind every good man is a great woman—or two. Jessica Zweig and Erica Bethe Levin founded Cheeky Chicago as a forum to provide women with lifestyle tips, inside looks at restaurants, spas, and other spots around the city, and effective ways to network within it. Success of the site has made them stars in their own right, but they always stay true to the neighborhoods they call home. Below, Zweig and Bethe share their hyperlocal favorites.
Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
What do you love most about Lincoln Park?
ERICA BETHE LEVIN: My absolute favorite thing is its proximity to the actual Park, the zoo, and the beach. When I walk through the neighborhood, I know I live in the greatest city ever, but it feels like I'm perusing the tree-lined streets of a suburb. It's the best of all possible worlds.
How would you describe the style of people that live there?
EBL: The people that live in Lincoln Park are sophisticated but down-to-earth, hip but not hipsters.
Where are your favorite spots to dine in Lincoln Park?
EBL: Gemini Bistro (2075 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-525-2522); Sushi O Sushi (346 W. Armitage Ave., 773-871-4777) [because] it’s okay to still sake bomb after college; and the new, very authentic French bakery La Fournette (1547 N. Wells St., 312-624-9430). However, one of my favorite restaurants—not only in Lincoln Park but the entire city—is Riccardo Trattoria (2119 N. Clark St., 773-549-0038). Hands down, most unbelievable Italian food.
Is there anywhere you will always venture outside the neighborhood for?
EBL: I would venture far and wide for Xoco’s (449 N. Clark St., 312-334-3688) hot chocolate, especially around February.
Neighborhood: Old Town
What is the cheekiest thing about Old Town?
JESSICA ZWEIG: I really do believe it's the most perfect neighborhood in Chicago. A Cheeky girl loves to have it all, and Old Town is where to get it. I frequent the Green City Market weekly. The incredible history of Second City, [and] pre-Chicago Fire architecture, coupled with quiet, tree-lined streets and the happening Wells Street strip...it's Chicago's little heaven.
How would you describe the residents’ style?
JZ: It's a great mix, comprised mostly of young professionals, new families, and empty-nesters, who collectively give it a slightly suburban feel while still remaining energized and lively.
What are your favorite shopping spots in the area?
JZ: Cityblue (1444 N. Wells St., 312-664-2222) is a must for the best denim and indie designer accessories. I hit up Handle with Care (1706 N. Wells St., 312-751-2929) when I need a one-of-a-kind designer cocktail dress, and you'll find the best seasonal sales you can find at any boutique, anywhere, at Sara Jane (1343 N. Wells St., 312-335-1962).
Describe your perfect Old Town day.
JZ: It would include a walk through the residential street behind Wells (where some of the coolest real estate in town exists; I love getting “lost” over there), followed by an afternoon glass of Prosecco on the sidewalk patio of Topo Gigio (1516 N. Wells St., 312-266-9355). A quick stop at A New Leaf (1818 N. Wells St., 312-642-8553) to pick up fresh flowers, and then finish on the balcony of my 37th floor apartment watching the sunset...with another glass of Prosecco, of course.
To purchase tickets to tonight's event, visit fanfueled.com.