One Of The Iconic Irving Park Restaurants
Just like the city’s Irving Park area where it’s located, Little Bucharest Bistro is a mix of old and new. If you drive on Elston, you’ll find the restaurant one block North of Addison and about 3 blocks south of Irving Park Road. If it is a Sunday, just look for the gathering of local food lovers taking pictures with the restaurant’s signature roasted pig.
The owner, Branko, likes to tell everyone about how long his business has been catering to the Romanian cuisine lovers. He’s been in the restaurant business since 1970, has organized numerous concerts, festivals and has catered to countless events spanning a couple of generations. If you’re lucky and visit on a day when he’s around the iconic Irving Park restaurant (and he’s always there), he might tell you all about it – in your own native language, be it English, Romanian, Polish, Serbian and even Spanish.
When you enter the restaurant, you can see that the walls are adorned with photos of Branko, many VIPs (you’ll be surprised) and framed articles attesting to his long history serving the Irving Park neighborhood. On the opposite wall there is a bar featuring many of your usual 5 o’clock drinks but also Romanian beer, Romanian wines and Branko’s holy water which has developed quite the cult following on Yelp.
The main room is very stylish. The first striking detail you’ll notice is the stained glass depicting past Romanian rulers among which you’ll find Vlad Tepes or the original Dracula as you may know him. The walls are made of brick and decorated with white columns that give the room a uniquely rustic look. In one of the corners you may notice a small stage that hosts frequent concerts, live music bands or the restaurant’s own beloved violinist.
Last, but not least, the restaurant has a very cozy outdoor patio. Lined up with rustic looking wood benches and tables, the patio is tastefully adorned with seasonal flowers that give it a fresh look and a wonderful summery feel. It is a favorite spot for many people that like to savor a cold drink on a hot evening while listening to the lively tunes of the violin player’s serenade.
So, next time you search for a restaurant nearby, give this Irving Park jewel a try and you will see why so many people love our Old World hospitality and food.
About The Irving Park Community Area
One of the official northwest side Chicago community areas, it carries the name of the American author Washington Irving. Best known for stories such as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow”, he has influenced a great many American and European authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and Lord Byron. He is credited as being the first American author to earn his living entirely by using his writing skills. The Irving Park community area is one of the many memorials that carry his name today.
There is a sizeable Serbian community that lives in the Irving Park area (over 3000).
Irving Park Neighborhoods
Old Irving Park
Irving Park has a somewhat irregular shape on the map. It can be roughly divided in the following areas:
- One area delimited by Lawrence (North), Montrose (South), Cicero (West) and Elston (East)
- One area delimited by Montrose (North), Addison (South), Kenton Ave & The Belt Railway Co Railroad Tracks By Cicero (West) and Chicago River (East)
- One area delimited by Addison (North), Belmont (South), Kenton Ave & The Belt Railway Co Railroad Tracks By Cicero (West) and Pulaski (East)
Irving Park community area is part of the 60618, 60630, 60641 zip codes.