Closer Look

Where to warm up this winter

The view from inside Armadillo's Pillow, a great bookstore to browse around or get comfy and read to get out of the cold. Photo by Ellen Bauch // The PHOENIX

Bitter winds that blow you off-course. Snow that seeps through your definitely-not-winter-appropriate boots. Black ice that skillfully hides under unshoveled sidewalks. Ankle-length overpriced North Face jackets. Home Alone ski masks. Yes, it’s winter in Chicago. And while December let the city off relatively easy, January is back with a vengeance. It’s hard for most students to stay holed-up in their dorms or apartments for three months. Rather than tramping across the city through bone-chilling cold to beat your cabin fever, though, curl up at one of these cozy spots in Loyola’s very own Rogers Park. Between books, coffee and comics, you’re going to make it until spring. We promise.

Photo by Ellen Bauch // The PHOENIX
Photo by Ellen Bauch // The PHOENIX
  1. Armadillo’s Pillow, 6753 N. Sheridan Road. Open daily.

This used bookstore gives off a vibe somewhere between Dumbledore’s office and your hippy aunt’s living room. Books spill over every surface, and with well-worn chairs nestled into most corners, it’s easy to pass a few hours perusing the budget-friendly collection. Most books cost from $1 to $5, but some hardcovers or rare finds will be pricier. You can even find a box of free books from time to time. But be careful: If you stay too long, you may never be able to scrub off the smell of incense.

 

 

Photo by Joe Bosch // The PHOENIX
  1. Ellipsis Coffeehouse, 1259 W. Devon Ave. Open daily.

Ellipsis has only been around since last spring, but the shop has already earned itself a good reputation thanks to its strong coffee and tidy, exposed-brick look. The corner window overlooking Devon Avenue hasn’t hurt, either. It’s the kind of place where customers can experiment with their brews; occasionally, when it’s quiet, the baristas will let customers try a taste of exotic espresso or other new wares. Owners Chris and Meghan Zimmerman are always striving for the perfect cup and only use coffee beans that are fair trade certified, which means the farmers that grew the beans were paid a fair wage for their work.

 

Photo by Joe Bosch // The PHOENIX
  1.   Maddiebird, 1445 W. Devon Ave. Open daily except Mondays.

A self-proclaimed “mom ‘n’ pop cupcake shop,” Maddiebird is a great place to satisfy a sweet tooth. Cupcakes are available in-store every day for $3.50 each, but students can call ahead to order more than a dozen. The bakery is small, bright and comfy — a great place to munch on a cupcake while catching up on class reading. Baked goods are also available for those who are vegan or gluten-free. The real centerpiece at Maddiebird’s, though, is the cake. With whimsical designs, owner Michele McAtee can create a masterpiece out of fondant and batter. But you pay a price for such decadence — cakes start at $35 and serve at least 14 people.

 

Photo by Ellen Bauch // The PHOENIX

 

  1.  The Growling Rabbit, 6981 N. Sheridan Road. Open daily except Mondays.

Catering to vegans, vegetarians and meat-lovers alike, the Growling Rabbit is a cornerstone of the Rogers Park cafe scene. Together with bakery Sweet Atilla’s, the cafe tries to keep all its food as local and as fresh as possible. Set just below street level with big bay windows, Growling Rabbit is the perfect place to order a big, highly caffeinated cappuccino and hammer out an essay. Some of the most popular menu items include the vegan breakfast sandwich, mac and cheese and the turkey Gouda chutney sandwich.

Photo by Marissa Boulanger // The PHOENIX
Photo by Marissa Boulanger // The PHOENIX
  1.  Third Coast Comics, 6234 N. Broadway. Open daily except Mondays.

Third Coast Comics is more than just a comic book store: It’s a community. Offering events such as a comic book tea party, a Doctor Who meetup and an outing to see The Hobbit, Third Coast has made itself not only the place to buy comics in Edgewater, but also the place to embrace them. The small store is lined with black wire racks filled with comics and other “geeky” gifts, and customers are encouraged to sit and read as well as shop. The staff is usually more than ready to answer any questions, and the store carries more than just the well-known comics; Third Coast also supports a few independent creators. With its jarring red and blue walls, walking into the store almost feels like stepping into a panel of a comic strip.

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