Uncommon Ground is a restaurant/gallery/music venue/bar/cafe that boasts Chicago’s (and maybe the nation’s) first certified organic rooftop farm, which helps supply the restaurant with seasonal vegetables. The roof also houses two beehives, which helps provide pollination in their community as well as honey for the restaurant. Quite simply, this is urban farming that works. In fact, for every tree-tini (a martini with organic ginger-infused Rain Vodka, Liquor 43, tart apple syrup and apple cider) you order, Uncommon ground will plant a tree. For more information about Uncommon Grounds environmental efforts, check out their Web site.
Of course Uncommon Ground’s environmental commitment deserves to be praised, but what about the food? Well, we went in with empty stomachs for a Saturday brunch and left with full stomachs and smiles on our faces.
I had been planning on checking out Nuevo Leon for some chilaquiles on this trip, but we never got around to it, so I ordered them here. It wasn’t the down-home chilaquiles I was craving, but this more refined version totally hit the spot. The blend of crispy tortillas, chorizo, salsa verde and sour cream was perfect. The home fries were perfectly cooked and a couple dashes of Cholula gave them a nice kick.
Of course, I got to sample everyone else’s dishes, which included some really good halibut fish tacos, a ground buffalo corncake skillet and a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, mixed peppers, chihuahua cheese, cumin créme, spinach tortilla and smoked chili sauce. Check them out here:
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We ended the meal with some Black Dog Gelato, which is made locally in Chicago. The flavors we selected were salted peanut, coffee cocoa nibs, and caramel goat cheese. The peanut ended up being our favorite because we liked the salty flavor, the slight sweetness and a nice coarse texture. The caramel goat cheese tasted like cheesecake (always a good thing), and the coffee cocoa nibs was good but still a distant third.
(clockwise from left) salted peanut, coffee cocoa nibs, and caramel goat cheese
Uncommon Ground is one Chicago restaurant that would be welcomed with open arms in the Bay Area. Their use of fresh, local, organic ingredients, as well as a commitment to running a completely sustainable, green philosophy permeates every aspect of the business, means that Uncommon Ground is doing in Chicago what many Bay Area restaurants only wish they could.