The conventional knowledge about eating on Lincoln Road is simply, “don’t do it.” But sometimes you don’t have a choice. Maybe returning those pants at Zara took way longer than you expected and now you’re starving. Perhaps a semi-truck carrying rare sea turtles flipped on Alton Road and the cops aren’t letting anyone off the island. Either way, you’re hungry, and the good news is there are some spots nearby that range from good to great. These eight places fit into that spectrum - and won’t require you to walk more than one block from the strange concrete of Lincoln Road.
If you have some time and are looking for a proper sit-down meal, Yardbird is your best bet around here. It’s a casual spot, but feels upscale compared to the sidewalk cafes a block north on Lincoln. They serve Southern food here, and it’s delicious - especially if you’re into fried chicken. If you are, get the chicken ‘n’ watermelon ‘n’ waffles. The shrimp ‘n’ grits and fried green tomato BLT are also very good choices in case you’re not feeling the bird.
Frieze has been serving ice cream since Miami Vice was on the air. It’s that kind of charming neighborhood scoop shop with bright fluorescent lights, hypothermia-inducing AC, and a staff exclusively made up of teenagers. The ice cream is kosher and they have non-dairy sorbet made with real fruit too. There are no ridiculous flavors or sundae monstrosities that exist only for photos here - just mostly cups and cones you can take with you down Lincoln Road, which should help aggressive hosts get the hint that you’re not interested in their four-for-one, chicken-tender Happy Hour.
Only a block south of the western tip of Lincoln Road, Bodega is a very manageable walk for anyone craving good tacos and maybe a frozen margarita. The al pastor here is the kind of straightforward but tasty taco you could potentially eat five of - especially after a few said-drinks. At night, the club attached to the back of Bodega draws big crowds, but things are a lot more chill during the day.
Mister 01 is right behind the Lincoln Road Apple store, and it’s the perfect place to hide from people who are furious at their malfunctioning iPads. It’s located inside a random office building on Michigan Ave, and an employee standing outside has to let you into the lobby. After that, you should hear the tiny, consistently-packed pizzeria (a reservation isn’t a terrible idea). Focus on the pies under the “extraordinary pizza” section of the menu. The very popular Star Luca has a folded crust stuffed with ricotta, and the delicious Claudio pizza is served at room temperature with a very generous amount of white truffle oil on top. It’s almost like Mister 01 doesn’t want to be found, and - after witnessing a room full of adults scream at laptops - we don’t blame them.
Sure, it’s a chain - but it’s the best place around if you’re into smash burgers. Shake Shack’s are excellent little handheld versions with thin, crispy patties, melted American cheese, and more toppings like lettuce, tomato, and bacon if you want them. The ’Shroom Burger - with a fried, cheese-filled portobello mushroom - is also a very good reason to go meatless. The Lincoln Road location is never empty, but even with a big crowd the line usually moves quickly, which is also how you’ll consume their reliably delicious burger too.
No matter which location you’re at, SuViche is always a safe bet for good Peruvian food. The local chain knows how to do a proper lomo saltado and a really solid ceviche. There are sushi rolls too, which are probably better than anything you’ll find on Lincoln Road. The portions are more than enough and we’re really into their marathon Happy Hour, which happens every day from 3-7pm and features specials on food as well as $4 beer, wine, and sake.
Time Out Market is a big food hall on the eastern end of Lincoln Road that’s good for big groups suffering from shopping exhaustion or people who aren’t quite sure what they want to eat. Inside there are counters from over a dozen local restaurants. Kush, Coyo Taco, Wabi Sabi, Stephen’s Deli, and Azucar are going to be the best places to eat here. There are some tables outside - which are quieter and good for people-watching - but all the seating inside is communal. There’s also a full bar in the center, which should make squeezing in next to strangers a tad more pleasant