Where the Lingonberries Live
In many ways, it’s the rows of greystones, brick bungalows and low-slung light manufacturing buildings that visually define Chicago’s neighborhoods. And it’s the exceptions to those buildings that sometimes also provide that service.
One of those exceptions is this red brick structure at 3258 West Foster Avenue, in the heart of Chicago’s Swedish district in Albany Park. It is the home of the Tre Kronor (“Three Crowns”) restaurant.
According to the restaurant’s web site, this was already a Swedish diner before being converted into the little bistro that it is today. I’m hardly a qualified restaurant critic, but the open-faced Swedish meatball sandwich I had was quite good, and the service was exceptional.
The building has been around since 1905, and actually looks in better shape today than in a 1915 photo of it I dug up. It’s been here almost as long as there has been a Foster Avenue. In the photo, it is the only commercial building visible, and was mostly surrounded by farmhouses and fields on three sides, and the fledgeling North Park University on the fourth.
It is said that this restaurant was a favorite of the late Chicago literary legend, Studs Turkel. Sadly, it’s modern claim to fame is a visit by Food Network personality and game show host, Guy Fieri (nee Ferry), who stenciled a bit of graffiti on the wall in 2009.