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HAUNTS: Ugo’s

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Food is more than just fuel for us here. We think consciously about the things that we consume, placing thought on nutrition as well as where and how our food is created. But we also refuse to sacrifice the pleasures that can also stem from the power of food. For many – for most – food has a transformative power. It is tied to our memories, our joys, and aligns itself perfectly in our understanding and enjoyment of life.

This sentiment holds true for our Assistant Operations Manager of HR and Training, Carla. For the latest installment of our HAUNTS series, Carla chose Ugo’s (2833 W. Armitage), a restaurant in Logan Square. For Carla, it was an easy choice. She is one of their most dedicated customers.

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Ugo’s also aligns itself with principles that Carla favors. More than just a consumer, Carla’s relationship to food includes nearly EVERY step of the creation process, from farming ingredients in her own back yard to developing and executing delicious recipes. Her experience began in her childhood. Growing up on small and larger farms, Carla learned about the value in producing one’s own food.

“The land in Arkansas where I spent most of my childhood has been in my family for 4-5 generations and I learned very early [about] eating animals and vegetables that my family raised … and how important it is to take care of the place that feeds you, to build your own soil, save your seeds, and teach those you encounter to respect the place they come from,” Carla said.

After moving to Chicago for school, Carla’s love of food and cooking continued to grow. At the University of Chicago, Carla “nerded out ” on pastries and bread, making cream puffs or cookie dough from scratch. The next few years were spent working at a French bakery in Hyde Park before transferring to Kendall College to get a B.A. in Culinary Arts. Her schooling led to an internship at Bistro Campagne, followed by gigs at Gourmet Gorilla and The Plant, an urban farm.

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Carla first heard about Ugo’s on Facebook and was excited because the restaurant follows many of the same tenets of her personal philosophy toward food.

“This isn’t your typical cheap pub fare,” she offered. “You’re supporting the farmers who grew it and the cooks who carefully prepared it … and it tastes great.” We’re particularly enamored of the fresh, rich pizzas which seem to overflow with delicious ingredients that speak first to the visual and later thrill one’s taste buds. Food is a necessity and great, localized food is a privilege. It is valuable to learn about where our food comes from as well develop more intrinsic relationships to it.

WHAT SHE SAYS:

“You can almost always get a table, it’s quiet enough to have a conversation with your friends or your date, the staff is attentive… and the kitchen is open till1:30 am!”

WHAT TO GET:

Maitake pizza, beet salad, fresh pasta

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Photos by John Khuu