Named for the 100-plus year-old parish at its center, St. Ben's is a strong family-oriented neighborhood offering attractive residential streets and tantalizing cuisine within its scenic borders. Elegant, well-preserved Victorian homes are an example of St. Ben's old-school architecture that is injected with a sense of modernity by newer construction condominiums and loft conversions. Rows of two-flat, brick buildings are also commonplace in this north side Chicago community. Instead of big box stores and chain eateries, you'll find a pleasing number of beloved, independent neighborhood haunts, always packed with regular clientele and smiling faces. Every year, St. Ben's residents pull out all the stops for BenFest, a two-day block party that is heavy on the family fun. And Ribfest is not to be missed either, especially if you are on a mission to find the best slab of ribs in Chicago.
The history of this Chicago neighborhood is closely related to that of North Center because St. Ben's is bound on three sides by the larger North Center community. St. Benedict's Parish (2215 W. Irving Park, 773 588 6484) is the institution for which the area acquired its name. Around the turn of the 20th century, German Catholic families living in the vicinity sent their children a mile-and-a-half to St. Matthias, the closest Catholic school at the time. The commute was difficult, so families in the community felt a need to establish a neighborhood school of their own which led to the founding of St. Benedict's.
Shortly thereafter, St. Benedict's opened its doors to these road-weary students. Over the years, the church has made improvements and expansions, continuing to attract Chicago residents from all over to worship and learn.
Today, St. Ben's Parish is a still a respected co-ed elementary and high school that continues to grow in enrollment.
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