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Cafe|Bar definitely fills a niche in the area north of West Washington Park -- although it took some smart operators to identify it. When owner Dane Huguley landed the lease for this spot off Alameda, he surveyed the neighborhood to determine the type of restaurant it needed. Noting the handful of Asian places, the two breakfast/brunch joints, the Greek spot and fine-dining option all within a couple of blocks, Huguley and chef Eric Rivera decided on a cafe and bar that offered less expensive seasonal American fare in comfortable digs that they hoped would attract regulars. They took a fine-dining sensibility and meshed it with European cafe culture, building a smart menu based on local, fresh ingredients and variations on familiar dishes -- though several surprises sneak in, too. A concise wine list, decent cocktail board and happy staff round out Cafe|Bar, making it an ideal spot for an aperitif or a nightcap, a casual dinner or a date night.