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miamatusow Jan 23rd, 2012 03:06 PM

Fun eats in Chicago
Greetings! I will be traveling to Chicago in March with my husband and two boys (ages 12 and 8) to see family. We have been there before, but it's been a few years, and I'm hoping for some recommendations for fun/interesting places to eat.

I'm not looking for anything of the Rainforest Cafe variety - rather, places that are interesting and that would be enjoyable for the whole family. (For instance, there used to be a wine bar-ish sort of place that had milk flights - chocolate, vanilla, strawberry - on their menu.) Despite picky starts, my kids have become adventurous eaters, so ethnic food isn't a problem.

We will be staying near the Mag Mile and will be relying on public transportation and cabs to get around, so traveling too, too far into the suburbs probably isn't a great option, but we'd make the trek for something really unique.

And, of course, I'll always take suggestions for interesting shops or other destinations that would be appealing to us and to our boys.

Many thanks!

Gekko Jan 23rd, 2012 04:52 PM

<b>Gino's East</b> has a fun atmosphere that will appeal to your two boys. (And the pizza is classic Chicago deep dish.)

Cadgirl Jan 23rd, 2012 05:11 PM

First thing that came to my mind was Ed Debevics.

Pizza also a great idea as Gekko mentioned.

Maybe Greektown?

Have fun!

purduegrad Jan 23rd, 2012 06:33 PM

iCream is a lot of fun -- ice cream made to order and "instantly" (well, really pretty quick) frozen with liquid nitrogen. Think billows of dry ice smoke. It's up in Wicker Park, but just off the Damen-O'Hare stop on the Blue line.

Michael Jan 23rd, 2012 10:24 PM

You might try this place. From my trip report. The price is for 6 persons.

We walked around the downtown all together and then took the Red line to the Lawrence station to eat in an Ethiopian restaurant half a block from the “L” station: We ordered the family platter which is a variety of foods on sponge bread presented on a large platter: $183.63 including drinks and tip. The food is excellent, but one has to be willing to eat using sponge bread to grab the food, no utensils are given.

bachslunch Jan 24th, 2012 06:12 AM

Gino's East is an excellent deep dish pizza choice. Other worthy options include Lou Malnati's and the original Pizzeria Uno or Due, and Giordano's does a worthy variant called stuffed pizza.

Good places for Italian beef sandwiches would include Al's #1 Italian Beef and Mr. Beef. Al's is a little more sit-down friendly, but I liked the sandwich at Mr. Beef slightly more.

Many of the best-regarded Chicago hot dog spots (Superdawg, Hot Doug's, Wiener Circle) are located outside of the Loop and the Near North area -- your best choice here arguably would be Portillo's for this item.

exiledprincess Jan 24th, 2012 10:23 AM

I think you've garnered from the above responses that most of the choices which will fit your desires are away from the Magnificent Mile area.

What do you have on your agenda when you are here?

exiledprincess Jan 24th, 2012 10:25 AM

BTW, there is a *LOT* of Chicago - many miles in all directions - except east, of course :D - before you get to the suburbs. So lots of choices abound in the neighborhoods.

HappyTrvlr Jan 24th, 2012 11:56 AM

I think they would enjoy Cafe Ba Ba Reeba on Halstead, a tapas spot with high energy. Our kids liked it a lot.

nlg Jan 24th, 2012 01:50 PM

Last time we were in Chicago we went on a Tastebuds food tour and we really enjoyed it-even your children would like it. We walked around the city for about three hours and stopped for food along the way-got a history lesson also. We tried pizza, chicago hotdog, cheeseburger at the Billy Goat Tavern and several other stops. We are planning to go on another food tour next time we go to Chicago.

SiteC_er Jan 24th, 2012 02:10 PM


gardendiva Jan 25th, 2012 10:30 AM

For lunch you might enjoy Miller's Pub on Wabash. English fare but good.

miamatusow Jan 25th, 2012 05:08 PM

Wow - thanks for all the suggestions! I'm taking notes! And I certainly don't mind venturing outside the Mag Mile - I prefer it, actually.

@exiledprincess: I'm not sure exactly what's on the agenda. In the past, the boys enjoyed the Nature Museum, and they consider the Museum of Science and Industry a must-do. I'm more of a wandering-around-neighborhoods person than a museum person, so I'm hoping for a couple of hours of that, too.

lucci Jan 25th, 2012 05:17 PM

Google restaurants in Hyde Park where the museum is. Where will you be staying out of the city?

TinaNY Jan 25th, 2012 05:29 PM

On the border.!

bachslunch Jan 26th, 2012 06:22 AM

Just a recommendation: if you're exploring the MoSI area on foot, I'd stick to the area between this museum and the Univ. of Chicago campus to the west. If memory serves, East 57th between the museum and college is especially fine to walk and has several places to eat, etc. Wandering north of E. 55th, west beyond the UC campus, or south beyond E. 60th can get into dicier territory especially after dark, though reports are that even these close-in surrounding areas aren't as bad they used to be. Regardless, that still leaves a good bit of the neighborhood to experience.

And arguably the best way to get there from the Loop area is to take the commuter train.

Michael Jan 26th, 2012 10:00 AM

<i>And arguably the best way to get there from the Loop area is to take the commuter train.</i>

We took an express bus from the Museum of Science and Industry to the Water Tower on the Near North side.

logandog Jan 26th, 2012 01:11 PM

I thought Ed Debevics was a hoot.

kelliebellie Jan 30th, 2012 10:24 PM

Chicago Q

Have you watched any of the competition barbeque shows? This place is owned by Lee Ann Whippen (who was there the night we were there) and does competition style ribs that are out of this world. They even offered us a tour of the kitchen. Great stuff!

pearl1220 Jan 30th, 2012 11:01 PM

Pizzeria Due, Gino's East, Ed Debevic's, Heaven on Seven are really great places.

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