Fun eats in Chicago

Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 02:06 PM
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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!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 03:52 PM
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Gino's East has a fun atmosphere that will appeal to your two boys. (And the pizza is classic Chicago deep dish.)

http://www.ginoseast.com/flash.html
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 04:11 PM
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First thing that came to my mind was Ed Debevics.

http://www.eddebevics.com

Pizza also a great idea as Gekko mentioned.

Maybe Greektown?

www.greektownchicago.org

Have fun!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 05:33 PM
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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.

http://www.icreamcafe.com/
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 09:24 PM
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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: http://demeraethiopianrestaurant.com/ 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.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 05:12 AM
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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.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 09:23 AM
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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?
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 09:25 AM
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BTW, there is a *LOT* of Chicago - many miles in all directions - except east, of course - before you get to the suburbs. So lots of choices abound in the neighborhoods.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 10:56 AM
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I think they would enjoy Cafe Ba Ba Reeba on Halstead, a tapas spot with high energy. Our kids liked it a lot.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 12:50 PM
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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.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 01:10 PM
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Portillos
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Old Jan 25th, 2012, 09:30 AM
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For lunch you might enjoy Miller's Pub on Wabash. English fare but good.
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Old Jan 25th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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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.
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Old Jan 25th, 2012, 04:17 PM
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Google restaurants in Hyde Park where the museum is. Where will you be staying out of the city?
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Old Jan 25th, 2012, 04:29 PM
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On the border.!
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Old Jan 26th, 2012, 05:22 AM
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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.
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Old Jan 26th, 2012, 09:00 AM
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And arguably the best way to get there from the Loop area is to take the commuter train.

We took an express bus from the Museum of Science and Industry to the Water Tower on the Near North side.
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Old Jan 26th, 2012, 12:11 PM
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I thought Ed Debevics was a hoot.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 09:24 PM
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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!
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 10:01 PM
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Pizzeria Due, Gino's East, Ed Debevic's, Heaven on Seven are really great places.
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