At Omega Restaurant Pancake House & Bakery, sizable omelets, skillets full of hash browns, and fresh eggs are mainstays on the menu no matter the hour—and the dining room is open until midnight every day. Sweet options range from oven-baked apple pancakes to crepes, including one stuffed with Montmorency cherries and an imported Danish wine. There's also the onsite bakery, which produces delectable pies, danishes, and pastries.
The new owners of Omega Restaurant Pancake House & Bakery have instructed their chefs to be just as detailed with their afternoon dishes. Each burger patty is ground in-house, and homemade soup specials rotate daily. Alongside a sprawling list of sandwiches and wraps, dinner plates such as veal parmesan, and Athenian-style skirt steak bring an international touch to the table.
Al Basha corrals an eye-catching lineup of Mediterranean platters onto its menu and buffet tables, spicing palates with rotisserie-cooked meats adorned with signature seasoning. Kebab spears can lift bites of shrimp, lamb, and filet mignon into mouths or tuck them under fedora brims for later snacking, while sandwiches carry a classic cargo of falafel and shawarma. The staff prepares piping sips of authentic Middle Eastern tea with mint or sage, as well as all-natural smoothies and a daily-dessert selection.
A saying emblazoned on the ceiling of Bonapit Smoke House reads: "If there ain't no wood, it ain't no good!" The ovens in the kitchen would agree—they're stocked with applewood made for slow-roasting a variety of meats, which derive even more flavor from the dry rubs chefs slather on beforehand. Plates of St. Louis ribs, beef brisket, and sausages arrive with corn muffins and corn on the cob, though diners can also savor their meats in signature sandwiches served with homemade kettle chips. Barbecue style even inspires the seafood, such as the wood-fired salmon glazed in a raspberry barbecue sauce. Steaks, wraps, and salads round out the menu for a break from entirely smoky fare, but the environment keeps up with the rustic cuisine, as columns of exposed brick and cherry-colored wood mirror the down-home charm that flavors each entrée.
The Wetzel name wasn’t always a source of pride. As a kid, Rick Wetzel grew accustomed to hearing, “Hey Wetzel, you pretzel!” on the playground. But the teasing inspired a quest for the tastiest soft pretzel, one that eventually blossomed into Wetzel’s Pretzels. After years in Nestle’s marketing department, Rick and coworker Bill Phelps channeled Rick’s soft-pretzel recipe into a chain of shops. They make hand-rolled, oven-baked pretzels that sit for only 30 minutes before being sold or chucked, an example that might be in the dictionary under "fresh," if Babe Ruth using his bat as a pool cue weren't already there. And though the buttered and salted Wetzel’s Original still occupies a spot on the menu, a flurry of imaginative flavors fills its other slots, from Sinful Cinnamon to Jalaroni, a cheesy pretzel scattered with pepperoni and jalapeños.
Set in an unassuming building with a yellow roof and uncluttered decor, U-Pick lets its food do the talking. The heady scents of humus, olive oil, and spices drift around the room while plates piled high with falafel, tender strips of beef, and baba ghanouj make their way to patrons. U-Pick specializes in Mediterranean flavors, and its cooks regularly prepare chicken and beef shawarma and falafel sandwiches, along with the occasional chili-cheese hot dog or cheeseburger.
A family-owned-and-operated establishment, the idea for Jenny's Steak House sprouted more than 60 years ago in a small pub on Chicago's South Side. These days, chefs still whip up menu items that the family concocted all those years ago, such as potato pancakes, braised lamb shanks, and oxtail soup. The culinary maestros at Jenny's Steak House also grill hand-cut steaks smeared with a special seasoning blend, pair wraps and sandwiches with homemade Idaho potato chips, and blacken, broil, or fry fresh seafood. Meanwhile, the pizza kitchen dispenses pies until 1 a.m., at which time all the uncooked dough and pepperoni turn into a magical pizza carriage. The lounge accommodates guests even later as they relax with martinis, local brews, or wine while enjoying evening entertainment such as live music and karaoke.