Back when street trolleys and low-flying zeppelins still moved through the Loop, Herman Berghoff founded a saloon where men could stop in to refuel with corned beef sandwiches and Berghoff Beer. Throughout the succeeding decades that took the Berghoff through Prohibition and, afterward, obtaining the city’s first liquor license, Herman’s descendants have shepherded the restaurant through changing times while meticulously preserving an old-fashioned feel. Carlyn Berghoff now steers a menu of contemporary, German-inflected bistro fare where wiener schnitzel, pierogies, and sauerbraten try to pick up the more-modern lingo of mascarpone mac and cheese and coffee-crusted beef medallions. The Berghoff’s Teutonic roots—carried on in an annual Oktoberfest complete with alpenhorns and lederhosen—intertwine with its local ones: the 200-Mile Initiative sends seasonal ingredients and produce from within 200 miles of the city spilling into the better part of the menu during the summer and fall. Setting aside the modern crowds, the Berghoff’s interior might resemble a much better-smelling museum diorama. Warm wooden wainscoting cradles every wall, checkerboard tiles gleam underfoot, and murals above the bar peek onto sprawling vistas from the balconies of pastoral retreats.
Hosted by the foodie mavens from Epicurious, Epicurious Entertains Chicago enlists an extensive roster of Chicago culinary icons—including Chefs Art Smith of Table Fifty-Two and Mindy Segal of HotChocolate—for its two-day celebration of food and wine. Meeting at the Chicago Illuminating Company, the event fills visitors' mornings and afternoons with informative and engaging sessions, which can feature instruction from the experts as well as opportunities for hands-on practice. On Saturday night, Smith and Segal will join with Sprout's Dale Levitski to dazzle an exclusive group of diners with a three-course dinner and their encyclopedic knowledge of tongue twisters that involve the word "fromage."
Pinkys pays homage to its Windy City location with a vintage tough-guy logo and a menu of Chicago-style polishes and gyros. Daily specials include classics such as catfish strips, a Maxwell Street-style polish, and barbecue-rib tips. Containers of croutons and thousand-island, blue-cheese, or creamy-ranch dressing sit on the side of meaty salads, ensuring that dishes get the partner of their choice, unlike most cops who live on the edge. Diners can round out their meals with a side of sauce or wash down each bite with a milk shake.
A Metro-Detroit import, Steve's Deli offers a scroll-worthy menu loaded with endless combinations of soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. Choose carefully from 26 overstuffed sandwiches with such meats as turkey off the bone ($8.99), fried bologna ($7.79), or hot roast-beef brisket ($8.99). Hearty soups such as chicken matzo ball ($6.59) or mushroom barley ($5.59) are also offered in cup or bowl form.