Waffles might be their only offering, but Wâfel is anything but a formal restaurant. Instead, it's a counter-service café, serving steamy beverages from its full coffee bar and selling virtually nothing that requires a knife and fork to eat. Instead, each of their waffles are "fold and go"; that is, sandwiched firmly around their ingredients so every selection only requires two hands to devour. The waffle artisans craft sweet and savory sandwiches from traditional Brussels waffles, which are leavened with yeast for a puffier, airier consistency than the standard American waffle. The recipe might be traditional, but what fills these sandwiches is anything but—selections run the gamut from scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheddar to fried chicken and maple syrup to The Elvis, a blend of bacon, peanut butter, banana, and honey. For a more dessert-like treat, try a Liège waffle. This style, also puffed up with yeast, is thicker and doughier than its Brussels brethren, and contains imported Belgian pearl sugar that caramelizes on the waffle iron to form a crispy exterior that contrasts with the soft interior, much like a sunbathing marshmallow Peep. These waffles are delicious on their own, or dipped in a rotating menu of sauces such as apple-cinnamon cream cheese, jam, and––of course––Belgian chocolate.
A broad range of Italian and American classics fill out a Teena Mia's menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. Rich cups of Lavazza coffee accompany breakfasts such as stacks of pancakes drizzled with maple syrup and fried-egg sandwiches stacked with bacon, ham, or sausage. Their pizzas carry legions of toppings such as sausage, pineapple, jalapeños, and zucchini on a bed of melted shredded cheese. Customers can build their own pasta dishes by pairing their choice of noodle with rich marinara, alfredo, or vodka sauces or by hiring an architect to draft some blueprints on phyllo dough.
It’s rush hour at Ogilvie Transportation Center, and from the Canal Street entrance, you have a great view of late commuters sprinting to catch their train. For those who have a few minutes to spare, however, the long concourse offers more than a ride out to the suburbs. Explorers who follow the Chicago French Market’s red and blue sign will find the cute French café—Le Cafe du Marche.
Helmed by the owner of the popular restaurant, Bistro Voltaire, Le Cafe du Marche offers decadent French café fare, including housemade quiche, organic soups, and tuna niçoise and duck-confit sandwiches. The menu, which mirrors classic dishes from the cafés of France, is no doubt more casual than its parent restaurant. However, the attention to detail remains unchanged between the two establishments—chefs manually torch the sugar atop each housemade crème brûlée.
At each of Buffalo Wild Wings’ 825 locations, big-screen televisions blast sports games above tables loaded with sauce-slathered wings and apps. Dressed in a choice of signature sauces and dry seasonings such as teriyaki or mango habanero, the wings complement a selection of frothy beers and Coca-Cola soft drinks. Flatbreads sprinkled with toppings such as artichoke hearts and parmesan cheese crisp in an oven, and handheld options include burgers, wraps, and sandwiches. For mealtime entertainment, Buzztime game boxes challenge diners to answer trivia questions, such as which U.S. Congressional races are traditionally decided by chili cook-off.
“Japonais is a culinary experience that blends immense enjoyment with sturdy savoir faire,” declared former Chicago Sun-Times food critic Pat Bruno, writing of the sleek Asian eatery near the edge of the Chicago River. While one coexecutive chef, Jun Ichikawa, lends his expertise to the sushi side of the restaurant’s menu, the other, Gene Kato, designs its selection of hot plates. Together, they churn out traditional and modern dishes—such as the house-specialty Kobe prime rib and Le Quack Japonais, a house-smoked duck slathered in hoisin sauce and mango chutney—whose appeal led Condé Nast to name their establishment one of the top 66 restaurants in the world. Ingredients from both surf and turf star at the sushi bar, which serves options such as spicy king-crab nigiri and a Crazy Veggie roll that insists on wearing its lab coat and goggles at all times. As selections emerge from the kitchen, says Bruno, “the presentations … are elegant … the shapes and swoops of the plates are a feast for the eyes.” The two dining rooms at Japonais meld industrial Japanese design with a touch of European richness. Squares of gold velvet frame an oversize mirror that hangs over the Red Room, the restaurant’s more formal dining space. Across the hall, the Green Room’s slate-and-brick fireplace and whimsical tree centerpieces that occasionally don sweatpants add to its more relaxed atmosphere. Wavy ceiling panels and Lucite chandeliers accentuate the high ceilings that unite the two spaces, hanging over a staircase that leads downstairs to the riverwalk café. There, sheer drapery panels frame views of the Chicago River for those seated on pillow-laden couches and chairs. As they lounge, guests can sip specialty cocktails or enlist the top-shelf liquors to help them win gargling contests against the river.
Every day at more than 770 locations, Jamba Juice proves that good nutrition can be both convenient and delicious. Since the beginning, the company has based its philosophy on choosing whole fruits and all-natural ingredients over artificial flavorings and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial trans fats, and it makes additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
Although Jamba Juice is serious about using wholesome ingredients, the company is a little more playful when it comes to the palate. Whole fruits and veggies can be blended into an extensive menu of great-tasting smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. But Jamba Juice?s commitment to keeping healthy eating simple informs its solid-food options, too. Customers can kick-start their morning with a steaming bowl of slow-cooked, steel-cut oatmeal, or stay energized throughout the day with six varieties of Energy Bowls: nutrient-rich blends of whole fruit, Greek yogurt or soymilk, and an assortment of dry toppings and fresh fruits.
In addition to nourishing and energizing the human body, Jamba Juice fights childhood obesity by sponsoring Team Up for a Healthy America. The initiative encourages fans to join the Team Up community of celebrities, athletes and other leaders committed to getting kids active?which they can do by visiting the main Jamba Juice website.