The cooks at Hong Kong Express prepare mongolian beef, egg foo young and other classic Chinese dishes for dine-in customers, take-out orders, and catered party trays. Their menu also features a section of classic sushi rolls fashioned from rice, crab meat, shrimp, and creamy avocado. Fresh fruit smoothies wash it all down.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
A top-5 rating from TripAdvisor.com doesn't happen overnight. Just ask Dave Samber, whose Polo Caf? and Catering Bridgeport U.S.A., a mile west of U.S. Cellular Field, currently ranks among Chicago's most popular restaurants. Since opening in 1990, the restaurant has earned a reputation as an adventurous spot where guests can feast on lamb chops and sandwiches served on warm French baguettes. On weekends, the restaurant also opens its doors early for two signature brunches: Saturday's Bloody Mary Brunch pairs horseradish-dosed bloodies with tasty takes on classics like Polo Caf? favorite Eggs Benedicto XVI and french toast, while Sunday's Gospel Brunch treats diners to a soulful serenade from singers backed by a live organ.
Samber and his dedicated staff share their delicious food served with Chicago hospitality amid the green and white diner's tin ceiling, tufted booths, polo-green tablecloths. The vintage glamour is only interrupted by framed accolades and a colorful 12-foot chalkboard created in 1986 to welcome guests to the historic Bridgeport neighborhood, home to five of Chicago's mayors. The adjacent Old Eagle Room, a repurposed theater built in 1914, accommodates up to 100 banqueters on its main and mezzanine levels. These guests enjoy entertainment from a Rodgers 360 theater organ or a 20-channel audio system after storing cars in free lighted parking lots.
There are no cakes, croissants, or cookies to be found at Bruno's Bakery––just shelves of bread and rolls that have attracted a loyal following. Neon lettering in the window advertises rye, but they're also known for their hunza, a hearty hearth-baked variety that earned this shop a place on Chicago Magazine's Guide to Bridgeport.
A graduate of Chicago State University, chef John Meyer opened the first BJ’s Market & Bakery in 1997, and used his son and daughter—Brandon John and Brianna Juanita—as the inspiration behind the restaurant’s name. Those familial influences are reflected on the BJ’s menu, too, which features a hearty selection of comfort dishes that John describes as a mixture of “soul food, Cajun food, and Southern food.” A winner in all three categories, the mustard-fried catfish rules as the restaurant’s signature dish, and as the designated speaker at its press conferences. Meanwhile, other specialty items such as rotisserie smoked chicken, smothered pork chops, sweet potato soufflé, and peach cobbler fill in the rest of a lunch and dinner menu that has earned extensive praise from the media, including Time Out Chicago, which noted, "while the food takes only minutes to arrive at your table, it tastes as if it were slowly, carefully cooked with love over a home stove."
Since opening in 1984, Buffalo Wings and Rings' hot wings have delighted diners in the form of meaty traditional wings, boneless hand-breaded wings, or lengthened tenders. Wings in 10 different flavors and six levels of heat populate the menu alongside burgers, desserts, and salads.