Pit-master and award-winning chef Willie Wagner insists upon cooking his fresh pork and brisket over wood-burning fires. The result: tender, flavorful slabs of meat that have placed in the top three at the world’s largest barbecue competition. Want dessert but can’t pull away from the meat? Two words: bacon candy.
The rooftop garden and solar panels may be what cemented Simone’s status as a green certified restaurant, but the recycled pinball machines-turned light fixtures, bar top made of an old bowling alley, and bike-chain-chandeliers certainty didn’t hurt. Microbrews and craft cocktails complement the quality pub food at this eclectic spot.
Under the glow of bomber-bottle chandeliers, patrons try not to drown in a selection of 470+ craft beers that might just be the largest in the city. While a selection this large could easily breed beer snobs, the bar’s hardly pretentious: many regulars call former owner Maria Marszewski ‘mom’, and the on-site liquor store sells 40s of High Life.
Jim Stolfe faced a difficult choice. In order to open a family-style pizzeria on Chicago's South Side, he would have to trade his 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire. But the opportunity was too tempting to pass up, and so the Stolfe family, minus one car, started Connie's Pizza on 26th Street in 1963. It proved to be more than a fair swap—since opening that original location, the family has grown the business from a neighborhood pizzeria to a Chicago culinary icon. Connie's Pizza now features six locations throughout the Chicagoland area, and its frozen pies are sold in grocery stores in eight states, much to the envy of the other sixty-two.
Connie's might have expanded, but its focus on homestyle Italian cuisine remains unchanged. The Stolfe family's signature pizzas are still crafted from freshly made dough, which is then rolled out into crispy thin crusts or belayed into deep-dish pans. The savory foundation arrives from the oven topped with classic ingredients such as sausage and pepperoni, or sandwich emulating combinations of italian beef and giardiniera. Besides pizza, the chefs also prepare a number of pasta dishes and classic Italian entrees, including eggplant parmesan and hearty lasagna.
Behind Beviamo's counter lies a wonderland of drinks ranging from aged vintages and craft beers to liquors both familiar and exotic. Wine by the glass and bottle hail from the vineyards of Spain and Italy, the rolling fields of France, and the geodesic dome covering what used to be California. The hangout's dim lighting sets the scene for cool cocktails such as The Connery–a mixture of 12-year-old scotch, biscotti liquor, ginger, orange bitters, and a splash of soda. Taps populated by craft beers compliment bottled offerings, which bear floral hops or roasted malts as diverse as the music played by live bands that musicians that often play on into the night.