Ranked as some of the Best Barbecue in Chicago by CBS News, Honky Tonk Barbecue is the brainchild of pit-master, chef, and owner Willie Wagner. Within the Pilsen space, Wagner rubs and smokes his famous pulled pork for 17 hours, using the same recipe and technique that won him third place at the world Championship Barbecue Cooking contest in 2008. Barbecue-loving Midwestern crowds—and celebrity chef Guy Fieri—flock to Honky Tonk for not just the pulled pork, but also to sample bacon candy, beef brisket sandwiches, and bold slabs of dry-rub St. Louis ribs.
In the midst of wedding-day chaos or birthday-bash excitement, City2City Productions’ photographers and videographers capture memories that might otherwise be missed. Its DJs even spin the soundtrack for special occasions. They also commemorate entire seasons in life through family portraits, engagement photos, and senior-year photo shoots with friends.
Professional photographer LaDonna Raeh Robinson aims her camera at anything that can attractively flatten into a photo—and has done so since she was 8 years old. After a diversion led Robinson into the field of computer science, she rediscovered her natural talent for capturing unique and memorable images by taking photos for her company, which snowballed into bigger projects and eventually her own business. Today Robinson poses her subjects in the studio for professional portraits, wedding photos, or kids' shoots.
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.
The confectioners at Ace Bakery ornament lavish cakes with custom designs and bake fresh pastries on-site daily. With a host of cake flavors and two dozen cake fillings, including fruits, creams, and chocolates, bakers design individually tailored cakes for weddings, birthdays, and themed garage sales. In addition to their signature confections, the staff bakes cupcakes, muffins, and cheesecakes to quell cravings for saccharine treats.
Chicago Indoor Sports' full-size field has enough turf to make a cow's spots turn green with envy. But that same animal would be disappointed if it took a bite. The surface is actually a carefully designed, imitation grass made of millions of tiny rubber pallets and a crushed stone base, which helps absorb shock. That last feature is key, since the indoor play area supports crowds of running athletes during competitive or casual games of soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and ultimate frisbee. The field is also home its own youth and adult soccer leagues, such as Liga Latino Americana.
Throughout many of their services, Chicago Indoor Sports places special emphasis on children. During their SoccerTots and SoccerTouch programs, instructors use soccer as a way to build motor skills and encourage mental development. Meanwhile, an arcade and three giant inflatables give kids a break from sports.