Bella Bacinos owner Linda Bacin hasn't just been a culinary force locally?she's served on the Taste of Chicago committee?but also nationally, as she's been a National Restaurant Association board member for decades and made television appearances with Oprah Winfrey, Rachael Ray, and Guy Fieri. Perhaps not surprisingly, one of her most lasting impressions has been creating the first-ever "heart healthy" pizza to be featured in the Chicago Heart Association's Eat Well Guide.
These pizzas, deep-dish or thin-crust creations topped with anything from broccoli to italian sausage and peppers, can be enjoyed at Bella Bacinos. Like the other dishes on the menu, they're made from ingredients that are organic and free of trans fats and preservatives whenever possible. Though known for its pizza, Bella Bacinos also serves breakfast, including three-egg omelets and french toast, as well as classic Italian entrees such as shrimp linguini and veal saltimbocca.
Family owned for over 35 years! The tradition began when Angelo opened the doors in 1976, his sons Larry & Peter took over a few years later. From there they have expanded to 9 family owned locations and 9 franchises. All of the franchise owners continue the tradition of family owned and operated restaurants.
FliP crêpes got its start on the Chicago Farmers Markets circuit in 2003, slinging its warm and sweet or savory treats to steadily growing flocks of customers. Eventually, the company outgrew its humble beginnings and expanded to a location inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center, where customers stop in for the crowd-pleasing crepes alongside a burgeoning roster of sandwiches and paninis. Four distinct menus address any and all cravings the day might present, including selections that tackle breakfast munchies with eggs and bacon, a passion for the savory with toasted options, salad cravings with fresh and crisp selections, and sweet teeth with desserts chock-full of Nutella, strawberries, and dulce de leche. The tender crepes will only wrap their eggy arms around healthy, high-quality ingredients, so the chefs avoid high-fructose corn syrup and other undesirable foodstuffs.
Chef John des Rosiers wants visitors to his restaurant-shop Wisma—which means home in Indonesian—to enjoy eating meals in their own homes as much as they do in a restaurant. Using organic and sustainable ingredients, many sourced from local producers such as Q7 Ranch and Anson Mills, he and his staff assemble and cook each dish before sealing it in a recyclable container for customers. They draw inspiration from the culinary styles of Europe, Asia, and the Americas, and craft every dish from scratch. On a normal day in their kitchen, the chefs may top handmade pizzas with housemade sausage and pesto, cook vegetarian incan quinoa and madras curry, and sear beef barbacoa for fajitas.
Desserts at Wisma are also a focal point, not an afterthought. Tres leches and double-chocolate cakes cleanse the palate after main dishes, as do six sorbet and ice-cream flavors such as lemon-basil sorbet and mint-strawberry ice cream. The staff also stocks small-batch wines and seasonally changing craft beers by the bottle, which customers can taste before they take home to plant and grow more bottles of wine or beer. Though many see it only briefly, the shop is filled with eclectic decor such as exposed brick offset by a yellow bike hung on one wall, cow-print and plaid chairs, and floral lampshades.
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.
Rittergut Wine Bar Restaurant & Social Club crafts the perfect wine, seafood, and steak experience, with seating that overlooks the Chicago River. Wine by the glass and bottle from the vineyards of Spain, Austria, France, and Italy complements charcuterie and imported cheese plates stocked with wild boar salami or herb-laden garrotxa goat cheese, much like the contents of an enophile's personal bomb shelter. The tasting bar and private wine rooms set the stage for uninterrupted swilling, while dining rooms bathed in amber light host feasts of lamb burgers seasoned with Moroccan spices. Arched ceilings draw the eye downward to exposed brick walls and hardwood floors indoors, and a riverside patio with dark wicker booths and wooden tables perch patrons over ebbing crests and bottled messages that implore you to try the salmon.