Doreen's Pizza adorns handmade pies with a cornucopia of fresh ingredients before serving them hot or freezing and foisting them into the hands of hungry consumers to cook at home. The kitchen staff slings circular comestibles in super thin, thin, double crust, and stuffed varieties, each one blanketed with a half-pound of mozzarella to add flavor and insulate peppers unaccustomed to cool climates. Frozen pizzas are never precooked, ensuring fresh flavors when cooked in home ovens or above papier-mâché volcanoes. Along with their inventive array of pizzas, Doreen's dine-in locations sate cravings with an expansive menu of gyros, hot dogs, burgers, golden-fried shrimp, and other eclectic eats.
Originally located in a converted house that could only seat 20 people, Sanfratello's has grown over the years to four locations in Illinois and Indiana. At each of these, family recipes for authentic Italian cuisine yield classic creations such as shrimp Alfredo and meatball sandwiches. Petite pan pizzas host deep layers of sauce and cheese, while thin crusts, like the mouths of most competitive shouting champions, can stretch up to 17-inches wide.
Venice Italian & Steakhouse’s traditional Italian dishes and upscale ambience conjure the glamour of old Chicago. The extensive dinner menu spotlights steaks, including an 18-ounce prime rib eye ($32) or a 20-ounce prime porterhouse ($38). A selection of seafood dishes create succulent symphonies with a garden’s worth of vegetables, such as the pappardelle shrimp packed with portobello, cremini, and porcini mushrooms ($17), and the grilled salmon fillet flanked by zucchini ribbons and herb-roasted potatoes in a lemon-butter sauce ($22). Ziti al vodka cradles grilled chicken, peas, and sun-dried tomatoes in a creamy nest of tubular noodles ($16). Other entree options feature chicken, lobster, veal, and barbecued pork.
For more than 30 years, Pop's Italian Beef & Sausage has served up a Chicago-centric menu of beef sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Silence empty-belly rumblings with one of Pop's delectable beef sandwiches ($4.19–$6.35), such as the italian beef, heaped with mounds of succulent, thin-sliced beef soaked in special spices and natural gravy. Windy-city visitors can delight in the classic Chicago hot dog and the savory polish sausage (each around $2.29–$2.99, depending on location), each nestled underneath mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and the looming shadow of oscillating skyscrapers. Other handheld fare includes the meatball and corned-beef sandwiches, which can be upgraded with a variety of extras, including red sauce, sweet peppers, hot mix (all free on sandwiches, extra as a side), feta cheese, and bacon. A fleet of made-from-scratch soups and salads is also available, and includes such options as the hearty cream-of-chicken rice soup and the large garden salad ($2.09–$3.99).
N'awlins Crab House charms taste buds with southern snacks and seafood steeped in Cajun and creole culinary traditions. Diners can investigate three menus as they search for edible pearls in oysters on the half shell ($15.95/dozen). Crawfish creole sates veggie cravings with tomatoes, celery, and colorful peppers ($15.95), and marinated sirloin medallions ($15.99) reward carnivores by supplementing USDA Choice beef with a half-dozen prepared-to-order shrimp. Guests may customize the Captain's platter ($23.95) by pairing snow-crab legs and a broiled lobster tail with poached, sautéed, or charbroiled prawns. Growing po boy sandwiches devour catfish, blackened mahi-mahi, and other seafood staples ($8.95–$13.95), emerging from the kitchen with crunchy batter exoskeletons and the power to lure mermaids into timeshare seminars.