There were some things Gus left intact when he took the helm as owner of Wiener and Still Champion in 2005. He kept the name—voted into existence in 1982 by area grade-school children—and he has refused to change the standards for the all-beef hot dogs and fresh ground burgers that the establishment has been serving for more than 30 years.
Despite his dedication to preserving the past, Gus has integrated his own creative culinary vision into the menu. The additions separates this hot dog stand from most others of its ilk, as echoed by the Chicago Reader, who said, “In a city blessed with so many Vienna Beef hot dog stands, Wiener and Still Champion stands out.” Take, for instance, the dipping dogs—all-beef hot dogs hand-dipped in a freshly-made cornmeal batter, or the country fried bacon, a golden brown take on the beloved meaty strips with a crispiness perfectly tempered by an Argentine garlic and herb sauce. Deep-fried pickle chips, a vegetarian falafel burger, and double-fried French fries are more examples of the spin Gus has put on traditional hot dog stand fare.
Whether sharing grilled mussels from a sizzling iron skillet or perusing a long list of Spanish wines in a cozy booth, it's no wonder couples love retreating to the warm ambience of Tapas Barcelona. The restaurant is so known for its romantic vibe that it was even featured as one of the city's Best Date Night Spots on WGN's Chicago's Best.
In the episode, guests raved about the bacon-wrapped dates, just one of the favorites on the impressively large menu of small plates. The extensive selection is hardly surprising considering Tapas Barcelona has been open for nearly 20 years, plenty of time to perfect dishes like Catalan-style patatas bravas or chorizo-filled paella valenciana. The sauces, too, are carefully crafted by chefs, from the roasted-pepper marmalade that sweetens the chicken-liver mousse, to the saffron sauce that colors the grilled sea scallops and aspiring artists' napkin paintings.
Before customers even stroll through the front door, Sakris Cafe promises something big: the world’s best omelet. The claim is written in bold letters across the front sign of the beloved Evanston breakfast and lunch joint. But the eatery’s line cooks are always eager to take on the daunting task, having turned out omelets, such as The Disaster Special—homemade ground beef, Armenian sausage, cheese, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms—since 1965. Their sandwiches perhaps deserve a place on the front sign as well, thanks to unique creations such as the chorizo- and cheese-packed Loretta. Other than the hearty breakfast and lunch menu, Sakris is also known around town for its speed and prices; “190 North” highlighted the restaurant in 2010, praising the chefs’ ability to “whip up a meal in just under a few minutes [for] eight bucks.”
For Jerry Starkman, the last 45 years of history have been written in bright yellow. The restaurateur and hotdog lover opened up Mustard's Last Stand in 1969, and you'll still find him there today?along with his sons and several long-time employees who still squeeze mustard onto Vienna Beef dogs.
The secret to the stand's enduring success? That's hard to say. The hot dogs certainly account for a lot of it, as do the toppings: mustard (of course), relish, chili, and more. Alongside the signature item, the line cooks sling burgers, chicken sandwiches, and sides from fries to corn tamales. There's just one last thing a diner needs before heading out: an ice cream cone piled high with more than a dozen flavor possibilities. Or maybe a few extra hot dogs for that long skip through the forest home.
Warm yellow walls and tiles decorated with colorful figures aren't the only festive elements you'll encounter at Addis Adeba: the restaurant is also filled with the spice-laden aromas of traditional Ethiopian cuisine. Platters and hand-woven baskets known as mesobs are filled with all of the components needed for a communal meal?except for the silverware and the place cards, that is. Diners scoop up each bite in the traditional Ethopian fashion, with pieces of spongy injera bread. If they wish, they're also encouraged to feed one another in a traditional gesture of compassion and affection. Whichever way they choose to eat, chefs bombard their senses with vegetarian and meat-based dishes?from tekil gomen, a combination of cabbage and carrots, to doro wat, morsels of chicken dressed in red-pepper sauce.
Rose’s Wheat-Free Bakery & Cafe was founded on the principle that dietary restrictions shouldn’t get in the way of enjoying the finer things in life—namely cakes, cookies, sandwiches, and pizza. Every pastry and lunch item on the café’s menu is completely gluten-free, and the bakers also go out of the way to use organic butter, eggs, and tapioca flour when crafting their recipes.
Wheat allergies don’t take time off, and neither does Rose’s. The café and bakery is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Even if you can’t make it up to the small Evanston bakery, there’s a good chance you’ll find some of their goodies elsewhere. They’re carried in many restaurants and gourmet food stores in the Chicago area, including Whole Foods and Café Ba-ba-Reeba.