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.
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.”
The aroma of curry mingles with that of traditional Nepali spices inside Mt. Everest Restaurant's dining area, whose walls are shod with oil paintings of scenic mountains brushed by Nepali artists. Inside the kitchen, the head chef prepares Nepali entrees—including khasi ko masu (goat meat cooked on the bone) and aloo tama bodi (a popular dish of russet potatoes, bamboo shoots, and black-eye beans)—alongside Indian favorites such as chicken tikka masala garnished with ginger and cilantro and king-size prawns roasted in a clay oven. Each entree is prepared to order, whether diners prefer mild, spicy, or business-casual seasonings, and served with drinks ranging from imported and domestic beers and wines to mango lassis and Himalayan teas.
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.
Tapas Barcelona promotes communal dining with a large selection of shareable hot and cold tapas, Spanish style sandwiches, paellas, and pizzas. Helpings of marinated olives sautéed with wild mushrooms and Spanish style potatoes rotate around the table with assorted Spanish meats, grilled squid, duck sausage, and grilled lamb chops. Diners may also imbibe a cascade of wine and liquors, including cordials and sherries, and during the warmer months, enjoy meals and games of plate Frisbee on the outdoor patio.
Located in a former fire station, Firehouse Grill lures patrons into plush booths and around wooden tables with the culinary siren song of classic comfort fare. Customer favorites include baby back ribs, served with house-smoked barbecue sauce and a side of coleslaw, and beer-battered fish 'n' chips. A full bar lubricates evenings spent chatting, watching TV, or gazing at fire-station-themed paintings of buildings whose roofs, roofs, roofs are on fire.