With live jazz music, USDA Prime steaks aged at least 21 days, and the freshest of seafood, Pete Miller's Seafood & Prime Steak is a living tribute to the colorful life of Harold “Pete” Miller. Miller grew up an avid hunter, studied History in college, and earned a Purple Heart as a marine in WWII. He even spent time slinging hats, before eventually settling on becoming a music salesman—a profession that would ignite his love of jazz and lead him to the rhythm-rich city of Chicago. Once settled, he discovered the Davis Street Fishmarket in Evanston where he became a regular, albeit outspoken, patron. He incessantly offered recommendations and recipe suggestions, eventually inciting the chef to hand him an apron and shout, “Do it yourself if you think you know so much!” Miller accepted the challenge and kicked off his culinary career with his usual flair and spontaneity.
Today, the pair of restaurants proudly carrying his name keep his legacy alive, hosting live jazz almost every night of the week, just like he would have wanted. In addition to the regular dinner menu, which features the likes of whole steamed lobsters and bone-in fillets, there’s also a bar menu that boasts more casual eats, such as burgers and sandwiches dressed in khaki slacks. The Wheeling location’s 250-seat patio features a granite bar with room for 50 people, as well as three huge fireplaces.
Since 1993, Casteel Coffee’s baristas have caffeinated locals with steaming cups of artisanal roasted beans. The shop’s staffers follow in the footsteps of roast master Lee Casteel, who set the café’s course by roasting beans in small batches to ensure high quality. A new generation of roasters sources arabica coffees from around the world, procuring fair-trade varieties and naturally processed decaf beans whenever possible. To fulfill their motto, “fresh from our roaster to your cup,” coffeemakers pour drip coffees or press potent espresso shots from freshly ground beans.
Herbal, scented, and green and black teas also flow from the metaphorical tap, and the shop even purveys the occasional piece of high-tech brewing equipment, such as an electric coffee grinder or a mug that has WiFi. The success of the café’s knowledgeable staff and liquid pick-me-ups fueled the company’s expansion from a single café in Evanston to a second location in Chicago’s Loop. Casteel Coffee animates a dedication to its community by not supplanting the water in local fire hydrants with coffee and by supporting nonprofit organizations, such as the Chicago Children’s Museum.
The chefs at Jilly’s Cafe meld French and American cooking traditions to create a menu of elegant fusion fare peppered with culinary surprises from around the world. A large specials menu rotates its options frequently, treating diners to plates piled with nourishment that might include duck, rack of lamb, and fresh seafood, and every Sunday, a selection of breakfast items scramble for the right to occupy the brunch menu. To celebrate specific holidays, Jilly's rolls out set menus designed with a theme in mind—guests can ensure a romantic night out by reserving a table on Valentine’s Day or visit on Easter to honor America's mascot, the Easter egg. The eatery’s long-winded wine list allows aficionados to sample new varietals while giving grapes a chance to see what their old friends are up to.
If you’re in the mood for a quiet brunch, don’t come here. Since 1965, the crowds have piled into this diner, where the kitchen bustles with cooks who can prepare sandwiches in less than three minutes. The most popular item is the Loretta sandwich—grilled bacon, onions, and peppers encased in fresh french bread—which pairs well with cheesy hash browns.
Sandwiched between the Indian mainland and Tibet lies Nepal, and the chefs of Mount Everest Restaurant specialize in this nation's culinary heritage, a mash-up of Indian and Nepali cuisine. Traditional tandoori and masala dishes collide with Nepali food such as chicken momo, spiced minced meat steamed within a thin wheat-bread shell.
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.