A family-owned-and-operated establishment, the idea for Jenny's Steak House sprouted more than 60 years ago in a small pub on Chicago's South Side. These days, chefs still whip up menu items that the family concocted all those years ago, such as potato pancakes, braised lamb shanks, and oxtail soup. The culinary maestros at Jenny's Steak House also grill hand-cut steaks smeared with a special seasoning blend, pair wraps and sandwiches with homemade Idaho potato chips, and blacken, broil, or fry fresh seafood. Meanwhile, the pizza kitchen dispenses pies until 1 a.m., at which time all the uncooked dough and pepperoni turn into a magical pizza carriage. The lounge accommodates guests even later as they relax with martinis, local brews, or wine while enjoying evening entertainment such as live music and karaoke.
Choo Choo's train-themed eatery revs diners' digestive engines with a medley of wraps and sandwiches, as well as a miniature locomotive that gallivants through the family-friendly dining room. The dynamic servers, clad in engineer attire, deliver hearty menu items, such as the bacon-and-cheese char-burger ($8.49) and the tortilla-swaddled chicken-and-bacon wrap ($8.49). The Conductor's special bookends charbroiled chicken, marinara, and parmesan between a gourmet bun, and the Penn Central sandwich trots down the track, tempting tongues with rib-eye steak, mozzarella, grilled onions, and peppers embraced by french bread ($7.99). Watch kids marvel as a model train delivers food at the counter or chugs through a miniature city populated by tiny commuters and average-size thimbles.
Chef Dan McGee has worked in Paris, Switzerland, and Peru as well as spending time in the states at restaurants such as Charlie Trotters. Using fresh ingredients to create the dishes that grace the seasonal menu, Chef McGee whips up tongue-tapping appetizers such as duck confit ravioli with sautéed spinach and balsamic apples ($9) and a goat cheese gratin with ratatouille and a garlic crostini ($8). An asparagus soup with oregano and feta cheese is gracefully poured tableside, and can then be smoothly poured into your mouth tureen ($7). Entrees include the grilled fillet of beef, which nestle next to potato truffle risotto and asparagus ($29), while the crab and horseradish crusted tilapia swims alongside jasmine rice and champagne sauce ($19). Staple yourself down to a seat at the bar and peep through the kitchen window to watch chefs summon ingredients by waving their spatula wands, or order a libation from the full bar, which features specialty martinis and more than 50 wines, as well as microbrews, domestics, and imports.
Chicago Blu welcomes diners into its family-friendly eatery with live music and hearty bar fare. The menu revs up stomach engines with starters such as spicy southwest rolls stuffed with cheese and chicken and served with tangy ranch or sweet chili sauce ($7). Wrap tonsils around the Southside blu burger—a pretzel bun cradling a half-pound of charbroiled beef topped with bleu cheese and grilled onions ($8.50). Those who put pork on a pedestal can commission a replica of The Thinker made of bacon or can opt for a BBQ rib platter served with coleslaw and fries ($8.50/half rack, $16/whole rack). Entree salads can give grazers their fill of greenery ($9+), and a beer or a glass of wine from the full bar lubes up digestive tracks for the death by brownie dessert ($6).
OMG…It’s Gluten Free fills gluten-averse bellies with a menu of sweet baked goods and savory meals, catering to the allergen-sensitive by ensuring each product is 100% free of gluten and peanut products. Diners share 10-inch pizzas ($9.75), covering doughscapes with toppings such as spinach and sausage ($2 each), and single servings of lasagna ($7.05) expertly mimic the taste and alluring scent of their glutenous cousins. Settle into a seat and peel apart a glaze-drenched cinnamon roll ($2.25), or tote a bouquet of corn dogs ($2.50) to feed friends at baseball games and dole out as weapons in fencing duels. OMG…It’s Gluten Free began when founder Julie Scianna, recently diagnosed with celiac disease, embarked on a quest to replace her dietary staples with gluten-free analogues, expanding her venture into the bakery and café as well as numerous grocery stores.