Mike O'Donnell's Irish Pub ushers patrons from a broad stretch of Franklin Avenue into a bar from which all pretense has been stripped away in favor of a cozy vibe conducive to unwinding. Even the ceiling tiles broadcast the pub's ties to the community in the form of quaint, business-card-style ads for local businesses. In the game room, friendly competitors hone their skills at the dartboard and draw cues for dibs on the pool table between bites of Irish-inspired appetizers and burgers hot from the grill. Meanwhile, barkeeps refill glasses and chat with regulars as flat-screen TVs keep crowds updated on sports action and the latest commands from Big Brother.
Every morning, the dough masters at Aracely's Bakery rise before dawn to craft house-made cupcakes, pastries, and sandwiches to bejewel their display cases. Confectionary artists transform dreams into fondant-covered reality by crafting custom cakes for birthdays, baby showers, and Eat a Portrait of Your Boss day. Meanwhile, traditional Mexican recipes lend sweetness to cakes and spice to 11 kinds of sandwiches, whose ingredients include avocado, chihuahua cheese, and secret sauce, and pack flavor into handheld meals.
When Fox News set out to discover who was serving the best pizza in Chicago, they put together a team of three pizza experts––a world pizza eating finalist, a think-tank chef for Fruschetta pizza corporation, and a college student––to slice through the competition. The results? The trio awarded Grand Stand Pizza the winner with a score of 4.5 out of 5, beating out Chi-Town standard Nancy's Pizza. The secret might lie in the crust. Said one tester, "you could have put anything on top of that dough and it would have tasted good." Chefs roll that crust out to make thin, pan, double-crust, and stuffed pizzas then pile on classic toppings such as pepperoni, black olives, and hot giardiniera or premium toppings such as Italian beef or gold bullion. The choices don't end there, though. Along with pizza, the restaurant also serves up hearty helpings of pasta, homemade meatball sandwiches, and Italian desserts such as cannoli, tiramisu, and homemade Italian ice.
For nearly a decade, the Pecoraro family has worked to keep the plates of Franklin Park citizens full. At Gianni's Ristorante & Pizzeria, their chefs prepare rustic Italian dishes from fresh ingredients, such as farfalle tossed with spring vegetables and linguine topped with shrimp or clams. They also prepare veal and chicken parmigiana style, Pompeii style with eggplant, and piccata style with lemon-wine sauce, and they whip up seafood entrees such as shrimp in a brandy-cream sauce and grilled swordfish. The oven gently toasts an array of thin-crust, stuffed-crust, and thick pan pizzas to shades of golden brown unattainable with most tanning beds.
Customers enjoy VB to Go’s classic Italian-American entrées in the comfort of their own domiciles, nestled next to sides of salad, steak fries, and bread that come standard. The giambotta is a mélange of sausage, black olives, and an Italian grandmother's garden's worth of veggies bathing in a light tomato sauce ($11.95), and battered slices of eggplant parmigian arrive draped in mozzarella ($10.50). Sixteen-inch specialty pizzas house hearty portions of toppings, with Windy City classics such as italian beef, giardiniera, and mirrored shavings of the Bean ($17.75). Pasta dishes swathe savory aliments such as the ricotta and spinach that meld inside stuffed shells ($9.25) or the shrimp and spicy tomato sauce that accent the capricciosa ($12.95).