In spite of its twelve Chicagoland area locations, Bar Louie doesn't feel like a chain. Each one nestles quite nicely into its neighborhood. In fact the usuals who frequent each individual Bar Louie have been known to engage in street fights to claim their Bar Louie's supremacy. Currently, the Bolingbrook Louie gang is the Alpha Bar Louie, but the cunning Hyde Park Bar Louie gang is planning a surprise attack by stealing all of Bolingbrook Bar Louie's Sweet & Spicy Tempura Shrimp.
House-made cuisine isn't supposed to be flashy, and Mario's Mondo Cafe doesn't try to impress diners with anything beyond an unwavering dedication to Old World flavors. Inspired by generations of family recipes, Chef Mario cobbles together a menu of familiar Italian staples while incorporating local and sustainably sourced ingredients whenever possible. The Chicago Tribune praised the restaurant for its commitments to tradition and unpretentious comfort food, calling the eatery, "a casual, hidden treasure."
Even the decor aims to create a cozy ambiance. Butcher paper covers the tabletops and a single shelf lines the pale orange walls, displaying a variety of homestyle mementos, such as framed pictures and bronzed kickball trophies.
Since 1968, running D'Agostinos has been a family affair, like eating Thanksgiving dinner, or getting mad about Scrabble. First opened by Joe and Jan D'Agostino, the Wrigleyville corner pizzeria has grown to include three additional locations across Chicago, each of which is run by a member of the D'Agostino clan. Metromix sums up the appeal, comparing the restaurant to "an intimate Italian spot in a movie" complete with "snuggling couples, heaping servings of homemade pasta, [and] red-checked tablecloths." It’s in this setting that diners dig into specialty thin crust and deep dish pies scattered with fresh mushrooms, giardiniera, meatballs, eight types of cheese, and other toppings.
Pinot's Palette combines wine with art to create an enjoyable night out with friends or a date. The painting sessions encourage adults' inner artists whether they have any painting experience or not, resulting in light-hearted conversation, fun, and good cheer while painting and enjoying wine or beer from the wine bar. Each session's painting of the night may feature anything from landscapes to known classics such as Van Gogh's Starry Night, and each painter tackles the project from their own artistic angle under the guidance of an experienced instructor. At the end of the night, painters can take their painting home.
The staff members at The Rock House wouldn’t lavish their attention on any old beans picked out of a wholesale catalogue—they needed a more personal experience with the coffee-growing industry. To guarantee the wholly non-exploitative origins of each cup of java served at their shop, the coffee brewers partnered with growers in Sri Lanka to develop their very own crops and went the extra mile to ensure quality by roasting all the beans in-house. As the staff brews single cups with an artisanal pour-over method, customers can sift through rock-’n’-roll-inspired merchandise under the light streaming from naked light bulbs, chandeliers, and disco balls.
At a three-times-weekly gathering at A’s Bar, The Chubby Bullfrog combines fine cheeses and smooth sips of five 6-ounce import and craft beers with sausages provided by Perl’s All American Sausage Company and Chicago mainstay G.I. Joe, The Sausage Man, a traveling meat salesman featured on ABC’s 190 North. Sausages' smoky notes commingle with beers' bitter and sharp accents, sending a wave of flavor crashing over sleeping taste buds and destroying their sandcastles. If the Chicago Bears play during Sunday’s class, students receive free food.