In the kitchens of Blueberry Hill's five suburban outposts, cooks forgo lazy morning lounging to pull together homey assortments of timeless brunch fare. Pancakes infused with fruit or sweets are made from scratch, much like hand-knitted socks or hand-painted report cards. French-toast slices get stuffed with apple and cream cheese, smothered in fruit, or rolled in Cap'n Crunch. Fresh meats and veggies take cover under eggs in savory skillets, and a selection of sandwiches quells cravings in handheld form.
Mullets Sports Bar and Restaurant’s rosy interior brims with a huge range of time-tested pub foods and a full bar, all basking in the glow of 41 flat screen televisions. The menu's bevy of appetizers, each as American as John Wayne hugging apple pie, eases hunger-hammerers into culinary bliss with golden-fried queso cubes ($5.99) and beer battered cheese curds ($6.99). Sink canines into a hamburger Hercules crowned with pepper-jack cheese, jalapeño bacon, fresh lettuce, and tomato ($8.99) and chicken and veggie patties wait in the wings, ready to be tagged into epicurean battle by their beef brothers. Neptunian noshers opt for the surf 'n' turf wrap filled with steak, shrimp, pico de gallo, and provolone ($10.99).
Pelican Harry’s is a greater Chicago meeting point for fans of football, bar food, and the cool drafts that make both jaw-exercising burgers and botched field goals go down significantly easier. Share a 14-inch ($11.50) or 18-inch ($15.50) cheese pizza with friends while you bet pog collections on the games displayed on 15 flat-screen TVs, or politely debate the merits of the city’s new scratch ‘n' sniff parking tickets. Browse the large menu before heading in for burger bliss or pizza deliverance in a friendly, beer-y milieu.
In business for 25 years and renowned for its slow-cooked barbecue ribs, the family-owned Nick's Barbecue maintains a culinary stable of more than 100 equally tempting items on its menu. Fall-off-the-bone barbecue baby back ribs cover fingers in a sweet signature sauce, dinner’s perfect complement to stylish sauce-colored outfits ($10.99). The barbecue pulled pork ($7.59) and half-chicken dinner ($7.45) team up tender white meats with three down-home sides, including mac ‘n’ cheese, potato wedges, barbecue baked beans, or mixed veggies. Two items that are as authentically Chicago as a silver bean riding the L train—the italian beef sandwich ($4.69) and the vienna all-beef hot dog ($2.15)—do their city proud as they tame the windiest of appetites.
When he lived on the South Side of Chicago, James “Jimbo” Mandra had his pick of pizza joints––until tragedy struck. His family relocated to the burbs, suddenly leaving James deprived of the quality thin-crust slices he’d enjoyed all his life. Never one to turn down a challenge, he rolled up his sleeves and began baking his own pies. From that endeavor came a line of pizzas that fit his passionate standards as well as his original creation, the Lemontster: a 19-inch pizza that claims to be the biggest available in Lemont. Today, Jimbo’s cartoon likeness stands as a proud emblem on the tomato-hued walls of his own pizzeria, which recently added a full dining room. Natural light pours through large front windows as thin- and thick-crust pizzas arrive laden with pepperoni, spinach, and spicy hot giardiniera. After finishing off one of Jimbo’s beef pockets, diners may also surprise a date with a Chicago-style hot dog or impress the kitchen staff by getting the pizza oven to play fetch.
For the past 60 years, the finger-lickin’ staff at Hienie’s McCarthy’s has impressed locals with a full menu of fried chicken, homemade soups and chili, and other tasty accoutrements. The eatery's extensive menu boasts chicken dinners big enough for a single person or a handful of hungry giants ($7.25/4-piece meal), as well as fried seafood, including jumbo-shrimp dinners ($11) and calamari ($7.99/lb.). Sink incisors into a deluxe sandwich, such as the tuna melt ($4.50) or the meatball sub ($4.25). A mandarin salad with grilled chicken breast (small $4.25, large $7.25) exercises next to a sluggish bowl of macaroni salad, whose jabbing elbows keep it from moving as a cohesive unit ($3/lb.).