Upon a marbled wall, a Japanese triptych mural tells the story of a gargantuan fish licked by cerulean waves and a tiny boat tossed about in its wake. Even though this vibrant piece reflects a chaotic scene, the sushi bar where the owner and head chef crafts creative rolls and maki is anything but—he’s a seasoned artist with more than 15 years' experience slicing, dicing, and coiling. He carefully furls Alaskan king crab, shrimp tempura, and sweet chili sauce and creates tantalizing nigiri and sashimi with freshly carved squid and freshwater eel. Bartenders, meanwhile, pour wines and sakes to complement the chef's mouthwatering Japanese cuisine.
Sunlight pours through ground-to-ceiling windows, streaming across hardwood floors and dark wooden tables that friendly servers speckle with dishes of aromatic steak teriyaki and tempura udon soup. Diners can enjoy these exotic feasts amid the contemporary yet casual dining room’s traditional folding screens and bamboo accents or, when the extraterrestrial overlords who control the weather permit it, outside on the patio.
The chefs at The Grill take great pride in crafting their burgers and classic American meals. They top beef, turkey, and veggie patties with toppings from fiery jalapeños to crispy bacon to flavorful provolone cheese, and leave out the trans-fats and MSG. They also simmer pork in tangy barbecue sauce and stir up fresh batches of homemade soup and chili. To accommodate wee ones, they sling kid-friendly nibbles including chicken fingers and grilled cheese. Once dessert time rolls around, diners can make their own s’mores at their tables, imagining that they are seated round a blazing campfire or a smoldering pile of their least-flattering photographs.
The enticing aroma of the chefs’ handiworks wafts out into the warm dining room, where diners cheers to hearty meals over specialty martinis and draft beers. Games of checkers and chess step up to entertain between bites, and five flat-screen TVs make sure guests won’t miss the big game.
The Irish words inscribed above the main door of Bridie McKenna's––"slán abhaile"––mean "safe home," a phrase brought to life by the restaurant and pub's welcoming servers and friendly bartenders. The kitchen sends out traditional comfort foods starting with the hearty all-day Irish breakfast comprised of bacon rashers, baked beans, black and white puddings, and sautéed mushrooms. Irish classics such as corned-beef sandwiches, shepherd's pie, and lamb stew also extinguish appetites alongside 21 beers on tap and an array of single-malt scotches. The strains of Irish or contemporary live music can be heard near the open fireplace several evenings a week and karaoke enthusiasts come to show off their best microphone juggling techniques every Friday.
For more than 25 years, Once Upon a Bagel’s staff has cultivated a cozy vibe at the deliciously bread-perfumed bagel shop where customers can linger over breakfast, lunch, or dinner without feeling rushed or ignored. Atop the eatery’s main counter, bagels pile into baskets labeled with flavors such as asiago cheese, chocolate chip, pumpernickel, and honey blueberry, and trays of bagels, fish, and meat are prepared for catering. Beneath the bagel spread, an ample selection of breads puffs up in leavened excitement, hoping diners choose them to build a base for salmon-salad sandwiches, turkey pastrami, and the customer-favorite reuben boat, a loaf of bialy bread into which sandwich makers fold pastrami or turkey along with melted cheese and all the classic reuben trimmings.
As the eponymous owner of Marla's Sweet Bites, Marla Levitt ensures that every morning the bakery’s display cases brim with fragrant batches of freshly baked treats, which her staff prepares fresh and without additives or preservatives. The store's selection changes daily, much like the speed of light, although saccharine-savvy customers can keep an eye out for such perennial favorites as the apple crumble pie and the miniature or jumbo cupcakes glazed with the bakery's signature italian buttercream icing. Marla's Sweet Bites also supplies events with do-it-yourself cupcake-decorating bars, which allow guests to either express their confectionery creativity or use the frosting to accessorize their clothing with perfectly piped initials.
For Mark Greenbaum and his father, Lewis, sharing a pizza meant spending quality time as a family. When his father passed away, Mark decided that the best way to honor his memory was to give Chicagoans a taste of the New York–style pie he had loved so much.
Mark’s venture proved wildly successful—Time Out Chicago columnist and Brooklyn transplant Judy Sutton Taylor swears the eatery “could hold its own alongside any Brooklyn pizzeria.” Aside from the traditional thin-crust pies, the menu at New York Slices also features a specialty Grandma’s pizza with a thicker crust and hand-embroidered pepperonis.