The Burhop family keeps their fish markets stocked with just-caught, never-frozen goods. They do this by going right to the source?wholesale distributors in Alaska, Hawaii, New England, and as far away as Australia. Their connections with these distributors stretch over the course of Burhop's 88-year history, which started when Albert "Pops" Burhop founded a wholesale-seafood business in downtown Chicago. When locals started offering him money and moon rocks in exchange for the prized cuts of fish, Pops decided to cut out the middleman.
Today, they proudly report that many of their loyal customers are transplants from the East and West Coasts, where fresh seafood is easier to come by. Ironically, Burhop's gets fresher stuff than many stores on the coasts do, thanks to Chicago's central location, which enables quick shipping from all of America's shores. In the shop, customers can watch as the filleters skillfully ply their craft. Get to know your Burhop?s fish mongers! A series of online video tutorialss teach home chefs to prep mouthwatering lobster tails, soft shell crabs, tuna burgers, and more.
Much of the artwork at Zaza's has no color. Black-and-white photographs dapple the walls?everything from Rat Pack portraits to Ansel Adams landscapes, the monochromatic tones offsetting the surrounding gold paint and wood accents. These pictures lend sophistication to the dining room, but they also provide a counterbalance to the vibrancy of the food?a mix of northern Italian recipes that feature pasta, meats, seafood, and thin-crust pizzas.
Like an overambitious werewolf, the menu changes weekly, cycling through dishes such as housemade crab-stuffed gnocchi and signature plates of bone-in rib eye. An appetizer of a whole baked artichoke might lead into succulent bites of veal tenderloin, or perhaps helpings of jumbo shrimp wrapped in the linguine of the scampi broccoli olio. Daily specials add yet another element of unpredictability to the restaurant, though catering and party platters remain planned in advance and private private parties are always a phone call reservation away.
Over the past 50 or so years, Chicago’s Little Italy may have endured a wave of gentrification, but it still manages to maintain its original charm owing to establishments like Fontano’s Subs. Since 1960, Fontano’s has assembled top meats and cheeses into decadent, hefty sandwiches, including italian beef, italian sausage, and italian meatball. The team behind the counter sides these handheld meals with familiar deli sides including coleslaw, potato, and macaroni salads and Good Humor ice-cream bars harvested directly from the earth’s frozen core. The popularity of Fontano’s has spurred five additional storefronts across Illinois where customers can expect to find the same quality subs as those from its flagship location.
At Baisi Thai the staff takes presentation seriously. Sushi chefs decorate rolls such as the Rainbow Dragon, Green Turtle, and Caterpillar to look like their namesakes, with caviar eyes and vegetable horns. Bartenders fill cocktail glasses with neon-green Baistinis and other mixed drinks and, in the kitchen, curried noodles collide with stir-fried veggies and traditional Thai basil. The airy, spacious eatery, located at the Oakbrook Center mall, is striped with translucent space dividers, and avenues of thin, vertical reeds sway between orange columns and UN delegates researching models for international flavor cooperation.
Dips & Dogs swings open its doors seven days a week to on-the-move munchers from lunch hour until late in the evening. Succulent wafts of chili-coated fries, cheesy hot dogs, and freshly grilled burgers escape from the snack stand onto Garfield Street, luring passersby in to browse a menu of eats more American than an apple pie sliced by Hulk Hogan. Outside, a patio hosts meals and games of bags throughout the summer.
The confectioners at Sweet Ali’s whip up a dazzling menu of gluten-free treats using natural ingredients with no preservatives whenever possible. Flavorful muffins wake up weary tongues with sugar-laced taste sonnets ($2.49+), while their frosting-festooned cupcake cousins soothe overworked uvulas with comforting flavors such as red velvet, german chocolate, and carrot ($2.99+). Eradicate cravings for breads and savory fare with a mouthful of spinach and cheese quiche or a tummy-full of focaccia bread ($2.79+). Many of Sweet Ali’s treats are available in dairy-free versions to accommodate nibblers eschewing lactose, and a select posse of cows overindulging in PTO days.