Mario Dovalina and Edwin Ptak established the original Pepe?s Mexican Restaurant in 1967 in order to satisfy diners craving authentic Mexican dishes. With more than 40 locations in the Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana and traditional eats that are sold across the United States and even in Mexico, Pepe's appeases a wide variety of noshers with its hearty options. Appetizers such as chips and fresh guacamole made daily or chili con queso ready bellies for veggie burritos bursting with seasonal vegetables. Flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports games or ballerina wrestling matches dot the spacious walls at the casual Homer Glenn eatery, keeping diners in their seats long after their shrimp, pork, or vegetable fajitas are finished.
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).
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.
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.
Rosati?s Pizza's history dates back to the early 1900s, when a recent Italian immigrant named Ferdinand Rosati moved from New York to Chicago with the dream of opening a restaurant. His first attempt was modest?with Ferdinand simultaneously fulfilling the duties of chef, server, dishwasher, and host?but quickly gained popularity for its crispy-thin-crust pizzas, originally served as complimentary appetizers. Encouraged by the public's response to the pies, Ferdinand and his son, Sam, decided to focus their efforts on opening a true pizzeria.
Today, at Rosati's Pizza locations across the country, plumes of heat swirl above piping-hot pies concocted from handmade sauce and dough. A smattering of toppings cling to five crust options?crispy thin, double dough, Chicago-style, pan, and superstuffed?as well as hide from their hungry predators inside hand-rolled calzones. Homemade lasagna and fettuccine alfredo battle for the top pasta spot, and fried chicken, baby back ribs, and fried-shrimp dinners work together to distract diners from hard-to-resist buffalo wings.