For more than 30 years, owner Art Trevino has loaded tables in Cilantro's dining room and patio with a menu of traditional family recipes. One of 11 children, Art learned to cook and precisely divide a taco into 11 segments alongside his siblings in their mother's bustling kitchen. Veggies add a hint of virtue to platters of cheesy burritos, steak, and chicken in options such as seafood-stuffed portabella mushrooms and chiles rellenos. A bright purple bar marqueed by garlands of colored lights pours 16-ounce "Mugaritas," house-made sangria, and a list of anejo and reposado tequilas designed for sipping through the finest cactus straws.
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.
The kitchens at Bogart's Charhouse radiate tantalizing aromas of grilled meat as the walls grab guests' attention with black-and-white tributes to Bogie. The restaurant's meaty steaks range from 10 ounces to 4 pounds on dinner plates, and lunch guests can dig into a Bogie bacon cheeseburger, or a low-calorie plate of cold turkey. Sliced beef or lasagna catering plates can satisfy appetites at off-site events, such as office parties or a monthly tribute to the oppressive giants that rule one's neighborhood.
For more than 30 years, Pop's Italian Beef & Sausage has served up a Chicago-centric menu of beef sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Silence empty-belly rumblings with one of Pop's delectable beef sandwiches ($4.19–$6.35), such as the italian beef, heaped with mounds of succulent, thin-sliced beef soaked in special spices and natural gravy. Windy-city visitors can delight in the classic Chicago hot dog and the savory polish sausage (each around $2.29–$2.99, depending on location), each nestled underneath mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and the looming shadow of oscillating skyscrapers. Other handheld fare includes the meatball and corned-beef sandwiches, which can be upgraded with a variety of extras, including red sauce, sweet peppers, hot mix (all free on sandwiches, extra as a side), feta cheese, and bacon. A fleet of made-from-scratch soups and salads is also available, and includes such options as the hearty cream-of-chicken rice soup and the large garden salad ($2.09–$3.99).
Providing Chicago’s South Side with fine meats and produce since 1958, Dunning’s Gourmet Market is stocked to the brim with fresh eats. Shoppers can peruse a wide range of daily-made salads, artisan cheeses, and butcher shop meats that can be hand-trimmed into a custom cut. Like tennis shoes, Dunning’s catering menu items are cooked to order using fresh ingredients and can be tailored to fit dietary restrictions. From the lunch menu, sample a delectable jerk-chicken burger ($5.50), a grilled-steak sandwich ($8), or smoked-salmon pasta salad ($9 per pound). Additionally, shoppers will enjoy helpful service from a knowledgeable staff while soaking in the rustic and charming atmosphere.
J.T. Sausage Company, a family owned and operated butchery, produces a host of high-quality sausages and deli meats, as well as sells locally crafted foods within its cozy storefront. Nestled beneath a shiny glass case, links of italian sausage—including orange peel ($4.99/lb.) and mild and hot ($4.49/lb.)—beg to be cooked, grilled, or roasted over an open laser, and deli standards, such as pepperoni and salami ($7.99–$18.99), mingle with the wide selection of italian cheeses. Sauces from Cipriani Pastas and Sauces, a local noodle house hailing from Chicago Heights, and breads from Marconi Baking Company fill the store's narrow, yet well-stocked shelves.