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.
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.
Owner Kelly Garofalo presides over her family’s second restaurant, Grady’s Grille, aiming for a modern twist on the neighborhood eatery. Homestyle favorites, such as the hot ham 'n' cheese, served on a pretzel roll with dijon mustard, burst from the kitchen along with flatbreads, half-pound burgers, and shrimp tacos, which are ensconced in spicy house glaze previously used to deter gingerbread-house lickers. Playful breezes gambol across the outdoor patio and live entertainment includes acoustic sets from The Walk-ins to set diners’ hips swaying.
Asian Harbor serves a blend of Japanese and Thai dishes in a sleek, modern dining room. Rich Thai spices turn curries the same deep-orange hue as the walls, which glow with light from hanging cylindrical lamps. A neon-lined sushi bar dishes out more than 20 specialty rolls. And a lengthy list of cooling cocktails, sake, and wine balances hot dishes on the menu such as Spicy Basil, an entree of sautéed meat, snow peas, fresh basil, chili, and bell peppers. Unlike libraries beefing with Confucius, the wok section of the menu includes several Chinese classics, such as general tso's chicken and egg foo yong.
On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.
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).
Led by owner Mike Galderio, Balagio Ristorante unites families and friends around fresh-made pasta, breads, sauces, soups, and a trove of different wines. For lunch, guests can conquer stomach pangs with a selection of salads, signature pasta dishes, or handheld eats, including the 8 oz. black angus burger, served with fresh mushrooms and mozzarella on a brioche bun ($7.95). Evening-time guests, on the other hand, can peruse or origami-fold a dinner menu brimming with chicken, seafood, and pasta entrees. Start with an appetizer of baked eggplant marinara ($7.95) or crispy fried calamari ($8.95). Move on to classic tossed pasta dishes, such as the Hay & Straw spinach-and-egg fettucine ($12.95), or savory chicken entrees, such as the signature scaloppine Balagio-style , served with a side of braised escarole ($12.95). Browse a selection of veal, chops, and steak fresh-cut daily, or kick back with a bottled beer or martini, such as the Midnight in Rome.