In the bright spaces of Jamba Juice, mixers sprinkle mountains of all-natural, low-fat frozen yogurt with choices from seven toppings, such as almond and coconut. Dubbed Whirl'ns, cups filled with swirling, rivulet-etched peaks of frozen yogurt fuse the nutrition of real fruit and natural ingredients with the beneficial circuit training of active yogurt cultures.
Old Neighborhood Grill lives up to its homey name with decorative accents such as a window flower box and lattice fence—not to mention a menu filled with home-style Greek dishes. It’s not uncommon for neighbors to greet each other at the restaurant’s counter before ordering a pita stuffed with gyro meat or a lyre strung up with skewers of pork. Even those who lack a taste for Greek cooking will feel welcome, as the grill also fires up local favorites such as Polish sausages and Italian beefs.
Inspired by their own quest to find locally grown, organic food to serve their kids, Irv and Shelly decided to start their own network of independent farmers and deliver their produce to doorsteps. Drawing on their backgrounds in economic development and nonprofit environmental activities, the two connected with suppliers such as Jack Erisman of Goldmine Farms in Pana, Illinois—where beef has been raised USDA-certified and organic since 1993—and Harmony Valley in Viroqua, Wisconsin, where 30 years of experience is put to work cultivating high-quality vegetables and berries. As Irv and Shelly deliver the yield from their partners, they choose the most efficient route so as to reduce their carbon footprint. This means they can’t promise specific delivery times, but most orders arrive in the afternoon in boxes whose client-customized bounty is kept fresh by ice packs.
"A nice job . . . too much of a nice job!" Such was Guy Fieri's verdict on the addictive meatballs at Panozzo's Italian Market when he came to visit for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Fieri is one of many who have fallen for these morsels, crafted from natural pork, spices, and black currants. It's not all meatballs at Panozzo's, however—the menu and deli cases also hold rustic items such as house-made porchetta and herb-roasted chicken from Gunthorp Farm, one of several local sources for the meat and produce.
Growing up in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood, owner Mike Panozzo relished the community atmosphere of the local Italian markets. When he and his wife Ellen moved to the South Loop, they leaped at the opportunity to establish their own neighborhood gathering spot. They recruited chef John Asbaty to bring the menu beyond the standard Italian deli, a task he prepared for with stints in the kitchens of Trio and Alinea. Along with original dishes, Panozzo's stocks treats from local producers such as Zarlengo's Italian Ice, Nona Santi's Biscotti, and Passion House Coffee Roasters.
Though its display case is stocked with artisan cheeses, housemade pastrami, and chicken salad, City Provisions is more than a deli. Cleetus Friedman, the friendly face behind the counter, oversees City Provisions's day-to-day operations, which include butchering meats in-house, assembling sandwiches, stocking shelves with groceries, and serving seasonal brunch and dinner. Local vendors supply the 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant with sustainably sourced ingredients that pour into its house-roasted meats and housemade dressings, mayos, and charcuterie. Aside from its storefront offerings, City Provisions is known for its catering services and farm dinner experiences, the latter of which snagged a "Best Of" award from CBS Chicago in 2011. Each prix fixe dinner journeys to a local farm, and often a local brewery, where patrons tour the facilities and enjoy cocktails, transportation, and a multi-course meal sourced directly from farm-to-table.
Once upon a time—1901, to be exact—Gertie's Ice Cream began topping cones and tempting palates with its creamy texture and creative flavors. Twenty-six years later in a completely separate location, Lindy's Chili drew crowds with its hearty, meaty stew. Both enterprises continued to gain popularity over the years, but it wasn't until 1974 that entrepreneur Joseph Yesutis bought them both and had a novel idea: his chili company had more customers in the daytime and over the winter, whereas his ice cream company had more customers in the evenings and during the summer. Why not combine their strengths by creating a single sweet and savory shop? Yesutis's odd idea gained traction almost immediately, with guests lining up to sample its unique fusion of hot and spicy with cold and sweet. Today, the inventive grouping is not only accepted, but it's become a beloved tradition. Lindy's has since expanded to cook up burgers, Polish sausages, and a slew of meaty sandwiches. Meanwhile, Gertie's dessert artisans concoct old-fashioned banana splits, triple-rich shakes and malts, and sundaes topped with fresh fruits and sweet hot fudge.