Change is the only constant at Markethouse, thanks to a rotating menu that utilizes local, sustainably farmed, and seasonal ingredients. During the spring and summer months, the chefs look even closer for their produce, plucking fresh herbs and vegetables from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. Collectively, these ethically sourced ingredients inspire the regional New American cuisine that Time Out Chicago described as, “seasonal, simple, approachable food that’s nice to look at and even better to eat.” Although the chefs routinely incorporate new dishes into the menus, they tend to stick to refined versions of familiar comfort foods. The grown-up mac 'n' cheese gratin includes seven-year-aged white cheddar along with pieces of apple wood-smoked bacon. The Bell’s ale-battered fish and chips arrive with a side of jardinière for dipping. To accompany these meals, servers recommend bottles of wine from the California-centric list, which also includes a number of options from lands as far away as Australia and France In keeping with the menus’ firm connection to local and regional farmlands, Markethouse’s dining room surrounds guests with natural wood and soothing earth tones. Pale green booths and a terracotta-red accent wall add small splashes of color while gentle lighting from the recessed bulbs and wireframe chandelier help create a warm, cozy ambiance.
Is it the top-secret honey mustard sauce? The freshly battered chicken? Even the regulars at Village Tavern & Grill might debate just what makes the chicken fingers so good. These tender treats are enjoyed alongside other favorites such as Nachoroma, a sky-high pile of chips, cheese, jalapenos, and guacamole. The rest of the menu skims over traditional American pub food, from BBQ pork sandwiches to a 10 oz. 100% Black Angus burger.
Chicago was bustling on December 6, 1933. Thousands of people trekked out into the winter cold, most hoping to find comfort in the bottom of a glass and send off Prohibition with a good-bye party for the ages. Coq d’Or was the second bar in the city to obtain a liquor license after Prohibition was repealed. They had stockpiled booze in preparation for the onslaught, but the lines were so long that bartenders only had time to pour whiskey priced at 40 cents per glass. Nowadays, Coq d’Or is much more reserved, attracting martini connoisseurs rather than boisterous revelers. Still, the burgundy-colored chair and lingering piano notes transport Coq d’Or right back to the 1930s. Over the years, this gentleman’s drinking room has hosted everyone from Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II to Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. It was also where Chicago legend Buddy Charles entranced countless onlookers with his piano skills. A restoration in March of 2011 has enhanced the aesthetics of the bar a bit, but longtime patrons will find that Coq d’Or is still as familiar as ever. It’s a wonderful spot to soak up the cozy atmosphere, sample the fresh seafood in the renowned bookbinder soup, or order a stiff drink from a cocktail menu that organizes its drinks by decade and includes anecdotes about the bar’s history
There’s no Jerry at Jerry’s. Owners Mark Bires and Mindy Friedler chose the moniker as an homage to Jerry Garcia, whose freewheeling spirit they evidently share, given that they’ve traveled the country sampling sandwiches ranging from Chicago's italian beefs to Philly's cheesesteaks, from New Orleans's po boys to New England’s lobster rolls. It’s easy to see the influence of their journeys on the eatery’s menu, a staggering array of more than 100 regional and ethnic sandwiches that could make a magic 8 ball cloud over from indecision. Root-beer-glazed ham, beef tenderloin, and fried tofu are but a few of the sandwiches’ centerpieces, their flavors accented by offerings such as fried green tomatoes and grilled asparagus. Diners can also customize their own creations from a board filled with meats, veggies, and 10 different bread options. Hand-formed burgers, rustic-cut fries, and decadent desserts add weight to the menu like an extra stripe adds weight to a zebra. At the eatery's bar, diners scan rows of roughly 200 American craft beers accessible by bottle or tap, and they savor a selection of 70 American whiskeys. When the digital jukebox needs a break, Jerry's hosts live music, the catchy tunes of which slither through door cracks and out to the outdoor dining area.
Disappointed by the relative lack of comedies at film festivals, independent filmmaker Jessica Hardy founded Chicago Comedy Film Festival last year as a much-needed outlet for comedic expression. Now in their second year, Hardy and her staff have picked another round of humorous flicks to the screen over the three-day, second-annual laugh fest, screening both independent feature films and shorts.
Films on Friday include Servitude, starring Kids in the Hall and NewsRadio actor Dave Foley as the manager of a Western-themed restaurant’s overworked staff. Earlier in the day is the screening of Close Quarters, a flick starring renowned local actors T.J. Jagodowski, Susan Messing, and Gregory Hollimon as they debate love, friendship, and jealousy—all over some coffee.
On Saturday, catch the Midwest premiere of Bad Parents, where Janeane Garofalo and Cheri Oteri play stressed-out soccer moms trying to communicate with their inanimate soccer-ball children. On Sunday, those with VIP passes can attend the award ceremony, as well as the after-party at Rockit Bar & Grill.
Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, and Frank Sinatra are just a few of the silver screen luminaries who frequented Chicago's Pump Room in the 1930's and 1940's. Sinatra haunted the spot so often that he had his own designated booth, obscured from the public view by a curtain. Former Studio 54 owner Ian Schrager renovated the restaurant in 2011, creating a modern ambience with glowing resin orbs that hang from the 18-foot ceiling. But the glamour of a bygone era remains. Guests can still pore over candids of movie stars dining and drinking in the restaurant, and a framed photograph of Frank Sinatra—blue eyes apparent in spite of black and white film—hangs over his re-installed booth.
James Beard award-winner Jean-Georges Vongerichten drew inspiration from classic Pump Room dishes to create a new menu that one Chicago Tribune writer described as having "a decidedly Midwest emphasis.” Entrees such as wienerschnitzel or house-made bowtie pasta with veal meatballs evoke supper club fare from the 1940's. More contemporary tastes can be found in flatbreads topped with aromatic black truffles and fontina cheese or crispy suckling pig with bacon marmalade.