Satisfying meals and handcrafted beer intersect with premium sports viewing at Lamppost Pizza and Backstreet Brewery, founded in 1976 by Angelo Barro and his sons, Dan and Tom. Today, the franchise welcomes patrons to 37 locations in three states, and the philosophy remains the same at all of them. Seven big-screen TVs broadcast football, basketball, and baseball games from around the leagues to entertain patrons sipping small-batch draft beers brewed onsite. Fans munch on traditional sports-viewing snacks, such as jalapeño poppers, potato skins, and buffalo wings. Chefs also prepare heartier entrees including garlic-chicken pasta, Pesto Supreme pizzas covered with artichoke hearts, and The Linebacker, a pizza loaded with pepperoni, salami, ground beef, sausage, and two types of bacon.
On the charming patio of Luna Rossa Ristorante, the flame of a heater flickers in the center of the al fresco space, which is low-lit by lights strung overhead that cast a golden glow on the crisp, white tablecloths. Frequently enlivened by live music, the patio and dining room open to diners during lunch and dinner to serve a menu of elegant Italian cuisine. Sourcing ingredients such as fresh buffalo mozzarella straight from Italy, Chef Mauro Di Rofi, from Rome, Italy, prepares tender spaghetti that mingles with mixed seafood in a spicy red sauce, classic Neapolitan pizzas topped with tomato, mozzarella, and anchovy, homemade pasta with smoked salmon, and rich cr?me br?l?e.
At Main Street Pizza & Cafe, eager eaters ingest hand-tossed pizzas, hot sandwiches served on french rolls, and breakfast fare. The savory surface of an artichoke-feta pizza supports fresh garlic, tomatoes, and mozzarella, which cower on its edges after glimpsing the approach of world-consuming teeth (starting at $8.99).
In 1999, Jordan Mullikin began working in Giorgio's of Chicago, his dad's restaurant. By age 14, he was already crafting original sauces to enrich his father's cuisine, rather than acting like a normal rebellious teen and opening his own restaurant across the street. It wasn't until after high school that he took the helm of his very own eatery, Chicago's Best, with the help of his industry-wise father.
These days, he runs Aioli, where he draws upon his years of experience and sauce-making skills to flavor sandwiches made with handcrafted specialty breads, as well as provide catering services for a variety of occasions. Here, he crowns pretzel bun burgers with chipotle aioli and grilled bell peppers, and fills toasted whole grain buns with grilled chicken doused in red wine BBQ sauce. Despite the change in focus, Jordan hasn't abandoned his Windy City specialties. Aioli's Chicago-inspired dishes range from Vienna beef dogs topped with peppers and celery salt to hot giardiniera piled atop housemade seasoned roast beef.
• For $28, you get dinner for two, including two entrées (up to a $22 value each) and two glasses of house wine (up to a $7 value each; up to a $58 total value). • For $55, you get dinner for four, including four entrées (up to a $22 value each) and four glasses of house wine (up to a $7 value each; up to a $116 total value).
Tuscany Mediterranee Grill’s chefs settle for nothing less than fresh, quality ingredients in their Italian and Mediterranean dishes. They start with premium meats, such as Black Angus beef. Their herbs and vegetables are organic and always fresh, and sauces are made from imported hot red Italian tomatoes.
Diners enjoy the housemade pastas, risottos, steaks, and kebabs at intimate white-clothed tables often adorned with one or two long-stemmed roses in a small vase. Overhead, small crystal chandeliers dangle from the ceiling, bathing every table in a light that's softer and more pleasant than a hug from the Pillsbury Doughboy.