When Peggy Maglaris Kopley's husband was diagnosed with stage four Lymphoma, she used the news as the catalyst to cleaning up her family's diet with organic foods, as mentioned by "190 North". Even as her husband fought his way into remission, Peggy continued her foray into the world of organic eating and green living. The two passions became the inspiration for her contemporary American restaurant, Prasino, which has gained praise from the pages of_Time Out Chicago_and_Chicago Magazine_ and the screens of ABC7 and WGN. And to ensure both locations live up to their name—Prasino means "green" in Greek"—Peggy and her team, who are trained in organic standards, craft fresh breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees including a pretzel bun eggs benedict and chorizo seitan tacos, using locally-sourced and organic ingredients. The chic restaurant's farm-to-table ethos is further supported in their efforts to work with ranchers and farmers, including partnerships with Niman Ranch and Knutson's Country Harvest, who practice sustainable living by treating their livestock humanely and ensuring their meats are antibiotic- and hormone-free. The eco-friendly vibe carries over into a line-up of specialty beverages, from Goose Island brews to cocktails infused with fruits and vegetables, as well as each restaurant's eco-friendly design, complete with reclaimed wood furnishings, energy efficient appliances, and robot waiters who are fueled by sweet compliments.
Today Kama owner and chef Vikram Singh cooks his internationally influenced Indian cuisine with a goal to give diners an experience that stimulates all the senses. Perhaps that calculated idea came from his background in mathematics and engineering. Or perhaps it came from his father, a renowned chef in India whose cuisine has impressed King Abdullah of Jordan and former German chancellor Helmut Kohl. After a successful career working with numbers, Vikram and his wife opened Kama to bring the local area an inspired, unique Indian menu?and one that would certainly meet his father?s inimitable standards.
Chef Singh actually draws on four decades of experience crafting his made-from-scratch sauces, homemade paneer, and spicy lamb dishes. To keep things interesting, he engages American, French, and Chinese traditions as he invents entrees such as tamarind-glazed baby back ribs and lamb tacos. But he isn?t the only one creating new tastes under his roof. Kama?s bartenders mix cocktails with fresh-squeezed juices and spike martinis with unconventional flavors such as cucumber, cinnamon, and rosemary. The restaurant recently received a 2014 Michelin Bib Gourmand award, given to the guide's favorite spots for high-quality cuisine at good value.
Somewhere between Chicago and Italy, you’ll find Little Joe’s, a modest lunch spot that has served sizzling red hots and homemade Italian beef sandwiches since 1969. The menu may be simple, but all of the staples are there—including charbroiled Italian sausage and homemade meatballs in red sauce. A perennial favorite, the hot dog comes in the style Chicago is famous for: topped with onions, relish, mustard, and pickles.
Encyclopedic in its generational stock of goodies, Sweetness satiates sweet teeth with row after row of throwback bounties. From Pop Rocks ($0.95), to Charleston Chews ($1.25), to a wide variety of PEZ dispensers ($2.25), the shop stocks edible memories for all ages and personality types. Uninhibited hands can hoard individual items such as theater-sized boxes of Raisinets and Lemonheads ($2.25 each), while foresighted foragers shovel sweets such as Atomic Fireballs, Smarties, and Jolly Ranchers ($5.25/lb.), as well as Gummis in the chewable form of bears, berries, butterflies, and marmocoons ($3.25–$4.25/lb.). Sweetness’ creative candymen can also create custom-poured chocolates. No matter what sticks to the palm, a single swing through Sweetness can easily fill the heart, stomach, and pillowcase of any autumn enthusiast.
Christopher and Mary Spagnola, owners of Back Alley Burger, boast an extensive, ingredient-driven menu of fresh-to-order, grass-fed-beef burgers and nitrate-free, all-beef hot dogs. Bite into the Knead a Big burger ($8.99), which finds a juicy beef patty, tender pastrami, and a fried egg lounging like spoiled princes atop a downy bun pillow, craft a burger from scratch ($5.99+), or step outside the cattle box for a Crabtastic crab-cake burger ($8.99) or veggie burger ($7.99). Along with its burger creations and puppet shows on the history of beef, Back Alley Burger also blankets scrumptious, all-beef Nancy's dogs with Merkts cheese and sauerkraut ($4.25), whips up a variety of sandwiches and salads, and prepares an array of tasty sides, such as sweet-potato fries ($2.50) and chili con carne ($3.99).
Red Five combines the convenience of a New York hot-dog stand with the succulence of 100% all-Oregon beef franks. Roll up for lunch at this red, umbrella-shaded food cart and feast on quarter-pound hot dogs that can be slathered in a choice of 18 condiments. For an additional $3, the Red Five lunch special includes crunchy Tim’s Cascade Style potato chips and Thomas Kemper’s craft-brewed soda, made with pure northwest honey that, unlike southwestern honey, isn't actually cactus tears.