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.
As a high-school student working at a local pizzeria, John Schnatter often pondered how he would do things differently if he owned such a business himself. After graduating from college in 1983, he got his chance, knocking down the broom closet in his father’s tavern to create his own pizza-delivery business. Since then Papa John’s has grown to 3,500 restaurants in 50 states and 29 countries. At each location, cooks cover the signature hand-tossed crusts, made with high-protein flour and clear, filtered water, with tomato sauce from vine-ripened California tomatoes, then pile on locally sourced ingredients such as green peppers and onions. The emphasis on fresh ingredients extends to the 100% mozzarella cheese, beef, and pork, which are never artificially inflated with fillers or undeserved compliments.
In addition to delivering pizzas, Papa John’s reaches out to the community with charity involvement, including partnering with the Boy Scouts of America and Junior Achievement to teach US students about entrepreneurship and the best method of capturing a wild roma tomato.
Originally conceived as a rationale for the recently invented sliced bread, the hot dog revolutionized the way Americans eat and make juvenile double-entendres. You'll learn this and many other hot dog–related facts with today's Groupon: for $5, you get $10 worth of fun-loving comfort cuisine at The Acme Hotdog and Sausage Company for $5. Don your most mustard-stained T-shirt and saddle up your ballpark appetite for six to eight bites of historical dog decadence.
Three popular chefs collaborate on the dinner dishes of Francesca’s Belleza, assembling elegant, rustic Italian cuisine in-house using fresh ingredients. The trio’s also affiliated with The Violet Hour, Simone’s, and The Publican, and they’ve earned acclaim from outlets such as the Chicago Sun-Times and WGN. Salad artists create edible still lifes with selections such as the insalata caprese, an arrangement of tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella ($7.99), which, unlike most oil paintings, proves eminently chewable. Gourmet pizzas boast carefully calibrated toppings, with varieties such as the quattro stagioni, a blend of prosciutto, artichoke, olive, and egg ($10.99), whereas pastas cure carb cravings with selections such as the penne con melanzane, replete with eggplant and spicy tomato sauce ($14.99). Drown hunger pangs and any tiny mariners shipwrecked on your tongue with a wave of maritime entrees, including the salmone al balsamico, which comes layered with balsamic sauce and fresh tomatoes ($19.99). Pork eaters can opt for the costoletta di maiale alla rustica, or pork chops with rosemary and pancetta ($21.99), as they take in the white linens and black-and-white photography that constitute Francesca’s elegant décor.
Even before the food arrives, El Picante Mexican Grill transports diners south of the border with its bright yellow walls, multicolored tablecloths, and colorful murals depicting Mexican life. Then, guests dig into homestyle eats, such as enchiladas with three different sauces, housemade guacamole, and poblano peppers stuffed with seafood and doused in mole sauce. Even the mezcal is authentic—it's made in Mexico and comes with an agave worm, instead of a piece of spaghetti.
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.