Psistaria Greek Taverna evokes an authentic atmosphere through its friendly staff and Mediterranean menu, which is crafted from Greek imported extra-virgin olive oil, herbs, and spices. Amid white tablecloths and hardwood floors, cold starters of cucumber yogurt and Greek imported feta arrive beside hot appetizers of shrimp and sweetbreads. The eatery's entrees include juicy chicken, swordfish, and various incarnations of lamb, which descend still steaming from the broiler, and the rhythms of live greek entertainment inspire diners and sentient flatware to sway tableside. During warm-weather months, patrons can venture outdoors to the patio, where savory indulgences such as baklava cap off meals.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
Taste of Cuba's kitchen crafts a menu full of traditional Cuban eats concocted using fresh ingredients each day. Among the ranks of pressed sandwiches, the kingly cubano ($5.50) stands tall, bursting with sliced ham and roasted pork. The famous jibarito sandwich ($5.75) attracts paparazzi by canoodling with both grilled steak and onions, covering the affair with plantains and garlic mojo, then putting the whole thing on blast via Twitter. The roster of entrees includes the pechuga de pollo ($9.95), which finds a grilled chicken breast rubbed in savory spices. Fend off a food coma with a bracing cup of Cuban coffee in one of its myriad iterations ($1.50–$2).
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Although Kow Kow Restaurant opened as a small Cantonese carryout eatery in 1949, it quickly amassed a loyal following in West Rodgers Park. As the client base broadened beyond the neighborhood and city limits, the restaurant scaled up to a full dine-in restaurant. In 1989, Kow Kow migrated to its current home in Lincolnwood. Here, owner Don Moy and his wife, Helen, serve up the original location's recipes seven days a week. Beef and chicken gain flavor from oyster sauce, almond ding, or straw mushrooms while sweet-and-sour sauce enriches duck, shrimp, ribs, and scallops. Meatless entrees abound, featuring seasoned vegetables, hand-formed bean cakes, or noodles.