For more than 30 years, Pop's Italian Beef & Sausage has served up a Chicago-centric menu of beef sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Silence empty-belly rumblings with one of Pop's delectable beef sandwiches ($4.19–$6.35), such as the italian beef, heaped with mounds of succulent, thin-sliced beef soaked in special spices and natural gravy. Windy-city visitors can delight in the classic Chicago hot dog and the savory polish sausage (each around $2.29–$2.99, depending on location), each nestled underneath mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and the looming shadow of oscillating skyscrapers. Other handheld fare includes the meatball and corned-beef sandwiches, which can be upgraded with a variety of extras, including red sauce, sweet peppers, hot mix (all free on sandwiches, extra as a side), feta cheese, and bacon. A fleet of made-from-scratch soups and salads is also available, and includes such options as the hearty cream-of-chicken rice soup and the large garden salad ($2.09–$3.99).
The Riverside Theater Guild's cast of performers aged 8 to adult playfully recreates the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale in its production of Princess and The Pea. Audience members of all ages will hum along with Princess Mabel of Mudville as she sings, dances, and develops an unnerving obsession with legumes en route to the Kingdom of Snob Hill, where her prince awaits. Along with sparking smiles throughout the community, the Guild aims to instill storytelling skills in youngsters by casting local stars-in-training and holding theater camps during the summer.
Outside, snow falls, wind rattles leaf-less branches, and winter blankets the landscape. Then the crack of the bat rings out. That sound of summer is available all year long at Stella's, which offers heated indoor batting cages in the winter and open-air outdoor cages in the summer. An onsite bats and gloves shop outfits players with stacks of Easton and Wilson A2000 mitts and Louisville Slugger and DeMarini bats.
As the sight of pop flies and line drives keep summer always within reach, so too do the aromas of Vienna hot dogs, bratwursts, and burgers wafting through the air. Stella's restaurant also provides ball players and their families with homemade Italian ice and soft-serve ice cream. To celebrate turning another year older or finally getting zombie Babe Ruth on the team, Stella's offers party packages that include good eats, game tokens, and batting cages.
Falafelji’s development is nearly a century in the making. Owner Bilal Beiram traces the genesis of his Middle Eastern restaurant back to 1920, when his grandfather learned the trade of crafting falafel in a Middle Eastern port city. From this humble beginning, the grandfather became a globetrotting chef, later retiring and opening his own falafel shop, where Bilal started to help out at 10 years old and continued to do so during summer breaks. Inspired by his grandfather, Bilal infuses the menu of Falafelji—which means "falafel seller"—with authentic Middle Eastern flavors. The dishes, which range from vegetarian falafel sandwiches to kofta kebabs with minced lamb and beef, are available for delivery and takeout.
The Chew Chew’s chef and owner, Scott Zimmer, may be too young to have experienced the height of America’s railroad boom, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling nostalgic for it. Zimmer has turned that nostalgia into something interesting, outfitting his restaurant with antique rail menus and ancient photos of trains. He invites guests aboard his culinary express, treating them to American-inspired dishes such as Colorado lamb chops, chipotle-barbecue chicken flatbreads, and center-cut filet mignon steaks with lump crab. The space embraces natural light with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide the illusion of an al fresco dining experience and let anxious guests keep a lookout for actual runaway trains.