With its original wood frame and wrap-around porch, Capannari Ice Cream appears much the same as it did in 1882 when it was Moehling General Store and Post Office. In the restored building’s kitchen, chef Jim Capannari churns strawberries, vanilla beans, and other fresh ingredients into ice cream, which he makes in four-gallon batches to ensure freshness. That ice cream has won numerous awards from the likes of Bon Appetit and The Daily Herald, and is available in "standard" flavors such as Lick the Bowl Cake Batter or Rocky Road. Patrons can also sample specialty flavors such as Dulce de Leche Crunch or lavender.
Dissatisfied with the slices of pie at fast-food joints, CravePizza owner Rafael tinkered with recipes for savory dough and hearty tomato sauce until he was satisfied. He opened CravePizza to craft pies from the basic foundation of buttery-crust dough, custom-spiced sauce, and a house blend of cheese. Three chefs with 40 years of collective experience toss thin, pan, or stuffed pies and top them with traditional meats and vegetables, as well as unexpected options such as roast beef, shrimp, and cilantro. The family-friendly restaurant welcomes customers dining in to enjoy a drink from the full bar, and delivery and pickup orders receive the same piping-hot fare with a free box.
On a sizzling hearth within the depths of a Neapolitan-style wood-burning oven bake hand-tossed rounds of dough, bubbling and crisping to perfection. The chefs festoon the dough with a variety of ingredient combinations; their much-loved margherita reveals traditional tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil, while their prosciutto crudo e rucola adds imported prosciutto and fresh arugula to the mix. Beyond their gourmet pizza, the kitchen team prepares a dinner menu cataloging a large selection of traditional pastas, such as plump gnocchi, farfalle in a pesto cream sauce, or lasagna that's tastefully layered, like someone wearing every item of clothing they own.
The staff welcomes patrons to relax beneath an elegant lattice ceiling and hanging lamps. Leather chairs surround tables, which are surrounded by exposed brick, which is surrounded by friendly conversation, which is surrounded by the biggest Russian doll.
Food has found a good home at Emerson’s Ale House. Here, chefs present half-pound burgers with pretzel buns and their very own beer pairings—the Smoke House burger with manchego cheese and pulled pork pairs with Rogue Dead Guy ale, for example, and the Roy-Ale burger with fried egg, smoked bacon, and English cheddar lines up nicely with Three Floyds' Robert the Bruce. To char-grilled salmon they add a side of dirty rice; to braised short ribs, garlic smashed potatoes. And they grant their desserts—chocolate-crepe cake, bread pudding, and Chicago-style raspberry cheesecake—the power to satisfy two diners at once, even if both are very upset about a failed attempt to gerrymander their foe’s sock drawer.
Emerson's TV collection helps patrons take in the game with friends, and its complimentary bacon bar provides the opportunity to see if bacon still tastes like bacon. Because liquor bottles only prosper when they're close to other liquor bottles, Emerson's has wisely grouped them all together behind the bar, where they huddle in wait before getting all mixed up inside your glass.
Adi Mor opened the first Garden Fresh Market in 1980, selling fresh produce from a 1,000-square-foot lot in Skokie, which he would stock by taking 2 a.m. trips to Chicago's South Water market. Today, Garden Fresh Market sprawls over six suburban locations, where fresh produce from apples to zucchinis is still procured daily.
Grocery items range from fresh meat from Midwest famers to a wide selection of ethnic foods and national brands. The deli slices meats and cheeses both domestic and imported, and house-made seasonal salads and main courses make bringing dinner home easier than stealing it from a neighbor's windowsill. Many of the market's online recipes have even made it onto NBC5, giving its cooks their share of 15 minutes of fame.
In the kitchen of El Sombrero Restaurant, Chef Ignacio "Nacho" Suchil prepares Mexican favorites such as big burritos, corn-tortilla enchiladas, and fish tacos made with icelandic cod and lime. While live music plays in the dining room, he splashes housemade creole sauce onto grilled shrimp and tosses skirt steaks onto blazing grills. El Sombrero Restaurant augments its eats with a game room, outdoor seating, and a lunch buffet on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Helmed by Sicilian-born chef Giacomo Zito, Giacomo's Ristorante Italiano's chefs populate the dinner and lunch menus with regional cuisine from the Southern reaches of Italy. The fettuccine alfredo's tender homemade noodles swim within creamy, homemade alfredo sauce ($11.95 for lunch, $15.95 for dinner), and a juicy 10-ounce filet mignon distracts forks and steak knives from shamelessly flirting with the soup spoon ($24.95). The risotto portobello is served in a garlic, oil, and white-wine sauce with the choice of shrimp ($16.95 for lunch), and vegetarian options and gluten-free gnocchi tend to those with dietary restrictions. An array of paninis ($7.95–$12.95) round out the lunch menu, energizing patrons for an upcoming afternoon spent rock climbing in clown shoes.