At Rex Italian Foods, Josephine Pinello and her son Anthony prepare what Time Out Chicago describes as "rare items" from their native Sicily. Their signature schiacciatas—which are like a mixture between pizza and paninis—drew the attention of Guy Fieri's _Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, which aired a segment in which Anthony Pinello reveals the secrets of the family recipe for the dish. Available in five varieties, the schiacciatas blend fresh peppers, cheese, and a variety of ingredients on panini-pressed bread, creating a dish so iconic it's depicted on the 5-euro bill, though the dish itself is only accepted as currency at banks during lunchtime. The eatery's house-made pastas, hand-stuffed Italian sausages, and imported deli meats are available for dine-in, carryout, or catering.
Taco Burrito King’s cooks prepare fresh burritos, tacos, and quesadillas using energy-efficient devices and water heated by solar panels. All locations serve spicy dishes such as heaping plates of fluffy eggs with chorizo and king-size portions of fajitas stuffed with grilled vegetables, sour cream, and steak. Taco Burrito King’s staff promotes diverse community events in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, helping with church and park festivals, sponsoring sports tournaments, and recording minutes for the meetings of area secret societies. Taco Burrito King also sponsors University of Illinois at Chicago Flames basketball and is the official concession vendor for all UIC outdoor sporting events.
At J Bean Coffee Shop friendly coffee experts summon jets of steam to whip up lattes and cappuccinos, creating intricate designs in the layers of foam and froth. The independent, locally-run shop recreates the ambience of a cozy Italian café, with every drink handmade to order the way Renaissance-era baristas used to do it. Guests can munch on grilled paninis and wraps as they sip strong espresso or dark-roast coffee, or treat tastebuds to a flood of sweetness with shakes, mochas, caramel lattes, and creamy gelato.
A newly inaugurated neighborhood eatery, City Tap & Grill serves up a menu of hearty American dishes, more than 25 classic and craft beers, and inventive cocktails in a welcoming space accented by large windows and big-screen TVs. Crispy sweet-potato fries ($4.99) dive into chipotle dipping sauce, and heaping spoons of golden-brown macaroni and cheese ($9.99) blast into eager maws like drool-seeking missiles. The City Tap burger ($9.99) costars bacon, cheddar, and giardinieras on a marquee of juicy beef, and the Vesuvio chicken wrap ($8.99) corrals lettuce, onion, tomato, pepper jack cheese, and caesar dressing into a tasty tortilla embrace. Diners can complement bites with a locally crafted Goose Island Honkers Ale ($4.50), or they can slurp dessert with a chocolate martini ($8), which is decadent enough to make Las Vegas blush.
At RoccoVIno's, a dish can never be too Italian. That's why you can order a pizza—already an Italian staple—in Italiano style, crowned in spinach, tomato, and three types of cheese. Customers add their own personal touch to the pizzas, too, choosing from thin crust, classic pan, and stuffed-crust deep dish styles, or select a specialty pizza such as the Margherita, Veggie Delight, or il Paisano. The pasta dishes are similarly customizable, filled with noodles from farfalle to rigatoni and drizzled in a choice of 10 sauces. These include a spicy tomato sauce made from only tomatoes that look like winking faces. Other gourmet Italian dishes include seafood risotto mixed with scallops, calamari, and shrimp, filet mignon, topped with a chunk of gorgonzola cheese, chicken or eggplant parmigiana, lasagna, and baked mostaccioli.
Glowing wall sconces glint off burnished-wood furnishings at Skores Sports Bar and Grill, where textured yellow walls hoist up 19 plasma TVs. Cheering sections perched atop bar stools can hurl hoots and hollers at the NFL and UFC athletes who grace these screens as bartenders pour craft suds from the likes of Goose Island, and as chefs conjure upscale bar fare from secret recipes and homemade ingredients. With grumbling stomachs silenced, diners can swivel hips to the toe-tapping tuneage of a DJ, live band, or internet jukebox, or hone their hustling skills on any number of dart boards or touchscreen games. Those glued to the TV or their child's science project can take advantage of Skores’ delivery services, which ferry food to patrons as late as 2 a.m.