While the perks at each of Chicago’s Home of Chicken & Waffles' three locations vary, the main draw is the same—a menu of specialty waffles, Cajun- and Southern-inspired entrees, and hearty portions of soul food that earned the restaurant a feature on WTTW's Check, Please!. Trinidad-born chef Carolyn Johnson's smorgasbord of time-honored dishes is dotted with modern twists unforeseen by Chubby Checker, including a funnel-cake-inspired fried waffle, a turkey burger topped with turkey bacon, and a fully-loaded fried-catfish salad. Entrees, which can be paired with BYOB beverages at the Oak Park location, include traditional chicken and waffles, catfish dinners with collard greens, and fried chicken gizzards. Jazz musicians amp up the atmosphere at the Evanston and Oak Park eateries as the chefs put finishing touches on meals with sweet-potato pie and peach cobbler.
Though Dino’s is a pizzeria at heart, they also pride themselves in their fresh-cut fries. And just as with the pizzas, customers can deck out the fries with an array of toppings—buffalo sauce and jalapenos ignite the Spice of Life fries, and the Hungry Man fries get bulked up with ground beef, cheese, sour cream, and flannel napkins. They pair nicely with the restaurant’s half-pound Angus burgers, as well as the fresh wings. Of course, much of the menu is devoted to pizza, and diners can build their own or order a specialty pie, such as the gyros with meat, onion, tomato, feta, and gyro sauce.
Just half a block away from the clattering tracks of the Green Line, Grape Leaves Restaurant offers a casual dining oasis filled with the enchanting aromas of Middle Eastern eats. Vibrant murals of country scenes stretch across the walls, contributing to a vibe that’s as relaxing as napping on a furniture store’s softest couch. Beneath the painted grape vines that run below the ceiling, diners dip warm triangles of pita into hummus or nibble on stuffed grape leaves. Thin slices of chicken shawarma or beef kebabs are served in warm pitas, which also cradle crunchy falafel with Jerusalem salad. Additionally, the kitchen assembles larger plates of lamb couscous, vegetarian kebabs, and chicken that's been marinated in sumac and cooked with mushrooms and onions.
Featured on the ABC 7 Chicago news segment The Hungry Hound for its healthy dishes, PapaSpiros Greek Taverna uses a bevy of chefs to craft homemade Greek cuisine and their own take on traditional dishes. Diners fuel dance-horror movie marathons with hearty lunch entrees including chicken souvlaki ($7.95) and barbecue lamb sandwiches ($8.95). Come dinner, mousaka ($14.95), bakaliaros—pan-fried codfish served with scordalia and oven-roasted potatoes ($15.95)—and other well-known favorites populate the expansive menu. Guests can top off a meal and satisfy molar-dwelling sucrose czars with desserts such as baklava and rice pudding.
Red Hen painstakingly selects the freshest and finest ingredients for its loaves, then bakes them with delicate, hand-tailored production techniques. Because all the yeasty entities are created daily in an enormous oven shaped like George Lopez's head, prices and availability vary. Past baked delights include prosciutto and asiago croissants ($3.50), velvet ciabatta ($4.80), olive rosemary bread ($6), the sweet-tooth satiating chocolate bomb cookie ($2.60), and an armada of other bagels, buns, rolls, and bollos. Tackle heartier hungers with soups du jour and sandwiches ($5.95–$7.95) including the cranberry chicken salad, dotted with walnuts and celery. Before the inevitable post-bread nap halts your afternoon ice-sculpting plans, perk up with beverages made with Caffe Umbria coffee and high-quality espresso.