Hand-carved tikis and 12-foot-tall stone Easter Island moai preside over Tiki Terrace. Seated under swaying palms at hard-carved booths and tables, dinner guests enjoy a regional menu that starts with traditional pupu appetizers, such as taro chips and housemade pineapple salsa, and proceeds to traditional seafood and pork specialties. In the party-friendly tiki tradition, groups of up to four can share the Hawaiian punch bowl, a powerful elixir that arrives in a volcano tiki bowl with a fiery surprise. On Friday and Saturday nights, the dining room's elevated center stage fills with the South Pacific’s dances, music, and ceremonial red-rover matches.
Hub's Gyros follows a simple motto: “Just a family business where quality still counts.” With that sort of humble attitude, you’d never know this restaurant is a star. Since its founding more than 35 years ago, Hub's has seen thousands of satisfied customers walk through its doors, made two appearances on Saturday Night Live, and racked up two Silver Platter awards, as well as a Golden Globe for “Most Delicious Sandwich Tangentially Related to the Plot of a Variety Show Sketch”. The secret to its success is a savory smorgasbord of American and Mediterranean cuisine, which includes hearty baked moussaka and pastichio, grilled gyros and shish kabob, and meaty burgers, deli sandwiches, and barbecue ribs. But while it prefers to focus on delivering quality food and service, Hub’s hasn’t completely shunned the limelight: customers can take home bottles of the restaurants “famous” barbecue sauce, which they may use to top their own ribs and sandwiches or to tie-dye their brand new Hub’s t-shirts and hats.
Though the name implies a limited selection of mostly Greek fare, the chefs at Grecian Kitchen have gone out of their way to furnish their menu with an array of Italian and American barbecue dishes. They draw on the same skills to roast gyro meats and grill Angus burgers, though they spend much of their time baking perennial favorites such as moussaka and spinach pie. Adding to the variety are classic diner desserts such as milk shakes and malts, which wash down house-made rice pudding, sticky-sweet baklava, and accidentally inhaled napkins.
“Barbecue meets beer garden” may sum up Sheffield’s, but it hardly does the bar—heralded by [Esquire] (http://www.esquire.com/bestbars/bb-sheffields) as one of the best in America—any justice. Standing at the corner of Sheffield and School and housed in the bottom floor of a three-story brownstone, Sheffield’s pulls all the stops when it comes to its two specialties. Barbecue sauce made from scratch smothers tender beef brisket, homemade sausage, and pork that chefs smoke for 14 hours and pull to order. Hand-cut fries and fresh baked cornbread complement the sandwiches and platters, as does any one of the bar’s microbrews, such as Allgash Blonde or Sawtooth English Ale. In the summer, bar-goers can enjoy their brew and food out back in the beer garden, which the Goodlife Report named as one of “America’s Best Beer Gardens”. As cold winds roll into town, patrons can escape to the cozy indoors, surrounded by brick walls and plenty of sports-casting TVs.
When paired with blues chords, the smell of barbecue sauce transcends the normal sensory experience. Housemade dry rubs and sauces sink into smoked brisket, turkey, pulled pork, baby back ribs as the meat smokes slowly over a mix of hickory and applewood chips. Blues Bar masters this ethereal combination of soulful sounds and soul food, coupling weekends of live music with saucy ribs and sides of honey-chipotle corn bread and homemade fries. Inside the lofted dining room, tables look down onto the bar and its 24 HDTV screens that play live sporting events. Also you can find well over 75 plus craft bottled beers and 20 continually rotated draft craft beers. The blues joint’s decor pays tongue-in-cheek tribute to Chicago icons the Blues Brothers with a larger-than-life mural of the smart-suited duo and a full-sized vintage squad car in which John Belushi’s hat was once arrested for armed robbery.
As dusk begins to set in near the corner of Thatcher and North, a familiar site lights up the intersection?a towering chimney with blazing neon letters that read "Russell's." The iconic eatery originally opened its doors in the 1930s, and it remains unflinchingly committed to its deep neighborhood roots. "Russell's is more than a restaurant," claimed a 1999 feature in the Chicago Tribune, "it's a living piece of history."
This sense of history is most prevalent in the menu of slow-cooked barbecue and classic, home-style comfort foods. In addition to the signature barbecued-pork sandwich that appeared on the Food Network's Sandwich King, the menu also features slow-cooked beef and hearty slabs of ribs, all of which arrive with Russell's time-honored barbecue sauce. An assortment of familiar side dishes help complete each meal, including crispy onion rings, coleslaw, and brisket-scented oxygen.