Visit A&W Restaurant for some true American comfort food smack dab in the middle of Chesterton's Chesterton.
Easy parking is accessible for A&W Restaurant's diners.
Our goals are simple. Keep you fed and happy. With outstanding food and drinks priced under $15, we succeed on both counts.
There's a classic American dish waiting to be made for you at A&W Restaurant.
Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders does not just make pizza. They serve decadent slices of heaven that anyone who sinks their teeth into rate high on their list.
Got kids? No problem at Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders! This pizzeria is a fantastic spot for families to dine together.
Groups of all sizes can easily be seated at Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders.
You can't reserve a table ahead of time at Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders, so you may need to plan for a wait at prime times.
If you're more interested in a cozy night at home, this pizzeria also offers delivery and take-out options.
You can also serve food from Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders at your next party — the pizzeria offers catering.
At Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders, street and lot parking is made simple for diners.
If your preferred mode of transit is of the two wheel variety, you're in luck — there's tons of bike parking outside the pizzeria.
Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and all major credit cards.
Whether you're in the mood for AM eggs, a midday salad, or an evening entree, Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders provides service throughout the day.
Some people say that if you've had one pizza, you've had them all. Diners who've tried Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders' pizza say it is the absolute best.
For a casual meal that is highly-rated, look no further than Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders' pizza.
When you just want to relax in a casual setting and enjoy some pizza, make your way over to Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders.
No matter what type of pizza you are craving, Val's Famous Pizza and Grinders has you covered.
Get your fill of first-class tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and more at Leroy's Hot Stuff, an excellent Mexican spot revered by fans as one of the best.
Help yourself to a healthier lifestyle at Leroy's Hot Stuff, where gluten-free and low-fat plates are the standard.
TVs are also on hand in the bar to keep up with the latest scores.
Get connected at lightning fast speeds with Leroy's Hot Stuff's complimentary wifi.
Leroy's Hot Stuff is a suitable restaurant for both large and small groups.
Leroy's Hot Stuff visitors enjoy a taste of live music with their food as well.
Volume at this bar can reach upper decibels, so come prepared to raise your voice to be heard.
It's best to call ahead for a table as the bar can get packed.
Take it nice and easy at Leroy's Hot Stuff, where casual dress is the rule of the day.
A catering menu is also available if you're looking to dazzle the guests at your next shindig.
This bar offers carryout for your convenience.
Leroy's Hot Stuff is located in a prime area for those who wish to park in lots.
Store your bike at a nearby rack and enjoy a bite to eat at Leroy's Hot Stuff.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all available at Leroy's Hot Stuff — swing by for your favorite meal.
So head to Leroy's Hot Stuff, where you can expect nothing less than the highest rated Mexican cuisine.
So head on over to Leroy's Hot Stuff for a tasty meal and keep up with the latest and greatest trends in Mexican cuisine.
Find the perfect pairing for your next sandwich at Lucrezia — this shop thrives on fine meat and fresh bread.
Low-fat, gluten-free and anything else you've been looking for waits here.
Ready for a drink to unwind? At this restaurant, you can pair your meal with something from their full bar.
Lucrezia's outdoor seating is available during the warmer months.
Give the restaurant a call to reserve your table ahead of time.
Business casual attire is acceptable, so guests can let go of the "dress to impress" standard.
Can't get enough of Lucrezia's tasty dishes? They also offer a catering service for parties and events.
Meeting the gang for a movie? Pick up some food from this restaurant.
The restaurant is next to a parking lot, but drivers can also settle for street parking.
Prepare to spend about $30 per person when dining at Lucrezia.
Critics award the most brownie points to the restaurant's dinner offerings, but breakfast and lunch are also available.
With a little meat, some cheese, and a great array of fixings, Lucrezia knows how to make the perfect sandwich for any meal.
Experience the art of Italian cooking and the unending magic of romance, only at Lucrezia.
Highly regarded, the Italian food at Lucrezia is perfect for diners looking for a nice meal out.
You don't need a plane ticket to experience all the best flavors of Italy. They're all under one roof at Lucrezia.
Enjoy finger-licking barbecue year-round at Wagner's Outdoor Dining in Porter.
A night out deserves a drink to celebrate, and this restaurant has the perfect selection of beer and wine to go with your meal.
Tots are more than welcome to dine with their parents at this restaurant.
Score quick and easy seating for groups of any size at Wagner's Outdoor Dining.
On warmer days, take advantage of Wagner's Outdoor Dining's outdoor seating.
Don't be the last one waiting! Reserve a seat so you can eat when you're ready.
A catering menu is also available if you're looking to dazzle the visitors at your next shindig.
You can also grab your grub to go.
Drivers can take advantage of the parking lot near Wagner's Outdoor Dining and save time on hunting for a parking spot.
Store your bike safely at one of the main bike racks near Wagner's Outdoor Dining.
Wagner's Outdoor Dining offers a nice selection of mid-range cuisine, so you can expect a meal there to cost about $30 or less per person.
Wagner's Outdoor Dining offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so stop by whenever is most convenient for you.
If you are craving some tasty barbecue, make your way over to Wagner's Outdoor Dining for finger-licking good eats.
Make sure your next meal is a good one. Get your barbecue on at Wagner's Outdoor Dining.
The tacos are top-tier and the burritos are nothing short of amazing at Santiago's Mexican Restaurant — sift through five-star reviews or just head on over to find out more about this Mexican menu.
Unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail with your meal — this restaurant has a wonderful selection of drinks to accompany your dinner.
Go ahead and bring your rug rats with you — this restaurant has kid-friendly food and seating.
Wanna soak up the sun? Come grab a bite at Santiago's Mexican Restaurant and sit out on their gorgeous patio.
Need to get out of the house? Order and pick up from this restaurant.
At Santiago's Mexican Restaurant, diners can score a guaranteed parking spot close to the restaurant.
Santiago's Mexican Restaurant is home to many cyclists who appreciate the parking racks outside.
Breakfast bites, light lunches, and delicious dinners are all offered at Santiago's Mexican Restaurant.
Come experience an amazing array of Mexican dishes when you try the highly-rated Santiago's Mexican Restaurant.
If you prefer casual dining, head on over to Santiago's Mexican Restaurant and enjoy some Mexican fare in a comfortable setting.
So treat yourself to a variety of tasty Mexican dishes at Santiago's Mexican Restaurant and cure your hunger cravings.
Cindy Espinosa has cooked almost every dish on the menu at Nellie’s (2458 W. Division St.), the Humboldt Park luncheonette she co-owns with her husband, Pablo. Yet she’s never attempted mofongo, a dish of mashed fried plantains that’s a Puerto Rican tradition.
“I see it being made,” she said. “I know how it’s made, but I’ve never tried it.”
It’s easy to see why. The cooking process, which I watched unfold in Nellie’s kitchen, is pretty involved, with a lot of hand-mashing and frying. “It’s more of a Friday-night dinner type of thing,” Pablo said. “You might eat it once a month at home.”
Yet the final result—a dome of fried plantain that diners can moisten with a dip into housemade chicken broth—is worth the work. Here’s how Cindy and Pablo’s cook, Carmen, makes it.
Carmen first peels and chops green plantains, the same fruits used in the restaurant’s jibaritos and tostones. According to Pablo, the restaurant goes through a crate of about 50 green plantains every week.
Then Carmen tosses them into a deep-fryer with some chopped tocino, or pork lard. When the lard has cooked down to a salty, crispy crunch, she dumps it and the plantains into a type of mortar and pestle called a pilon. “Every Puerto Rican household should have one,” Cindy said. The pilon’s concave bottom is what gives a serving of mofongo its distinctive dome-like shape.
In Puerto Rico, you see “all types of sizes” of pilon, Pablo said. That includes some as large as a butter churn, which sit on the floor. Nellie’s is a tabletop model, about 6 inches tall, wooden, and covered in carvings. It makes only one portion of mofongo at a time, which can make things hectic for Carmen on a busy weekend day. (All that mashing “takes an arm,” Cindy said.)
Making mofongo to order gives the staff flexibility to tailor each serving. For instance, Carmen can leave out the tocino to make a vegetarian version of the dish. (Both Espinozas have been vegetarian for a year and a half.) Other versions on the menu include iterations with shrimp in place of tocino or with a mound of chicken, shrimp, or steak nestled inside the dome. Mofongo can also be a side order to fried chicken (chicharron de pollo) or fried pork.
I get to sample the classic, main-course version.
The mofongo dome appears next to a small silver tureen filled with housemade chicken broth for dipping. There is still a big chunk of meat and bone floating in it, as well as a big, soft carrot that I devour, savoring its umami flavors. Moistened with a little broth, the green plantains lose their fibrous dryness to become melt-in-your-mouth comfort food; the bits of tocino provide an occasional kick of salt.
I send a mental thank-you to Carmen’s arm for providing this food. I hope it was worth the work.
Photo credit: Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
To many Chicagoans, the neighborhoods south of Roosevelt Road seem to be a culinary wasteland. To Jimalita Tillman, Chicago native and executive director of the Harold Washington Cultural Center and Performing Arts Theatre (4701 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.), fine-dining opportunities definitely exist on the South Side—if you give them a chance.
Because many of these restaurants depend on word of mouth, Tillman said, the advertising budgets of their more northern competitors often trump their oral marketing, and so she often spends “all day” giving South Side restaurant recommendations to area visitors and theater-goers.
“There are many great places [to eat] throughout these areas,” she said. “It really depends on what you’re in the mood for.”
And if you're in the mood for a little musical and cultural Chicago history to pair with your meal, you don't have to travel far from the landmark arts center. The Harold Washington Cultural Center, in the former location of the historical Regal Theater where the likes of Ella Fitzgerald once performed, is right in the heart of the Black Metropolis—a region marked by the culture and Southern-inspired music scene that developed during the Great Migration. Today, Bronzeville is still flavored with leftovers from its swinging past.
To savor alongside your meal, we paired each of Tillman’s restaurant recommendations with a few musical, historical, and cultural tidbits.
4655 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Chicago, IL 60653
It’s the quick and personable service that makes this gourmet hot-dog eatery a standout, Tillman said. Of course, Chef Cliff Rome serves the usual Chicago-style hot dog, but it’s the varied wiener and burger options he creates that color H-Dogs’ menu with the fine-dining flair he perfected while studying in Paris. The Healthy Hound—a grilled veggie dog with sprouts, roasted peppers, red onions, and cucumbers—sits alongside salmon burgers, turducken sausages, and portobello-mushroom sandwiches without the least bit of tattletaling or fighting over who had the mustard first. Sweet-potato or truffle fries complete the gourmet-on-the-go experience.
Bite of History: The gourmet hot-dog diner sits in a historical building that was once known as 47th Street Marketplace. Before a 2010 fire destroyed the building, it was considered a symbol of the revitalization of Bronzeville and housed Tillman’s Spoken Word Cafe—one of the original hosts of HBO’s Def Poetry series hosted by hip-hop artist and actor Mos Def.
2. Pearl’s Place
3901 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60653
“I’m a breakfast head,” said Tillman—as are many in the crowd of diners waiting to get inside for brunch on any given Sunday. The kitchen cooks up a mix of Southern and soul food—yes, there’s a difference—but Pearl’s Place sprinkles it with the right amount of creole flavor. After sampling Pearl’s juicy yet crispy fried chicken, sautéed salmon croquettes, or all-day breakfasts of vegetable omelets or homestyle pancakes, it seems only right to finish with a bite or two of peach cobbler or sweet-potato pie.
Bite of History: The interior decor, with album jackets and vinyl records lining the walls, features a photo story of the neighborhood’s jazz and blues history with jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Lena Horne—all of whom graced the stage at the Regal Theater during Bronzeville’s musical heyday.
3. Norman’s Bistro
1001 E. 43rd St., Chicago, IL, 60653
The bistro’s entrees—including vegetable confetti ravioli, smoked cranberry salmon, and the Great Duck burger—offer an upscale taste-bud experience at “South Side prices,” Tillman said. From the food to the decor, presentation is an art in this sleek and classy spot featuring creole-inspired American food with a Brazilian flair. In the exposed-brick, art-filled wine bar, sommeliers pour from an extensive list of wines. Separate from the dining room, the intimate setting of the bar creates an ideal spot for the happy-hour crowd.
Bite of Culture: On Sundays at 9 p.m., the bistro hosts a live jazz jam session. Or make an appointment and walk over to Gallery Guichard—housed in a turn-of-the-20th-century Italiante row house—to peruse its African-diaspora art and blown glass, sculptures, and photography by local as well as international artists.
Photography by Andrew Nawrocki.
Clockwise from top: Birria in action—rich, briny consommé and tender goat meat, stewed for hours with bay leaves, cinnamon, and other spices. // Ceramic bowls absorb the birria's heat, keeping the broth warm throughout meals. // When Rick Bayless recommended Birrieria Reyes de Ocotlan to "Esquire" magazine, he described the eatery’s birria as "full of flavor, incredibly homey and satisfying."
In Ocotlán in Jalisco, Mexico, the temperature rarely dips below 40 degrees. That's mild by Chicago standards; however, when the Reyes family immigrated 2,000 miles from Ocotlán to Chicago, they brought with them a recipe that would prove thoroughly compatible with the colder weather. That recipe is birria—a savory stew made by simmering goat meat for hours with herbs and spices. On a cold day in mid-March, I made a trek across town to the family's Pilsen restaurant, Birrieria Reyes de Ocotlan, to taste it myself.
As soon as I entered the eatery, I smelled the warm, rich aroma of simmering goat meat. Goats were also present in the decor: miniature replicas decorated shelves and cupboards, and a mounted goat head kept watch over the booths, a toothpick dangling humorously from its lips.
After I ordered birria at the counter, a server presented me with three dishes. The smallest held pickled onions and lime wedges, which are traditional birria condiments, and an oblong basket cradled warm, fresh tortillas. The largest bowl brimmed with rich, briny consommé, chopped onions and cilantro, and hunks of tender goat meat.
The first spoonful of broth tasted bright and smoky with hints of ancho peppers and cinnamon. I separated a piece of goat meat with light pressure from my spoon. Leaner than beef, the meat still had pieces of bone inside, which infused the meat with the flavor of their marrow. The crisp onions and fragrant cilantro stood out against the birria's savory elements to create a harmony of flavors that was especially comforting on a cold day.