For tasty Mexican fare, Chicago's La Barca Restaurant is hard to top.
Don't waste time searching for parking, we've done all the work for you. Spaces available here.
The menu at La Barca Restaurant features affordable prices to help you save money on dining out.
With all the spices and flavors you love, La Barca Restaurant is ready to be your Mexican restaurant of choice tonight!
Load up a pizza with all of your favorite toppings at Chicago's Little Caesars Pizza.
The chefs at Little Caesars Pizza know how to prepare tasty, gluten-free and low-fat meals.
Waiting can feel like forever, especially when you're hungry. Spare yourself time spent in the parking search and dine with us. We've got space available for you and your car.
So head on over to Little Caesars Pizza and order a pizza filled with all of your favorite yummy toppings.
You'll love shopping at Bar Be Que Select's butcher shop and finding specially-prepared meats for you and your family in Chicago.
Do you meet your recommended calcium intake? If not, pick up some dairy products and put yourself on the path to a healthier lifestyle.
The bread baked at Bar Be Que Select gets rave reviews, so taste it yourself today.
Add a little bit of sweet goodness to all your baked goods for top-notch flavor and form. Pick up your staples at Bar Be Que Select.
Do you have a new pasta recipe that you've been dying to try? Pick up some noodles and treat yourself to a tasty dish.
Enjoy a small, bite-sized snack from Bar Be Que Select and cure your hunger pains.
Make sure you always have a variety of beverages on hand, especially during the warmer months. This drink is sure to take care of business.
Start cooking like a professional with the spices and seasonings at Bar Be Que Select.
If you're in the need for some protein, this is THE place to go, as they have wonderful and various meats for purchase.
Cereal in the morning, cereal in the evening, or cereal at suppertime. With the selection here, you'll want to eat cereal anytime.
Keep some frozen food from here on hand and pop it in the microwave or oven when you need a quick and easy meal.
It's always wise to keep a little extra food around the house, just because. Bar Be Que Select encourages you to check out its amazing canned foods for just that very purpose.
Who's hungry? A frozen entree will fool anyone's palate, so why waste time cooking up a storm?
Find healthy and affordable oil and vinegar at Bar Be Que Select and keep the good meals coming all week long.
Jumpstart your morning with a flavorful coffee or tea from Bar Be Que Select and feel energized all day.
When the heat gets the best of you, water is more important than ever. Cool off no matter where you are with a bottle from Bar Be Que Select.
Health-conscious eaters will love the wide selection of fish on hand.
Add some produce to your next dinner plate for a delicious meal jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients.
Make use of the ample parking near Bar Be Que Select.
No matter the type of meat, Bar Be Que Select will have you leaving well stocked from their butcher shop in Chicago.
Head to China Kitchen in Chicago and take a culinary trip to the Far East, where fine Chinese cuisine is readily available.
It serves everything including gluten-free and low-fat options.
Grab your food and chow down when you're ready with the restaurant's carryout and delivery options.
Many diners choose to drive to China Kitchen, as there are numerous parking options nearby.
Taste the greatness China Kitchen is serving up with meals around $30.
Know no better taste than the pure deliciousness of China Kitchen's Chinese food.
Head to McDonald's for a quick patty melt on those extra busy workdays.
It serves everything including gluten-free and low-fat options.
For some fresh air during the non-winter months, dine outside on McDonald's' patio.
Seating is readily available at McDonald's for those with large parties.
Up for grabs (and free of charge) is McDonald's' wifi.
Speakers are blaring and crowds roaring at the restaurant, so prepare for a noisy night out.
Just through the door at this restaurant, you can claim your food. No delivery required.
With meters and potential tickets, you'll thank us for our onsite parking!
The breakfast menu receives the most rave reviews from patrons, but you can also stop in for lunch and dinner later in the day.
So when you have a hankering for a burger, swing by McDonald's and pick up a great burger.
So stop in at McDonald's for food that's both fast and fantastic.
My Second Home is a relaxed restaurant with an elegant decor and classic American dishes.
Diners will appreciate the quick and easy parking options located near this dining establishment.
Checks are bigger than average at the restaurant, so prepare your wallet.
Stop putting off the best meal of your year and come into My Second Home's restaurant for some good old American favorites!
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.