Fresh from the oven every time, the insanely-cheesy slices at Barraco's Pizza and Catering have visitors hooked on five-star reviews.
With G-free dishes and fare that's low in fat, you won't feel guilty about dining out at Barraco's Pizza and Catering.
A night out deserves a drink to celebrate, and this pizzeria has the perfect selection of beer and wine to go with your meal.
Parents appreciate this pizzeria's kid-friendly attitude, and little ones are often seen dining out with the adults.
Barraco's Pizza and Catering offers patio seating in the warmer months.
No need to dress to the nines here — Barraco's Pizza and Catering's policy is business casual, so guests can dine in comfort.
Call Barraco's Pizza and Catering for catering if you have a big event coming up.
Delivery and takeout are both available if you prefer to eat in the comfort of your own home.
Make use of the ample parking near Barraco's Pizza and Catering.
If a trip to the ATM isn't on the agenda, visitors have the convenience of paying by major credit card.
Some people say that if you've had one pizza, you've had them all. Diners who've tried Barraco's Pizza and Catering's pizza say it is the absolute best.
So bring your appetite to Barraco's Pizza and Catering. This no-muss, no-fuss pizza joint comes with rave reviews.
For hot pizza and a cool atmosphere, be sure to stop in at Barraco's Pizza and Catering.
No matter what type of pizza you are craving, Barraco's Pizza and Catering has you covered.
At Applebee's, you can enjoy a classic American burger or sandwich.
Drinks are also on the menu here, so visitors can start the night off right.
Youngsters are more than welcome to join mom and dad at this restaurant.
Cheers to the weekend! Applebee's is serving up the fun!
At Applebee's, your large or small group can be seated quickly and comfortably.
Throw on your favorite T-shirt and head out the door — dining at Applebee's is all about comfort.
Some say walking is the greatest thing in life. This restaurant knows it's carryout.
Applebee's' diners can park in a neighboring lot just seconds away.
Applebee's is a prime location for cyclists to park their bikes and enjoy a bite to eat.
Treating yourself doesn't mean breaking the bank, come taste the great dishes Applebee's has to offer.
Applebee's dishes up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so stop by for your favorite meal.
When American food comes to mind, Applebee's should be your first choice.
For a casual American classic, Applebee's will serve you up a delicious meal in Crestwood.
Catch the game and knock back a few beers with friends at At the Office.
Great food plus TV equals the perfect fan meal.
This restaurant is kid-friendly, so little ones are welcome to tag along.
At the Office has a large dining room, making it easy to seat large parties.
At the Office provides seasonal outdoor seating — be sure to grab a chair before it's too late.
The restaurant can fill to capacity on the weekends, so don't forget to call ahead to reserve your table.
Great food is best enjoyed comfortably, so At the Office encourages less-than-fancy attire.
Or, take your food to go.
A nearby parking lot is readily available for At the Office's diners.
Prepare to spend about $30 per person when dining at At the Office.
When you're looking for a fun place to watch the big game, At the Office is where you want to be.
There's a classic American dish waiting to be made for you at At the Office.
When you come to At the Office, you'll be beyond satisfied with a casual American meal.
Frank-lovers will find their paradise among the tasty hot dogs at Crestwood's Portillo's Hot Dogs.
The perfect place to take the kids, dining out at this restaurant won't cost you a sitter.
Parties of any size can easily be seated at Portillo's Hot Dogs.
Arrive fashionably early for your pick of tables — the restaurant does not accept reservations.
Spruce up your look...but not too much! Portillo's Hot Dogs' style is business casual, so formal wear should be left on the hanger.
Take the comfort of your own home and add great grub from Portillo's Hot Dogs to create the perfect night.
No time to sit down? No worries! This restaurant offers a take out option so you can grab your food on the go.
Parking has never been easier at Portillo's Hot Dogs, a restaurant located near a variety of parking selections.
For a quick meal that's sure to blow your taste buds away, the hot dogs at Portillo's Hot Dogs have reached superstar status. Come by and try them for yourself!
Barone's Family Style Restaurant offers a casual environment and multiple pizza choices that the whole family can enjoy.
The chefs at Barone's Family Style Restaurant know how to prepare tasty, gluten-free and low-fat meals.
Bring your whole brood to this pizzeria, where families can dig in to tasty and kid-friendly fare together.
Make plans ahead of time and reserve a table to avoid the wait.
Catering makes it easier to organize any event, and Barone's Family Style Restaurant will ensure that it is delicious.
Delivery and takeout are also available. You'll be knocking down our door to pick up your food, or we'll be knocking down yours.
Easy parking is accessible for Barone's Family Style Restaurant's diners.
Don't stress over planning a fancy dinner. Keep it fun and casual with a fresh, handmade pizza from Barone's Family Style Restaurant.
Craving pizza tonight? Stop in for a tasty slice at Barone's Family Style Restaurant.
Order all of your favorite pub classics and munch away at Mitch's Pub and Eatery in Crestwood.
Those in search of a stiff drink can also peruse the bar menu, where a range of beer, wine, and cocktails are available.
Mitch's Pub and Eatery caters to all party sizes, both large and small.
Be sure to make reservations so you can get seated right away.
Put the suit away when heading to Mitch's Pub and Eatery — dress is casual, as are the vibes.
You can also serve food from Mitch's Pub and Eatery at your next party — the bar offers catering.
Mitch's Pub and Eatery is located in a prime area for those who wish to park in lots.
When you need great food that is not going to cost an arm and a leg, stop by Mitch's Pub and Eatery.
For simply amazing pub food, Mitch's Pub and Eatery has all of your favorites to continuously satisfy your hunger.
Mitch's Pub and Eatery has everything you could want from a British pub in Crestwood.
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.
After exiting the gates at Union Park this weekend, the first thing on your mind will likely be finding a place to sit down. These five destinations offer a place to rest your feet, have a drink, eat deep-fried bacon, and maybe even break into a bank vault—if that’s your thing. If not, there’s always dancing.
If you wore heels all day and are ready for whiskey and snails while reclining on a sofa:
Maude’s Liquor Bar | 840 W. Randolph St.
After the last set, drag your weary hooves up to the Green Line platform and head two stops east to Restaurant Row, where you’ll find Maude’s long, leather couches perfect for slouching. The escargot is made in the traditional French style—in one of those absurdly French dishes created exclusively for cradling escargot, piping hot out of the oven and swimming in butter, herbs, and garlic—with plenty of crusty bread. To drink, Maude’s has five kinds of smashes, but you should order the whiskey smash, because it’s my favorite. (If you’re feeling exotic, try the Smokey Violet.)
If your inner biker bro is craving a craft brew:
Twisted Spoke | 501 N. Ogden Ave.
Just a few blocks away up Ogden, Twisted Spoke’s rooftop patio is the perfect spot to enjoy one of many brews from an enormous beer list—if you’re not sick of being outdoors. If you are, kick back at the long, curving bar with one of its epic bloody marys. Available in a handful of boozy variations (from classic vodka to spicy tequila), each bloody is garnished with a pile of pickled veggies, cheese, and cured meat, and served with a beer back of Genesee Cream Ale. Twisted Spoke also has deep-fried tempura-style bacon—need I say more?
If you’ve always dreamed of drinking tequila in a bank vault:
The Bedford | 1612 W. Division St.
Tucked away beneath the bustling six-way intersection of Milwaukee, Division, and Ashland, the Bedford is a cool, marble-and-chandeliers destination where the lighting is low enough that no one will notice how dusty your shoes are. The rehabbed bank basement invites imbibers to lounge inside the old bank vault—complete with gleaming safe-deposit boxes—on plush chairs and couches or at one of the many tables and booths in the main space. Groups can order a whole bowl of the refreshing (and potentially dangerous) chamomile tequila punch, a combination of chamomile-infused blanco tequila, grapefruit liqueur, lime, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit soda; it’s also available by the glass and half-bowl.
If you fudged your manicure when someone crowd-surfed over you:
Beauty Bar | 1444 W. Chicago Ave.
Cashing in on the signature $10 martini-and-mani combo, spiff up your nails at one of the manicure stations while sipping on something called the Relaxer, which is actually just a dirty martini but will likely do the job. With a DJ in the booth every night, you can shake a leg under the disco ball once your nails have dried. (Namely, you can bump 'n' grind to the sounds of R. Kelly on Saturday evening during the city’s longest-running tribute night to the local R&B legend.) Or, you could always take a seat in one of the many '50s-style dryer chairs, pull the bowl down over your head, and not talk to anyone.
If you no longer have the energy to speak but do have the energy to chew:
Au Cheval | 800 W. Randolph St.
The burger topped with cheese and fried egg—which Bon Appétit argues is the best in the nation—is the perfect excuse to sit in silence. This two-patty wonder is stuffed between a soft, chewy bun and will keep you and yours occupied long enough to at least try to conjure up a knock-knock joke or something. Accompanied by a Dr. Devon’s Pickleback (one shot of irish whiskey and another of the housemade pickle brine), the combo will likely leave everyone ready for bed, which is perfect because you’re going to need to rest up to do it all over again tomorrow.
Photo credits: 1. Kari Skaflen – Maude's Liquor Bar 2. Michelle Klosinski – Twisted Spoke 3. Brandon Jones – The Bedford 4. Jessica Schultz – Beauty Bar 5. Kari Skaflen – Au Cheval
How do you find Chicago's most Chicago restaurant? You begin by taking the world's best decision-making device: the bracket. Then you combine it with Chicago's best device to represent its messy, opinionated landscape: the ward map. Some have called this pursuit "patently absurd." We humbly disagree. By taking our logic above (bracket + ward map) and extrapolating it into a larger, totally airtight algorithm, our computers have found a winner for the title of Chicago's most Chicago restaurant. See the finalists and read more about the search here. Below is one of the finalists.
Gabrielle Darvassy was tired. Tired of the grind her 20 years in a corporate job subjected her to. Tired of the homogenous food options in her adopted neighborhood. Tired of having to make the trek to the other side of the Loop to procure any kind of quality goods and services.
Looking back, the layoff from her 9-to-5 seems to be a blessing in disguise. “People have to like what they’re doing, and they have to feel fulfilled,” Gabrielle is fond of saying. She began selling nutrient-packed smoothies at the 61st Street Farmers Market, and soon, together with her husband, she opened up B’Gabs Goodies (6100 S. Blackstone Ave.), a raw vegan eatery, on a quiet stretch on the border of Hyde Park and Woodlawn. Not the first place someone would think to serve food that’s been made with absolutely no animal products (not even butter!) nor heated to above 104 degrees.
Doing this helped put Gabrielle’s beliefs about food to the test. When she talks about food, she uses the word love, a lot. Food, she says, gives the body energy, but the people who make it also imbue it with energy.
“If the people who make it and bring it to you aren’t in love with it, it’s not going to be good for you.”
To that end, she procures all her produce from one vendor, who she knows loves what they do. “So everything we make from beginning to end is lovely. I’m not about to put in that type of work [without love]. I did that for 20 years.”
A commitment to the neighborhood
Gabrielle and her husband live in Hyde Park, where he grew up. Their home is close to the border of Woodlawn, which is known as one of the city’s “food deserts,” meaning it’s a trek to a good grocery store or any other source of unprocessed whole foods. And though Hyde Park, as the home of the prestigious University of Chicago (and our current president), holds considerably more options than Woodlawn, they’re not necessarily healthful ones. At least, not by her standards, which—besides vegan fare—include foods made without soy or gluten.
Noting how reluctant business owners were to invest in her neighborhood, Gabrielle decided to keep her endeavor close to home. Though she knew she would be more profitable north of the Loop, it was important to her to show faith in her community, knowing that, just as she has to make the drive up north for certain things, Northsiders would make the drive south, if what she was doing was viable.
“If you want your community to be better, you have to do the work in your community,” she says.
A community that keeps coming back
On our visit, we almost drove right past B’Gabs Goodies’ door. It shares the block with what looks like a warehouse on one side of the street and an empty industrial lot on the other. The address on its Facebook page adds the parenthetical “(green door)” after the address, the tiniest clue to locating it.
“People find us by word of mouth,” Gabrielle tells me, once I’ve found my way in. “They feel like it’s a vegan speakeasy.”
In fact, the only publicity they’ve ever done since they opened in 2011 has been running a Groupon and doing stories with any interested publications.
And yet, they have a loyal following, which Gabrielle calls “small but mighty” and is growing exponentially. Two U of C students chatted at a table next to us, recognizing a former professor who walked through the doors. Four women came in and out for a to-go order. A father and son shared a meal as we left. “I love this place!” the boy proclaimed—to everyone. And all the while, the staff hustled to get a catering order prepped for a community photography show next door.
Perhaps one of the best examples of the love they’ve engendered in the community is the gleaming—and pricey—Norwalk juicer a customer gifted to them. “It’s magic,” Gabrielle says.
B’Gabs Goodies’ prep “kitchen” is an approximately 3-foot-long stainless-steel counter in a nook behind the cash register. They prepare food without heat, which is believed to break down the nutrients and good energy in food. It’s basically cooking without cooking.
I must admit, learning this gave me some trepidation. My previous experience with raw vegan food was similar to that of any lifetime carnivore: my meal was so bland I barely remember it. The menu at B’Gabs left me stumped: tacos made with seeded nacho “meat,” pad thai salad with zucchini and carrot “noodles,” jicama “fries.” As someone who’s averse to many processed foods, I’m naturally suspicious of any food whose name is in quotation marks.
So I approached this from a culinary standpoint, sampling the cuisine the way I would any that I hadn’t much experience with.
I opted for the classic burger.
Gabrielle shuns all soy products, as well as fake meats such as seitan, because she, and many of her customers, are suspicious of GMOs. While I was expecting a one-note dish, this burger turned out to be a medley of flavors. The crisp onion “bread” was balanced by a savory seed patty and brightly flavored housemade ketchup. A pile of kale filled the rest of the plate, its bitterness ameliorated by the sweet tang of the accompanying dressing. To wash it all down, I chose the Fiji Hammer Time smoothie: peaches, strawberries, and bananas, boosted with maca root and yohimbe bark.
I’d walked into B’Gabs feeling a little run down, tired or perhaps coming down with a cold. I left, literally, with a skip in my step, so energized that I almost forgot to pay for my meal. A slight buzz rang through my body—was it the seeds? The yohimbe? The Norwalk juicer’s magic?
No matter; it was the richest vegan meal I have ever tasted.
Teaching someone to fish
Gabrielle’s mission is not only to provide healthy food for people in her community, but also to create lasting changes in the way they eat. “The only way to do that—regardless of economics—is to teach them how,” she says. To that end, she and her staff teach “uncooking” classes and workshops, helping people incorporate raw foods in their diets.
They also dedicate half the space to a herb and spice shop, with more than 300 varieties of plants, all lovingly sourced. They all have healing properties, if that’s your thing, which Gabrielle believes doubles down on the nourishment her food provides. Most of the herbs and spices are packaged, if not harvested, by staff, and all were selected because, not only do they make food taste better, but they’re also known to have some kind of effect on health. The yohimbe bark in my smoothie is believed to ease depression—and improve the libido (rawr)!
“A lot of people come to me when they’re sick and have exhausted all options,” Gabrielle says.
Or, as the restaurant’s motto states: “It’s not the food in your life, it’s the life in your food.”
Photos by Timothy Burkhart, Groupon