If warm tortillas and chips 'n salsa is your idea of a good time, Mi Tierra in Griffith should be right up your Mexican-food-eating alley. Rave reviews are the norm here, so come ready to eat.
Families will feel right at home at this restaurant with its kid-friendly menu and atmosphere.
Large groups will appreciate Mi Tierra for its ability to seat them quickly.
Mi Tierra goes easy on the dress code — business casual is expected, so no need to squeeze into your finest attire.
With food this good, you'll be running into this restaurant to pick it up yourself.
Love the food so much you want to serve it at your next soiree? No problem — Mi Tierra offers catering.
With a parking lot adjacent to Mi Tierra, you won't get stuck circling the block.
Mi Tierra offers parking for all diners, including those who travel by bike.
We'll spare you the marketing. Our food is delicious, and we don't break the bank. It's that simple.
Catering to diners throughout the day (and night), Mi Tierra serves AM, PM, and midday meals.
Experience the flavorful traditions of Mexican cooking at the highly-rated Mi Tierra.
Stop in Mi Tierra today and enjoy a Mexico-inspired meal in a casual setting.
So what are you waiting for? Dine at Mi Tierra and enjoy the tasty flavors of Mexican fare.
For tasty Mexican fare, Griffith's Pepe's Mexican Restaurant is hard to top.
Take a peek at the drink menu here, and make sure to sample something off the list.
At Pepe's Mexican Restaurant, you won't have to wait for your large or small group to be seated.
Pepe's Mexican Restaurant's business casual policy makes it the perfect place for a number of occasions.
No time to sit down? No worries! This restaurant offers a take out option so you can grab your food on the go.
Pepe's Mexican Restaurant will even bring the amazing food from their kitchen to yours.
The parking lot near Pepe's Mexican Restaurant will have you in and out in a jiffy.
Pepe's Mexican Restaurant provides ample space for bikers to store their bikes.
What's your favorite meal of the day? Chow down on breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Pepe's Mexican Restaurant and taste test your way through the menu.
A delicious Mexican dish is waiting for you at Pepe's Mexican Restaurant, so stop by today and enjoy a yummy meal.
Fill up on fries and other comfort food at Jedi's Garden, a savory spot for American cuisine.
Bring the whole clan to this restaurant — kids and parents will love the menu and ambience here.
Free wifi is available as well.
What's that you hear? It's carryout at this restaurant.
Parking by the restaurant is a breeze, so feel free to bring your own set of wheels.
Bikers can store their bikes safely while they enjoy a meal at Jedi's Garden.
The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, but it's the brunch menu that draws the most rave reviews from patrons.
When you're looking for a bite of some great American dishes, you definitely won't need to look any further than Jedi's Garden.
When you're in need of a casual night out, head to Jedi's Garden and enjoy some great American classics.
For highly-rated American cuisine, look no further than Jedi's Garden.
For lunch on a budget, catch a quick Mexican meal at Taco Bell.
Your body is a temple, so why not opt for healthy food that also tastes great? Taco Bell serves shockingly delicious vegan, low-fat, and gluten-free dishes.
What's that you hear? It's carryout at this restaurant.
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.
Find your sweet (or savory) spot at Taco Bell, where you can opt for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Quick and easy is the name of the game when it comes to Mexican food at Taco Bell.
If you're in a hurry, make your way over to the highly-rated Taco Bell and grab some tasty food for the road.
For well-cooked burgers dressed with fresh toppings, visit Burger King.
Specializing in gluten-free and low-fat fare, Burger King has something that every stomach will enjoy.
At Burger King, you can dine with your immediate family and your extended family due to the easy seating for large parties.
We're not like any other place. We've prepared parking onsite for you.
If your preferred mode of transit is of the two wheel variety, you're in luck — there's tons of bike parking outside the burger joint.
Find your sweet (or savory) spot at Burger King, where you can opt for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Your hunt for the perfect burger is over. Head on over to Burger King for delicious quality you just can't beat.
Take a break from your busy day and grab a quick burger at White Castle.
Help yourself to a healthier lifestyle at White Castle, where gluten-free and low-fat plates are the standard.
No need to dress up for a trip to White Castle — the casual restaurant encourages laid-back attire.
Don't be afraid to enjoy your food on the go — this restaurant offers takeout for your busy schedule.
White Castle has easy parking nearby for diners who wish to drive.
So when you're pressed for time or just want a really great burger, enjoy a quick meal at White Castle.
When you're on-the-go and need to grab something quick to eat, make your way over to the highly-rated White Castle.
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