To Dan Kim, a red mango is something truly special. The fruit only becomes that color for a very brief time, when it's most ripe, most delicious, and most nutritious. This became an allegory for Dan, a frozen yogurt enthusiast, who was conceptualizing his first yogurt shop. He opened the first location in 2007, vowing to use all-natural ingredients that, like the red mango, are both tasty and healthy. His commitment to conscientious snacking certainly caught on, as the brand has since expanded to more than 200 locations throughout North and South America. In 2011, Red Mango took top honors for frozen yogurt shops and for healthy options in a Zagat poll.
In addition to being all-natural, Red Mango's award-winning yogurt satisfies a range of diets by being gluten-free, kosher, and low-fat or non-fat. Each of the nearly 50 flavors, which range from green tea to dulce de leche, contains calcium, protein, and immune-boosting probiotics. Depending on the location, people can serve themselves or order from the full-service counter as they concoct sundaes crowned with anything from fresh fruit to peanut butter cups. Other fun and fresh toppings include market fresh fruit, healthy granola and nuts, tasty cheesecake bits, and yummy yogurt chips. The menu includes more than just fro-yo sundaes, however—it also features yogurt parfaits, Skinny Sorbettos, and fruit or boba smoothies. In addition to developing secret handshakes with their favorite yogurt taps, regular visitors can sign up for the Club Mango rewards program to receive special offers and discounts.
Enjoy a perfectly cooked steak and a generous portion size at Theo's Steak and Seafood in Highland.
Fear not you gluten-free or low-fat eaters, you'll have plenty of choices here.
Complement your meal with a beer or wine from this restaurant's delightful drink menu.
Parents, bring your kids along to this restaurant, where you'll find a family-friendly menu and ambience.
Don't stay cooped up on a beautiful summer day! At Theo's Steak and Seafood, you can dine outdoors on their lovely patio.
Don't go off the grid! With the free wifi at Theo's Steak and Seafood, you can surf the web and get some work done.
Skip long waits and head to Theo's Steak and Seafood with your large group for easy seating.
Find yourself the best seat in the house by calling ahead to reserve a table.
Good luck spotting a suit and tie at Theo's Steak and Seafood — casually-dressed diners are the norm here.
Or, take your grub to go.
For the tastes of Theo's Steak and Seafood from the comfort of your next party, the restaurant also offers catering services.
If you're driving, be sure to take advantage of the nearby lot.
Your tab at Theo's Steak and Seafood will generally run you about $30 per person.
Theo's Steak and Seafood happily accepts all major credit cards as a form of payment.
Get ready to try some of the best steaks in town when you dine at Theo's Steak and Seafood.
Enjoy traditional American cuisine at Round the Clock Restaurant, home of American comfort food.
Whether rocking a gluten-free lifestyle or looking for something low-fat, this place will serve you just what you need.
Got kids? No problem at Round the Clock Restaurant! This restaurant is a fantastic spot for families to dine together.
Make a reservation to ensure your night goes according to schedule.
Don't spend time or money shopping for a new dinner outfit
Round the Clock Restaurant's laid-back vibe accepts jeans, T-shirts, and everything in between.
Some say walking is the greatest thing in life. This restaurant knows it's carryout.
Many diners choose to drive to Round the Clock Restaurant, as there are numerous parking options nearby.
Make use of the safe and efficient bike parking at Round the Clock Restaurant.
The breakfast menu receives the most rave reviews from patrons, but you can also stop in for lunch and dinner later in the day.
Night owls and early risers alike will appreciate that the restaurant is open 24 hours a day.
When you are ready to try a new restaurant for lunch or dinner, make your way over to Round the Clock Restaurant for tasty American fare.
If you're looking for classic American fare, try Round the Clock Restaurant for your next meal.
For that can't-get-enough Mexican flavor, check out Memo's Taco Mex, where five-star dishes are just over the counter.
Little guys and gals will also love dining at this restaurant, which offers a family-friendly environment (and menu).
Groups of all sizes can easily be seated at Memo's Taco Mex.
Dine out in the open during Memo's Taco Mex's summer season when patio tables are available for use.
Don't like waiting to be seated? Make a reservation whether it's just you or the whole group.
No need to gussy up for a trip to Memo's Taco Mex, where patrons dress for comfort and fun.
Memo's Taco Mex can also cater your next party; call today for details.
Always five minutes behind schedule? Pick up your food to go instead.
For convenience, diners can park in a neighboring lot.
Memo's Taco Mex is home to many cyclists who appreciate the parking racks outside.
Memo's Taco Mex has menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — just pick your favorite meal and head over.
For the area's highest rated Mexican cuisine, be sure to check out Memo's Taco Mex.
For great Mexican food in a casual setting, look no further than Memo's Taco Mex.
For delicious Mexico-inspired cuisine, make your way over to the highly-rated Memo's Taco Mex.
Fall in love at Anthony's Cafe — this gem serves tasty Italian fare in a romantic setting.
This restaurant's fully stocked bar is a perk for patrons who enjoy a fine wine (or more) with their meal.
Check email, shop online, or get the latest game scores on Anthony's Cafe's free wifi.
Whether you have a group of five or a group of 20, Anthony's Cafe can seat both large and small groups.
The patio tables outside of Anthony's Cafe are the perfect spot for a summer meal.
Be sure to make reservations so you can get seated right away.
It doesn't get much more laid-back than Anthony's Cafe, so dress for comfort when you come.
The food's ready when you are. Come on in or carry out.
Parking is easy at Anthony's Cafe, especially those looking to park on the street or in a lot close by.
Menu items at Anthony's Cafe tend to be mid-priced, so expect to plop down about $30 per person to dine here.
So share the love while you share an amazing Italian meal together at Anthony's Cafe.
Isn't it time you tried Anthony's Cafe's great Italian place to satisfy your cheese cravings?
Fill up on fries and other comfort food at Town Club Restaurant, a savory spot for American cuisine.
Don't go thirsty during dinner! This restaurant also offers a splendid drink list featuring wine, beer, and more.
Your group can sit comfortably at Town Club Restaurant, a local restaurant.
Don't be afraid to enjoy your food on the go — this restaurant offers takeout for your busy schedule.
Can't get enough of Town Club Restaurant's tasty dishes? They also offer a catering service for parties and events.
Town Club Restaurant is centrally located near many parking lot options.
Travel by bike to Town Club Restaurant and store your bike at a nearby rack.
Customers should be prepared to spend around $30, but more importantly, they should be prepared to enjoy a great meal.
Conveniently charge by major credit card when cash isn't an option.
Town Club Restaurant provides morning, afternoon, and evening service, so you can easily find time to dine.
Stop what you're doing and pay a visit to Town Club Restaurant's restaurant today.
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.