If cooking isn't on the agenda, the perfect pie awaits you at Beggar's Pizza, where customers praise the pizza like no other.
Calling all gluten-free and low-fat diners! Beggar's Pizza has a multitude of dishes right up your alley that are freshly-prepared and taste amazing.
Drinks all around! Pair your dinner with a beverage from this pizzeria's full bar.
The whole family can enjoy a meal at this pizzeria with its kid-friendly fare.
Beggar's Pizza offers a free wifi hot spot — perfect for surfing the web or getting a little work done.
Casual dining at its best, Beggar's Pizza customers are free to enjoy themselves in jeans and a T-shirt.
Your car or ours? You'll get the food either way via pickup or delivery.
The pizzeria has catering services as well.
Parking is easy at Beggar's Pizza, especially those looking to park on the street or in a lot close by.
Beggar's Pizza's diners can store their bikes safely at the rack around the corner.
For talk-of-the-town pizza, Beggar's Pizza is your pizzeria. Stop by for a slice or two and judge the ratings for yourself.
Find out how many slices you can eat! Beggar's Pizza's pizza comes with high ratings and a low-key vibe, so take your time enjoying your pie.
So head over to Beggar's Pizza, where you can sit down to a delicious pizza in a relaxed, casual setting.
After learning about Beggar's Pizza, you definitely just found your new pizza place.
Score your next slice at Stephano's Pizzeria — this joint has pizza-lovers dishing out cream of the crop reviews.
If you're looking for a mean slice or a piping plate of pasta, the pizzeria is home to a generous number of offerings.
Cautious diners will appreciate the low-fat and gluten-free fare at Stephano's Pizzeria.
Be sure to check out Stephano's Pizzeria's outdoor seating when the climate is right.
Impress the diners at your next gathering by calling in Stephano's Pizzeria for catering.
This pizzeria offers you the ultimate convenience — in-store seating, carryout, or delivery.
Stephano's Pizzeria is located in a prime area for those who wish to park in lots.
Stephano's Pizzeria's mid-priced fare will typically cost you about $30 per person or less.
If pizza is your all-time favorite, it's important to find a pie that's worth your while. With star-studded reviews and sky-high ratings, there's no better way to spend your time than eating some 'za at Stephano's Pizzeria.
With a pizza from Stephano's Pizzeria, you'll truly maximize your night's amount of fun.
If you're the type who loves meat roasting on a spit (and seasoned to perfection), the gyros at Lansing's Johnny K's Patios Gyros Carry will make you a perfect meal.
Bring the whole family to this restaurant, where kiddos are welcomed with open arms.
Warm weather brings out Johnny K's Patios Gyros Carry's highly coveted patio seating.
Johnny K's Patios Gyros Carry does not take reservations, so plan accordingly.
Johnny K's Patios Gyros Carry is known for serving great food, and they are able to serve it at your next event with their excellent catering.
Grab your food and chow down when you're ready with the restaurant's carryout and delivery options.
Parking can be a pain in the neck, but it's as available as ever near the restaurant.
For those who travel by bike, Johnny K's Patios Gyros Carry offers bike racks for diners.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all available at Johnny K's Patios Gyros Carry — swing by for your favorite meal.
Some say there is no better food than a gyro. Come on in to Johnny K's Patios Gyros Carry to get one.
If you have a hankering for gumbo or jambalaya, Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop is the perfect place to chow down on some spicy Cajun fare.
Complement your meal with a beer or wine from this restaurant's delightful drink menu.
At this restaurant, kids of all ages are welcome.
You won't be able to make a reservation at Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop — make sure to plan accordingly.
The dress code at Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop is as relaxed as the ambience, so wear whatever suits you.
Just through the door at this restaurant, you can claim your food. No delivery required.
That's right! Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop will bring their delicious food to your house for any occasion.
Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop is located near endless free parking options.
Head on over to Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening — Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Spice up your lunch hour with a delicious Cajun dish from the highly-rated Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop.
The tacos are top-tier and the burritos are nothing short of amazing at Margarita's Restaurant — sift through five-star reviews or just head on over to find out more about this Mexican menu.
Don't go thirsty during dinner! This restaurant also offers a splendid drink list featuring wine, beer, and more.
Outdoor seating is ready for diners on those warm summer days.
If you need to get somewhere fast, the restaurant also serves up grub to go.
Bring the Margarita's Restaurant's great food to your place.
Worried about finding parking? Don't fret! Margarita's Restaurant is located near plenty of options.
If cycling is more your speed, you'll find plenty of space to stash your bike outside the restaurant.
Experience the flavorful traditions of Mexican cooking at the highly-rated Margarita's Restaurant.
So treat yourself to something new for lunch or dinner and taste the trends of Mexico at Margarita's Restaurant.
Pop over to Waldo Cooney's Pizza for some hop (and highly-acclaimed) 'za, and find out what everyone's been raving about.
Specializing in gluten-free and low-fat fare, Waldo Cooney's Pizza has something that every stomach will enjoy.
You might have thought your order was a tough decision, but you still have one more. Delivery or carryout?
Impress the patrons at your next gathering by calling in Waldo Cooney's Pizza for catering.
Parking has never been easier at Waldo Cooney's Pizza, a restaurant located near a variety of parking selections.
No matter what you choose off the menu at Waldo Cooney's Pizza, you won't completely break the bank with prices averaging around $30.
Everyone's talking about Waldo Cooney's Pizza. Find out why when you treat yourself to a delicious pizza pie.
Waldo Cooney's Pizza serves up hot and fresh pizzas, so head on over today and enjoy a tasty slice of paradise.
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.