If cooking isn't on the agenda, the perfect pie awaits you at Old Chicago, where customers praise the pizza like no other.
Cheesy pizza is not the only menu item that will make your mouth water — the pizzeria is known for its pasta, too.
Score low-fat and gluten-free eats at Old Chicago.
Find the perfect vintage to complement your meal — this pizzeria offers a fine selection of wines, beers, and beyond.
Little guys and gals will also love dining at this pizzeria, which offers a family-friendly environment (and menu).
Access the Internet free of charge via Old Chicago's complimentary wifi.
Outdoor dining doesn't get much better than the beautiful patio at Old Chicago.
Your large group can all sit together at Old Chicago.
Be sure to show up for dinner a little early — Old Chicago does not accept reservations.
Perfect for an after-work outing, Old Chicago won't require you to change outfits before dining as the dress here is super casual.
Carry-out is also available for those who prefer to enjoy this pizzeria's cooking from the comfort of their own home.
Drivers can take advantage of the parking lot near Old Chicago and save time on hunting for a parking spot.
Want top-notch taste for less than top-dollar prices? Old Chicago s mid-range cuisine is sure to satisfy on both fronts, where pennies stretch into perfectly seasoned platters.
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 Old Chicago.
Find out how many slices you can eat! Old Chicago's pizza comes with high ratings and a low-key vibe, so take your time enjoying your pie.
For just about the best pizza around in a cool atmosphere, Old Chicago is serving up the right pies for you and your company.
There's no doubt about it. Old Chicago out-serves its competitors for the best slice of pizza around.
Over-the-top ratings make up the menu at Venezia Bar and Grill in Merrillville, and hopeless romantics call this intimate Italian spot one of the tastiest in town.
Venezia Bar and Grill is a jackpot for those looking for low-fat and gluten-free meal options.
Don't go thirsty during dinner! This restaurant also offers a splendid drink list featuring wine, beer, and more.
Have a big celebration coming up? Consider the private room at Venezia Bar and Grill, perfect for large groups of revelers.
Complimentary wifi is available as well.
Warm weather brings out Venezia Bar and Grill's highly coveted patio seating.
Find yourself the best seat in the house by calling ahead to reserve a table.
Venezia Bar and Grill is completely informal — dress as you see fit (and are most comfortable).
You can also have Venezia Bar and Grill cater your next event.
If you're driving, be sure to take advantage of the nearby lot.
Meals at Venezia Bar and Grill are moderately priced — most diners spend about $30 per person.
Dine in for dinner to see what the restaurant is all about, or feel free to swing by for breakfast or lunch.
Looking to share an authentic Italian meal in an unforgettably romantic setting? Be sure to check out Venezia Bar and Grill.
While high-priced, the Italian food at Venezia Bar and Grill is well worth every penny!
So pay the highly-rated Venezia Bar and Grill a visit today and enjoy some tasty and classic Italian dishes.
Don't look any further, head to Venezia Bar and Grill for your next American meal.
For an exceptional menu of American food that is highly-rated by all who try it, call Venezia Bar and Grill today.
Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge does not just make pizza. They serve decadent slices of heaven that anyone who sinks their teeth into rate high on their list.
At Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge, you can enjoy healthy and flavorful menu items.
Don't forget to dip into Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge's fully-stocked bar.
If your Friday or Saturday night plans include a trip to the pizzeria, it's best to reserve a table before heading over.
Save your formal dress for another occasion — a nice top is the perfect fit for Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge's business casual code.
Can't get enough of Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge's tasty dishes? They also offer a catering service for parties and events.
The food is prepared and packaged, just waiting for your pickup.
At Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge, you can safely park just around the corner.
No matter what you choose off the menu at Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge, you won't completely break the bank with prices averaging around $30.
Paying with your major credit card is one payment option at Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge.
Everyone's talking about Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge. Find out why when you treat yourself to a delicious pizza pie.
When you need a quick dinner option for the whole family, stop by Maxim's Restaurant and Lounge and enjoy a hot and fresh pizza.
If you're in the mood for comfort food, enjoy a cheeseburger with a mound of golden fries at burger house Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.
Ordering a gluten-free meal isn't difficult at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.
Unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail with your meal — this burger joint has a wonderful selection of drinks to accompany your dinner.
Take the kids along too — this burger joint is a great spot for families with food that even little ones will love.
At Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, there's no need to confine your meal to a traditional dining room — outdoor seating is available when the weather is warm.
Stay in the loop (and online!) by tapping into Red Robin Gourmet Burgers' free wifi hotspot.
It doesn't get much more laid-back than Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, so dress for comfort when you come.
Or, take your food to go.
In addition to its great location, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is also located near plenty of parking options.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers makes bikers feel at ease with the multiple storage racks outside.
A meal at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers will typically set you back about $30.
So head on over to Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and pick up a delicious burger today.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers takes burgers to a whole new level. Swing by today for a casual and tasty bite to eat.
Mexican-food cravings are easily satisfied at Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy — this popular spot puts a fresh, five-star spin on run-of-the-mill beans and cheese.
With G-free dishes and fare that's low in fat, you won't feel guilty about dining out at Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy.
Gather the whole family for a trip to this restaurant — everyone will find something to like (even the pickiest little eater) on the menu here.
Check email, shop online, or get the latest game scores on Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy's free wifi.
Arrive a little on the early side for your pick of the prime tables — no reservations are accepted at Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy.
The food's ready when you are. Come on in or carry out.
The restaurant is within walking distance to a number of parking options.
Three meals a day are served at Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy, so you can choose to start your day or end your evening here.
Sample some of the highest rated Mexican dishes around when you stop in for a meal at Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy.
Pay Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy a visit and enjoy a relaxing night filled with flavorful Mexican cuisine.
So take a walk on the wild side and discover the flavors and trends of Mexico at Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy.
Hungry for all-American cuisine? Visit Chili's for all of your favorite American dishes.
Give your stomach a break and try some of Chili's' gluten-free or low-fat items.
Enjoy a drink with your dinner — this restaurant has a full bar to serve up a glass of wine, beer, or more.
Having trouble finding that family-friendly restaurant everyone will love? This restaurant serves all ages, so little ones are welcome to come along, too.
Seating is readily available at Chili's for those with large parties.
Free wifi is available as well.
Shake off the stiff workday duds at Chili's — attire is casual.
The restaurant has catering services as well.
Some say walking is the greatest thing in life. This restaurant knows it's carryout.
Parking is plentiful, so visitors can feel free to bring their vehicles.
Bicyclists will also find lots of space to safely lock up their bikes.
You can take it easy on your wallet at Chili's — prices are generally less than $30 per person.
When you have a hunger craving, head over to Chili's and treat yourself to an American classic.
See what great American fare is cooking up next at Chili's.
When you need an American restaurant that is sure to impress, come to the highly-rated Chili's.
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