Dressing up the traditional sandwich, Bartolini's Restaurant is a go-to lunch spot.
Bartolini's Restaurant serves food that not only tastes great, but is low in fat and gluten-free.
The drink list at this restaurant has everything you need to complete your meal (and your night out).
Youngsters are more than welcome to join mom and dad at this restaurant.
Free wifi is on hand here as well.
For some fresh air during the non-winter months, dine outside on Bartolini's Restaurant's patio.
Bartolini's Restaurant is a prime location to dine with a group.
The restaurant takes reservations, so you can plan your next get-together ahead of time.
Slip into something more comfortable before dining at Bartolini's Restaurant, where dress code calls for business casual.
Catering from Bartolini's Restaurant will take your party to the next level.
No delivery needed. In and out for carryout.
At Bartolini's Restaurant, you can easily find parking in the lot next door.
Bartolini's Restaurant makes bikers feel at ease with the multiple storage racks outside.
At Bartolini's Restaurant, you can pay with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or any other major credit card.
Eat your way through the day at Bartolini's Restaurant — diners can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner here.
So munch and crunch your way through a signature sandwich from Bartolini's Restaurant and enjoy your lunch hour.
See for yourself why Bartolini's Restaurant's Italian food is so highly considered.
Do you hear your stomach growling? Answer the call with a tasty Italian meal from Bartolini's Restaurant.
Go beyond just beans and rice at Midlothian's Mr. Burritos, and fill up on Mexican food that delivers a star-studded performance (according to fans' out-of-this-world, lip-smacking reviews).
Have a few picky young eaters in the family? Not a problem at this restaurant, where the food and ambience are perfect for family dining.
Get to the restaurant early to have your pick of tables — with its no-reservation policy, the place can fill up at busy times.
Show up in sneakers or a suit at Mr. Burritos, where dining in comfort is of utmost importance.
Mr. Burritos prides itself in its delicious catering.
Or, take your food to go.
At Mr. Burritos, drivers can settle for safe parking in the lot next door.
Store your bike safely at one of the main bike racks near Mr. Burritos.
The food here is super budget-friendly, too, with most items costing less than $15.
Whether you're hungry first thing in the morning or prefer to eat a little later, Mr. Burritos is conveniently open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Experience the best flavors of Mexico when you try the highly-rated cuisine at Mr. Burritos.
When you treat yourself to a flavorful Mexican dish from Mr. Burritos, you will leave feeling satisfied and full.
At Hog Wild, you can enjoy a classic American burger or sandwich.
This place will leave you feeling satisfied no matter what kind of dietary needs you have.
Little ones are just as welcome as their parents at this restaurant.
Make a reservation to ensure your night goes according to schedule.
Don't spend time or money shopping for a new dinner outfit
Hog Wild's laid-back vibe accepts jeans, T-shirts, and everything in between.
For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your meal or snack to go.
Complimentary parking is provided in the lot next to Hog Wild.
At Hog Wild, bikers can lock their bikes safely outside.
Whether you're in the mood for AM eggs, a midday salad, or an evening entree, Hog Wild provides service throughout the day.
So when you're on the market for some great American cuisine, check out Hog Wild.
Hog Wild serves up a variety of American eats in a casual setting. Swing by today and munch on some of your favorite dishes.
If you're seeking a highly-rated American restaurant in the area, look no further than Hog Wild.
Home to Chinese favorites like sweet and sour chicken, Gum Wah Restaurant is a quality neighborhood spot where diners are guaranteed A+ entrees.
Gum Wah Restaurant knows how to make gluten-free and low-fat fare taste great, so stop by for a healthy (and flavorful) bite.
Have a large group? No problem. Head to Gum Wah Restaurant for easy seating.
On busy nights, it's best to book a table ahead of time.
Come in or stay home. This restaurant's pickup and delivery options have you covered.
Gum Wah Restaurant is conveniently close to a parking lot.
If you don't want a night that will cost you an arm and a leg but you do want a delicious meal, come to Gum Wah Restaurant.
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Gum Wah Restaurant is a great dining option for any time of day.
For an upscale take on traditional Chinese cuisine, look no further than Gum Wah Restaurant.
So come eat your heart out at Gum Wah Restaurant (your soon-to-be favorite Chinese spot).
Stop by White Castle System after work for a quick burger and fries.
White Castle System features a wide variety of flavorful low-fat and gluten-free eats.
Perfect for an after-work outing, White Castle System won't require you to change outfits before dining as the dress here is super casual.
If you're strapped for time, take out food from this restaurant.
White Castle System is located near endless parking possibilities, allowing drivers to park with ease.
Cyclists are in luck. White Castle System provides bike parking.
Whether you're a party animal or an early riser, the restaurant will be open to serve you 24 hours a day.
So when all you can think about is food, get a delicious burger quickly at White Castle System.
When you're on the hunt for a delicious and affordable fast food restaurant, look no further than White Castle System.
Ken and Dicks Roselands Original, located in Midlothian's Midlothian neighborhood, is a great spot to grab a hot slice.
Ken and Dicks Roselands Original features a wide variety of flavorful low-fat and gluten-free eats.
Large groups will appreciate Ken and Dicks Roselands Original for its ability to seat them quickly.
Catering makes it easier to organize any event, and Ken and Dicks Roselands Original will ensure that it is delicious.
Ken and Dicks Roselands Original's diners can make use of nearby parking lots.
Ken and Dicks Roselands Original may cost you a little bit more than some spots, but this deliciousness is fairly-priced (and well worth the few extra bucks).
There's no doubt about it. Ken and Dicks Roselands Original out-serves its competitors for the best slice of pizza around.
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.