Dressing up the traditional sandwich, Subway is a go-to lunch spot in Northlake's Northlake district.
At Subway, gluten-free and healthy dining is done right.
Wireless Internet access is available for no charge at Subway.
Subway provides seasonal outdoor seating — be sure to grab a chair before it's too late.
If you're hoping to make a smashing impression at your next soiree, you can also have Subway cater for you.
With food this good, you'll be running into this restaurant to pick it up yourself.
Valet parking near Subway is quick and painless.
When you need great food that is not going to cost an arm and a leg, stop by Subway.
What's your favorite meal of the day? Chow down on breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Subway and taste test your way through the menu.
So check out the amazing selection of sandwiches at Subway today.
Hot dogs never had it so good! The franks at Northlake's Portillo's Hot Dogs are lovingly prepared and topped to perfection.
Portillo's Hot Dogs' low-fat and G-free items make it easy to eat right.
Toast your evening out at this restaurant with a glass of beer or wine from their lengthy drink list.
Bring your whole brood to this restaurant, where families can dig in to tasty and kid-friendly fare together.
For a reasonable charge, take advantage of the restaurant's wifi.
Sit outside at Portillo's Hot Dogs and soak up the sun on those nice summer days.
Portillo's Hot Dogs is a local restaurant that accommodates both large and small groups.
Be prepared to raise your voice, though — the restaurant can get noisy.
Portillo's Hot Dogs doesn't take reservations, so on busy nights you may have to wait a bit.
Whether you're coming from work or a ballgame, the dress code at laid-back Portillo's Hot Dogs is come-as-you-are.
Catering is also available if you'd like to serve Portillo's Hot Dogs' tasty dishes at your next party.
Some say walking is the greatest thing in life. This restaurant knows it's carryout.
Portillo's Hot Dogs offers free parking just steps away from the door.
A meal so cheap, you can almost pay for it with coins, Portillo's Hot Dogs largely serves dishes under the $15 mark.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all available at Portillo's Hot Dogs.
So if you're hungry for an all-American meal, the hot dogs at Portillo's Hot Dogs will be right up your alley.
If cooking isn't on the agenda, the perfect pie awaits you at Perry's Pizza Joynt, where customers praise the pizza like no other.
Gluten-free and low-fat eaters will enjoy the menu at Perry's Pizza Joynt.
Drinks all around! Pair your dinner with a beverage from this pizzeria's full bar.
No need to splurge on a babysitter — tots will be right at home chowing down at this pizzeria.
No need for a wardrobe change when you hit Perry's Pizza Joynt — it's strictly casual.
Impress the visitors at your next gathering by calling in Perry's Pizza Joynt for catering.
If you're more interested in a cozy night at home, this pizzeria also offers delivery and take-out options.
Perry's Pizza Joynt is centrally located near many parking lot options.
Cyclists will love the spacious bike racks outside of Perry's Pizza Joynt.
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 Perry's Pizza Joynt.
Just because Perry's Pizza Joynt is quick and easy doesn't make it any less tasty. For some of the most highly-rated pizza in town, swing on by today.
If you're looking for a relaxed space to enjoy a pizza with friends, be sure to stop in at Perry's Pizza Joynt.
The pizza at Perry's Pizza Joynt is filled with endless flavors, so head on over today and enjoy a slice or two of yummy goodness.
Whether you prefer your meal mild or with a spicy kick, the top-rated Mexican fare at Alejandra's Mexican Cuisine hits a home run with each and every order.
Both low-fat and gluten-free options are available here.
This restaurant also operates a bar, so a round of drinks with dinner is not out of the question.
Take the kids along too — this restaurant is a great spot for families with food that even little ones will love.
Bask in the sun and enjoy a fresh meal outside at Alejandra's Mexican Cuisine.
Don't like waiting to be seated? Make a reservation whether it's just you or the whole group.
Spruce up your look...but not too much! Alejandra's Mexican Cuisine's style is business casual, so formal wear should be left on the hanger.
This restaurant accommodates your schedule. Pick it up yourself or have it delivered to your door.
If you're hoping to make a smashing impression at your next soiree, you can also have Alejandra's Mexican Cuisine cater for you.
Patrons are provided with sufficient parking nearby.
Come experience an amazing array of Mexican dishes when you try the highly-rated Alejandra's Mexican Cuisine.
So kick back and enjoy some delicious Mexican food at Alejandra's Mexican Cuisine.
For tasty fare with a Mexican twist, make your way over to the highly-rated Alejandra's Mexican Cuisine.
Stop by Taqueria Mi Palenque Mexican restaurant for a quick bite.
Whether you have something to celebrate or just need something to take the edge off, the drink menu at this restaurant won't disappoint.
Save money on a sitter — kids are welcome to join the table at this restaurant.
Taqueria Mi Palenque is well-known for being able to seat large parties.
If waiting to be seated isn't your style, plan ahead and make reservations.
Folks tend to dress down at Taqueria Mi Palenque, so keep comfort in mind when heading to the restaurant.
The restaurant also offers catering if you want to bring the flavors of Taqueria Mi Palenque to your next party or event.
Meeting the gang for a movie? Pick up some food from this restaurant.
Drivers will embrace the parking lot located next door to Taqueria Mi Palenque.
Bikers can store their bikes safely while they enjoy a meal at Taqueria Mi Palenque.
What's your favorite meal of the day? Chow down on breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Taqueria Mi Palenque and taste test your way through the menu.
Come enjoy a casual night out with your friends and some Mexican cuisine at Taqueria Mi Palenque.
Taqueria Mi Palenque serves up tasty and innovative Mexico-inspired eats, so head over today and try something new.
What time is it? Time to grab one of American's favorite dishes at The Mad Tapper.
Catch the sports highlights on one of the TVs at The Mad Tapper.
Enjoy the beautiful weather while you chow down — with outdoor seating, The Mad Tapper is a great summer destination.
Wifi is on the house at The Mad Tapper, so bring along your tablet or laptop.
The Mad Tapper also features a DJ and dancing.
The restaurant's "rush" is all weekend long, so diners should be prepared to wait for a table.
Eating requires the perfect environment. This restaurant's pickup and delivery options let you choose where you want to dine.
Hosting a swanky shindig? Call up The Mad Tapper for their catering services.
The Mad Tapper is surrounded by endless parking options.
The Mad Tapper provides ample space for bikers to store their bikes.
You'll typically spend about $30 per person to dine at The Mad Tapper, so plan your budget accordingly.
Whether you're a party animal or an early riser, the restaurant will be open to serve you 24 hours a day.
Stop putting off the best meal of your year and come into The Mad Tapper's restaurant for some good old American favorites!
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.