Score your next slice at Lou's La Grotto — this Peru joint has pizza-lovers dishing out cream of the crop reviews.
Round out your meal with a little tipple — this pizzeria has a terrific drink list, including beer, wine, and more.
This pizzeria is more than willing to accommodate families, so kids are welcome to tag along.
At Lou's La Grotto, there's no need to confine your meal to a traditional dining room — outdoor seating is available when the weather is warm.
Take note that the pizzeria can get a bit loud, so vocal cords and eardrums should be in tip-top shape.
Don't like waiting to be seated? Make a reservation whether it's just you or the whole group.
Lou's La Grotto's business casual policy makes it the perfect place for a number of occasions.
Through their catering service, Lou's La Grotto can also set out a delicious spread for your next party.
Grab your meal to go at this pizzeria if you're in a hurry — or better yet, have them bring it to you through their delivery service!
Drivers should plan to park on the street when dining at Lou's La Grotto's 5th Street residence.
When times call for a tighter wallet, dine at Lou's La Grotto and keep your budget in check.
Supper is exceptional, though the pizzeria also offers breakfast and lunch.
So who's hungry? The highly-acclaimed pizza at Lou's La Grotto is ready and waiting to be served.
For a low-key yet delicious pizza experience, people can't stop talking about the pies at Lou's La Grotto. Swing by for a quick bite next time pizza's on the agenda.
For mouthwatering pizza in a casual setting, look no further than the highly-rated Lou's La Grotto.
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to Lou's La Grotto and enjoy a slice of yummy pizza pie.
Build your own burger at Mark Allen's American Kitchen — this restaurant serves all-American food.
Drinks are also on the menu here, so visitors can start the night off right.
Little guys and gals will also love dining at this restaurant, which offers a family-friendly environment (and menu).
Free wifi is on hand here as well.
Mark Allen's American Kitchen can provide comfortable seating options for parties of any size.
Mark Allen's American Kitchen is the perfect spot to enjoy a great meal outside (weather permitting).
The restaurant accepts reservations, so you can get around the busy crowd.
No need to dress to the nines here — Mark Allen's American Kitchen's policy is business casual, so guests can dine in comfort.
Short on time? Don't wait for a driver — pick it up yourself.
You can also have Mark Allen's American Kitchen cater your next event.
Drivers can find parking right by the restaurant, so don't forget your car keys.
Make use of the safe and efficient bike parking at Mark Allen's American Kitchen.
Major credit cards are accepted as a form of payment, so patrons are advised to charge responsibly.
You can stop by at almost any time, since Mark Allen's American Kitchen offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The best American dishes are cooked up by the great crew at Mark Allen's American Kitchen, and they're waiting to serve you!
Swing by Mark Allen's American Kitchen today and enjoy a delicious American meal in a casual setting.
So head on over to the highly-rated Mark Allen's American Kitchen for some American eats and see what the buzz is all about.
Whether you prefer sausage, 'roni, or all-around veggie, Pizza Cellar's easy-to-please pizza has fans dishing out top-notch ratings.
Help yourself to a healthier lifestyle at Pizza Cellar, where gluten-free and low-fat plates are the standard.
Beer, wine, and more are also available from this pizzeria's extensive drink list.
Bring the whole family to this pizzeria, where kiddos are welcomed with open arms.
Whether you have a large or small group, Pizza Cellar can accommodate both.
Make plans ahead of time and reserve a table to avoid the wait.
This pizzeria offers convenient carryout and delivery, so diners aren't limited to the pizzeria space.
Pizza Cellar can also cater your next party; call today for details.
Drivers will embrace the number of street and lot parking choices close to Pizza Cellar.
At Pizza Cellar, you can pay with any major credit card.
The pizzeria serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it's the dinner menu that really draws the crowds.
Some people say that if you've had one pizza, you've had them all. Diners who've tried Pizza Cellar's pizza say it is the absolute best.
Just because Pizza Cellar 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.
So kick back, relax, and indulge in one of the tasty signature pizzas that Pizza Cellar has to offer.
Pizza Cellar truly is the best pizza place for your dollar in the area.
Your taste buds are calling for some down home American cooking from Ripp's Tavern.
Ripp's Tavern serves food that not only tastes great, but is low in fat and gluten-free.
Kick back, relax and watch the game on Ripp's Tavern's TV.
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.
Between the music and the crowds, be prepared for a lot of noise at this restaurant.
Crowds tend to pack the place on weekends, so call ahead to reserve a table.
No need to be formal, business casual will pass.
The food's ready when you are. Come on in or carry out.
Bring the Ripp's Tavern's great food to your place.
If parking is a concern, you'll be happy to hear that there are many convenient options in the area.
Store your bike safely at one of the main bike racks near Ripp's Tavern.
Critics award the most brownie points to the restaurant's dinner offerings, but breakfast and lunch are also available.
The next time you're craving a burger and fries, Ripp's Tavern is the place for you.
So for some delicious American fare any time of the day, head to Ripp's Tavern.
So what are you waiting for? Come see what the highly-rated American food at Ripp's Tavern is all about.
Sit down with a simple sandwich or salad — Applebee's caters to those craving an all-American meal.
Applebee's knows how to make gluten-free and low-fat fare taste great, so stop by for a healthy (and flavorful) bite.
This restaurant also provides alcohol, so diners don't have to worry about bringing their own bottle.
Youngsters are more than welcome to join mom and dad at this restaurant.
Applebee's is a great location to host a group dinner.
After-work revelers can fill up Applebee's on weeknights, especially since no reservations are accepted.
The dress code at Applebee's is as relaxed as the ambience, so wear whatever suits you.
Applebee's can also cater your next party; call today for details.
You can also grab your grub to go.
Score parking in the lot adjacent to Applebee's, a local restaurant.
It will typically cost you about $30 to enjoy a meal at Applebee's.
If you're looking to rack up your frequent flyer miles, feel free to pay by major credit card.
Don't look any further, head to Applebee's for your next American meal.
So enjoy a casual dining experience at Applebee's and load up on some classic American dishes.
You deserve an excellent meal, so head on over to Applebee's and enjoy some of the highly-rated American fare.
Bite into Boudin sausage or opt for Andouille instead — Cajun Connection provides plenty of tasty Cajun options right in the middle of North Utica's LaSalle district.
Calling all gluten-free and low-fat diners! Cajun Connection has a multitude of dishes right up your alley that are freshly-prepared and taste amazing.
At this restaurant, kids of all ages are welcome.
Cajun Connection is the perfect spot to enjoy a great meal outside (weather permitting).
Score quick and easy seating for groups of any size at Cajun Connection.
Reserve a table in advance and get seated when you're ready.
Carry-out is also available for those who prefer to enjoy this restaurant's cooking from the comfort of their own home.
Cajun Connection is close to multiple parking options.
Cajun Connection offers parking for all diners, including those who travel by bike.
Lost on where to eat for cheap? Look no further than Cajun Connection, a local hotspot with affordable prices.
If you're more of an evening diner, you're in luck. Though all three meals are served, the restaurant's dinner menu will blow you away.
When you're in the mood for a meal filled with spice, try one of the flavorful Cajun dishes at Cajun Connection.
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of