Beck's Sports Brewery serves tasty American-style cuisine.
Both low-fat and gluten-free options are available here.
This restaurant's fully stocked bar is a perk for patrons who enjoy a fine wine (or more) with their meal.
At this restaurant, everyone will find something they love — kids included!
Wireless Internet access is available for no charge at Beck's Sports Brewery.
Skip long waits and head to Beck's Sports Brewery with your large group for easy seating.
Beck's Sports Brewery honors a business casual dress code, so formal wear can be left behind.
This restaurant offers carryout for your convenience.
Throwing a big party? Count on Beck's Sports Brewery to provide top-notch catering with the same great dishes you love.
Find a close parking spot on the street or in a parking lot near Beck's Sports Brewery.
For those who prefer to travel by bike, Beck's Sports Brewery is a great option due to its generous bike parking options.
Beck's Sports Brewery s mid-range cuisine will please your pockets as well as your palate.
When you're craving a true American classic, such as a burger and fries, make your way over to Beck's Sports Brewery.
So enjoy a casual dining experience at Beck's Sports Brewery and load up on some classic American dishes.
Craving pizza? Head on over to Independence's Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse for a tasty slice with a crust you can't resist.
Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse is also a good option for those with special dietary needs, offering both low-fat and gluten-free items on the menu.
Order a bottle for the table if you like — this pizzeria has a full bar stocked with the best wine, beer, and more.
Stay in the loop (and online!) by tapping into Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse's free wifi hotspot.
Skip long waits and head to Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse with your large group for easy seating.
It doesn't get much more laid-back than Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse, so dress for comfort when you come.
Can't stay long? Not a problem with the pizzeria's take-out and delivery options.
Catering makes it easier to organize any event, and Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse will ensure that it is delicious.
Both street parking and lot parking are available near Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse.
Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse accepts all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
So for a hot slice of mouthwatering flavor, Bill's Pizza and Smokehouse is the place for you.
With plenty of hearty Italian options, patrons of Brown Bottle Waterloo can enjoy delicious dishes that taste like the real deal.
For pizza or pasta just the way you like it, the restaurant offers quite the selection.
With G-free dishes and fare that's low in fat, you won't feel guilty about dining out at Brown Bottle Waterloo.
Find time to peruse the wine list here — this restaurant offers a variety of drink options.
Brown Bottle Waterloo is ready to help you throw the dinner party of your dreams!
Surf the web from your tablet or laptop on Brown Bottle Waterloo's complimentary wifi.
Want to enjoy this restaurant without the wait? Get it to go.
Street and lot parking is simple near Brown Bottle Waterloo.
For those who prefer to travel by bike, Brown Bottle Waterloo is a great option due to its generous bike parking options.
You can take it easy on your wallet at Brown Bottle Waterloo — prices are generally less than $30 per person.
Reviewers rave about the dinner menu at the restaurant, though breakfast and lunch are also served.
Do you hear your stomach growling? Answer the call with a tasty Italian meal from Brown Bottle Waterloo.
Find all of your favorite traditional American dishes in one place at Applebee's.
Gluten-free and low-fat are not one in the same, but this place serves them both.
Don't go thirsty during dinner! This restaurant also offers a splendid drink list featuring wine, beer, and more.
Applebee's provides a fun vibe with a great happy hour atmosphere.
Stay in the loop (and online!) by tapping into Applebee's' free wifi hotspot.
Applebee's is a great location to host a group dinner.
It tends to get especially busy on weekends, so be sure to call ahead and make a reservation.
Not a popular place for dress-up dining, most Applebee's patrons come in casual attire.
Through their catering service, Applebee's can also set out a delicious spread for your next party.
Can't stay at this restaurant long? Pick up and go home.
Guests can park for free in the adjoining lot.
Applebee's is creating dishes any foodie will love at around $30.
Applebee's happily accepts all major credit cards as a form of payment.
A hearty salad, juicy burger, or classic chicken — all of your favorite American dishes will be made fresh when you head to Applebee's.
Follow the four-leaf clover to Irish Shanti, an Irish watering hole founded in Elgin's Marion neighborhood.
Unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail with your meal — this restaurant has a wonderful selection of drinks to accompany your dinner.
You can tote your laptop here to take advantage of the free wifi.
Gather up your friends, coworkers or family members and head to Irish Shanti for a group meal.
The noise level can often drown out conversation, so make sure your party is prepared to speak up.
Weeknights are often swamped, so plan ahead and make a reservation to avoid the restaurant's rush.
Show up in sneakers or a suit at Irish Shanti, where dining in comfort is of utmost importance.
Irish Shanti prides itself in its delicious catering.
You can also grab your food to go.
The restaurant is next to a parking lot, but drivers can also settle for street parking.
Cyclists will love the spacious bike racks outside of Irish Shanti.
Prices are affordable, with a typical meal running under $30.
Food, beer, and a great time await you at Irish Shanti.
Get your fill of first-class tacos, tamales, enchiladas, and more at Rudy's Tacos, an excellent Mexican spot revered by fans as one of the best.
Pair your entree with a glass of wine or draft beer — this restaurant has a fully-stocked bar to complement your meal.
Take the kids along too — this restaurant is a great spot for families with food that even little ones will love.
Perfect for an after-work outing, Rudy's Tacos won't require you to change outfits before dining as the dress here is super casual.
Want to enjoy this restaurant without the wait? Get it to go.
Drivers will find parking not far from the restaurant.
Rudy's Tacos offers outdoor bike racks for cyclists.
Head on over to Rudy's Tacos first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening — Rudy's Tacos is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For the area's highest rated Mexican cuisine, be sure to check out Rudy's Tacos.
So swing by Rudy's Tacos to get a bite out of your favorite Mexican dish.
Why not make tonight's dinner a Mexican fiesta with a trip to Rudy's Tacos!
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