With a stay at The Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling (North Suburbs), you'll be close to Heritage Park and Sportsman's Country Club. This 4-star hotel is within the vicinity of Raupp Memorial Museum and Trinity International University.
Make yourself at home in one of the 412 air-conditioned rooms featuring plasma televisions. Your room comes with a pillowtop bed. Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature makeup/shaving mirrors and designer toiletries. Conveniences include safes and desks, as well as direct-dial phones with voice mail.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
DonÃât miss out on the many recreational opportunities, including an indoor pool, a spa tub, and a fitness facility. Additional features include wireless Internet access (surcharge), a concierge desk, and gift shops/newsstands.
Enjoy a meal at one of the hotel's dining establishments, which include 3 restaurants and a coffee shop/café. From your room, you can also access 24-hour room service. At the end of the day, relax with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include a 24-hour business center, limo/town car service, and business services. Event facilities at this hotel consist of conference/meeting rooms, small meeting rooms, and a ballroom. Free self parking is available onsite.
Your taste buds are calling for some down home American cooking from Ram Restaurant and Brewery.
Specializing in gluten-free and low-fat fare, Ram Restaurant and Brewery has something that every stomach will enjoy.
Find the perfect vintage to complement your meal — this restaurant offers a fine selection of wines, beers, and beyond.
If you're in need of a booster seat, this restaurant's got you covered. This is a great spot for the whole family.
If you're having a party, no need to stress out about cooking, cleaning or getting tables and chairs, have your party at Ram Restaurant and Brewery instead.
Making it through another workweek call for a drink at Ram Restaurant and Brewery.
Wifi is on the house at Ram Restaurant and Brewery, so you can stay connected on your mobile device.
Between the music and the crowds, Ram Restaurant and Brewery's noise levels can be intense.
Planning a special night? Call ahead to reserve a table.
Ram Restaurant and Brewery wants guests to dine in comfort, so save that stuffy suit for another date.
The restaurant has catering services as well.
The food's ready when you are. Come on in or carry out.
If you're driving, be sure to take advantage of the nearby lot.
Ram Restaurant and Brewery s mid-range cuisine will please your pockets as well as your palate.
The restaurant's dinner menu receives the most attention, but diners have the option of grabbing breakfast or lunch here, too.
Don't put it off any longer, and give Ram Restaurant and Brewery a try.
When you're in need of a casual night out, head to Ram Restaurant and Brewery and enjoy some great American classics.
For highly-rated American cuisine, look no further than Ram Restaurant and Brewery.
Tuscany does pasta right — this restaurant is known for its top-of-the-line Italian recipes.
The menu is loaded with numerous pizza and pasta offerings, so you can catch up on all your favorite carbs.
Low-fat, gluten-free and anything else you've been looking for waits here.
Drinks all around! Pair your dinner with a beverage from this restaurant's full bar.
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.
There's no need to cram the whole gang into a booth — with the private room at Tuscany, you'll find a wonderful option for big groups looking for a place to celebrate.
Wireless Internet access is just a click away at Tuscany.
The patio seating at Tuscany is perfect for those warm summer days.
Reserve a table ahead of time and avoid the lines.
No need to put on airs for a trip to Tuscany — the dress code and ambience at this restaurant are totally laid-back.
Dining out isn't your only option here — pickup is available, too.
You can also serve food from Tuscany at your next party — the restaurant offers catering.
Drivers rejoice! Valet and lot parking is made simple at Tuscany.
Tuscany offers various parking options, including bike parking.
Your tab at Tuscany will usually run to about $30 per guest.
Dinner is the real yum factor here, though breakfast bites and lunch are also featured.
For a lovely Italian night out, look no further than Tuscany.
Feeling some delicious pasta or savory prosciutto tonight? Stop in at Tuscany.
Deka Restaurant: A User’s Guide
Elegant Russian-French Cuisine | Encyclopedic Vodka List | Live Jazz Music | Caviar & Blini
Borscht with beets, cabbage, sour cream, and braised veal
Rack of New Zealand lamb with herbes de provence
Chilean sea bass cooked in parchment with lemon and herbs
Where to Sit: In nice weather, enjoy a cocktail or glass of French wine on the open-air, tree-lined patio.
When to Go: Live jazz musicians serenade diners most Friday and Saturday nights. Make reservations after 7 p.m. on weekends to get a smooth soundtrack to your meal.
While You’re Waiting: Sample selections from one of the largest vodka lists on the North Shore, with over 50 well-known and rare spirits available.
Tartare: raw, finely chopped meat or seafood that is seasoned and shaped into a mound. Steak tartare is usually topped with a raw egg.
Branzino: sometimes called European seabass, this fish is often grilled or roasted to bring out the flavor of its delicate white flesh.
For a satisfying meal that will have you reaching for the olive oil, Saranello's is an Italian restaurant worth trying.
You can't go wrong with pizza or pasta, so take your time sampling the menu from start to finish.
This restaurant also provides alcohol, so diners don't have to worry about bringing their own bottle.
Bring the whole family to this restaurant, where kiddos are welcomed with open arms.
Saranello's is great for big groups, and visitors favor its private room for important events.
Summer meals will taste even better when you enjoy them on Saranello's' gorgeous patio.
Wifi is on the house at Saranello's, so you can stay connected on your mobile device.
Reservations are available for those who prefer to skip the waiting game.
Keep it casual at Saranello's, and save that little black dress for a different occasion.
Saranello's is known for serving great food, and they are able to serve it at your next event with their excellent catering.
Eating on the go? Order some tasty take out from this restaurant.
At Saranello's, you can get in and out quickly with the convenient valet service.
A visit to Saranello's will set you back less than $30 per person, so you can make it a regular part of your schedule.
Critics award the most brownie points to the restaurant's dinner offerings, but breakfast and lunch are also available.
Next time you're in the mood for authentic Italian cooking, remember to try the delicious fare at Saranello's.
Throughout his life, Bob Chinn has refused to sit still. He began his restaurant career on the streets of Chicago at age 14, delivering orders of Chinese food on foot. From those streets, he built a business, eventually opening family restaurants in Evanston and Wilmette. The challenge wasn't enough though, and Bob began planning a concept restaurant: a first-rate seafood restaurant located in the landlocked confines of Wheeling, Illinois. The Zagat-rated eatery skyrocketed to prominence, acclaim, and success, earning the number one spot on Forbes's list of the top-grossing restaurants in the United States and completing phase one of its plan to make crabmeat our new currency.
The menu reads more like a world map than a list of dishes. Alaskan king crab legs, Maine lobster, and Hawaiian ahi tuna represent the disparate domestic choices, appearing alongside exotic possibilities such as Nigerian prawns and stuffed Asian basa. To retain the characteristic flavors of this seafood, the restaurant flies in entire shipments on a daily basis, proudly filling a display board with that day's list of "jet fresh" choices from around the globe. The Reader praised this uncompromising devotion to quality ingredients, calling the fish "exquisitely fresh." To round out the selection, the chefs also stir-fry chicken and grill steaks that have been wet-aged for 3–4 weeks.
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.