easter weekend with the family
My family is spending the long Easter weekend in Chicago visiting my college son. That will be my husband, boys aged 15, 18, and 20, and me, mom. We've been there many times and eaten at all the famous places, like Carson's, Frontera, Uno, Sather, Heaven on 7 (my 15 yr old's fave) even Trotter's. We'll be staying somewhere around the tourist hotels on n. Michigan, probably, but will rent a car so we can travel to food. We are looking for affordable neighborhood places where the person cooking the food is probably grandma, mom or dad, not someone who went to chef school; but mom has to be as good a cook as MY mom, and that's really good. We have pretty sophisticated tastes and ethnic is fine (we loved a place we ate on Devon, called maybe Udupi?). We'd like recs. for places to eat, where we won't have to wait for hours. Also, possibly places for fish on Good Friday (can be ethnic) and breakfast/brunch on Easter (last year we ate at house of blues - hated it. too Disney.) Thanx a million!!
We were there last year with our 12/14 year olds and stopped at tje Lincoln Park restaurant outpost (name escapes me) of Lettuce Entertain You Co. (something like H. Grubbs'?). Almost directly across from the Lincoln Park zoo entrance in a very appealing neighborhood, just 10 minutes from downtown. Very Ann Arbor '70's fern bar atmosphere, but in a good way. A gigantic salad bar (they claim to have invented it) wonderful hot and cold sandwiches with great fries. Fresh, high quality ingedients in a cool neighborhood, onstreet parking --and q uick walk to the zoo, which is free. Really a great, fun place with quality casual food and reasonable prices, nice street views, with good, friendly service. Equally appealing to chow-parents and kids with good taste. We'll definitely go back next visit.
That's R.J. Grunts. And a lot of Chicagoans went nuts when he (Richie Melman) was going to close it. (It was his first rest.) There was so much protest he decided to keep it open.
Did you know his dad owned a deli and his start in the business was as a bus boy? He's now a kazillionaire.
Re: brunch. Since it's easter weekend, you're going to need reservations. The Drake does a really nice one. Fancy-schmancy however.
Re: ethnic. If you're going to be renting a car, I'd like to suggest taking a tour of the north side. Around Lincoln and Lawrence (4800 N.) is Lincoln Square which has a lot of cool little shops, an apocathary and there's a nice pastry and coffee shop. A little further west on Lawrence you get into an intresting mix of Korean, Chinese and Tawainese places, groceries, etc. If you haven't been to Aruns I would highly recommend it. It's prix fixe (sp?) but he turns out some of the best food I've EVER had.
Evanston has a lot of funky shops and the cool college 'tude. Might get the boys set on Northwestern. There's good dim sum and several standard places. Many have been mentioned on earlier threads.
By all means, avoid the Michigan Ave. scene. It's expensive and you really can find better stuff outside of the area.
Greektown is fun. Santorini and the Parthenon (S. Halsted and Jackson) are standards also mentioned here on this board.
The Berghoff (Adams and State) is what I would recommend, if you're going to visit the top of Sears Tower.
Once again, at the risk of repeating myself, I'm going to suggest Lou Malnaties in Lincolnwood for deep dish pizza. They've also got Brain Piccalos jersey displayed. There was an earlier furor over Chicago deep dish. But I really think you won't be dissapointed. If you do go to Lous, please report back. I want to be able to say "I told you so." Enjoy your stay. This is a great town.
You might want to try Grota 3112 N. Central (5500 W). They usually have a large buffet on Holidays (every day is buffet day there). It's Polish and very old country. You might be the only family speaking English there and there are large communal tables. The music is usually Euro-techno or occasionally mariachi from the Mexican family baptism celebration going on in the adjacent banquet room where they are eating pierogis.
Also good are the many Polish restaurants on Milwaukee Ave. They will definitely have fish on Good Friday. Especially good is Angelica's next to Wally's Market, about 2900 N. Milwaukee. Happy Eating!
The Lakeview strip of Broadway has a lot of great ethnic restaurants. My favorites are below:
If you like Mexican food, El Mariachi on Broadway near Roscoe is very good, with a authentic Mexican hole-in-the-wall feel. The margaritas are average, but the food is great.
The neighborhood also has great Thai--Joy's Noodle Shop on Broadway near Aldine, or Bamee near Barry.
For great Italian, go to Mia Francesca on Clark near Aldine, but go early as the don't take reservations and are always very busy.
For brunch, go to Jane's--you'll have to look it up, it's in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area, but it's worth the drive.