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May 25, 2001 12:46 PM

A weekend return to Chi-town

  • c

I'm coming back to my chowhound alma mater of Chicago next weekend.

I'd greatly appreciate a few thoughtful, inexpensive, out-of-the-way, only-in-Chicago chow recommendations.

ISO: Gyros, dogs, beefs, Korean, Mexican, Soul food, Eastern European, deep dish, etc.

I'm not looking for anything fancy or chic, and the higher the address number, be it west, north, or south, the better. I'd love to explore some neighborhoods I haven't been to as well.

I don't need Italian food, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Yuppie, Frenchie, or anything else that I could find here in NYC. I've also eaten my way across Skokie, Lincolnwood, and Evanston, so I'd like to avoid those areas this time around. Places such as Cicero and Berwyn are the key to my Italian Beef dreams.

A few of my old faves: Torre's Italian Beef at Diversey and Western, Leo's Lunch Room, the taqueria just south of Division on Ashland (NOT Arandas), the Evanston Chicken Shack, a Korean place near Central Park and Lawrence, Poochies, Superdawg, Don's Coffee Club (I hope it's still around!). I still have yet to sample Gyro nirvana, though I've come close at several spots.

Looking forward to putting on the 5 pounds I usually do during my Chicago visits,


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  1. Chris,

    I too have am a big fan of the evanston chicken shack - but if you are by any chance on the south side you have to go to the source it is based on: Harold's. Awesome. There is a long thread on this on the board. And if you are on the south side, get yourself to Lem's. no contenders best ribs in the city

    Regarding gyros, I can't give you any leads there but I'll attach an interesting link to a web site devoted to chicago area gyros signs

    this list could go on and on and on, but here are a few:

    Korean (n/lincolnwood - koreatown and surroundings)
    a couple places for korean barbecue - no gas grills coals at the table
    Kang Nam Galbi Restaurant - In a strip mall on kedzie just north of Lawrence
    Woo Chon - California just north of Lincoln

    On the Italian Beef front - you have to get to Johnnie's in Elmwood Park on North Ave (just north of River Forest). IMHO best in city - this has been seconded by quite a few on this board as well. Always a line but don't be discouraged, it moves fast.

    Argyle Street Vietnamese Area
    Get a bowl of pho - i like pho hoa, others have suggested pho 777. Sun wah barbecue (chinese) is great, next door is a seafood store with big tanks of live frogs. Thai pastry down the street on sheridan is pretty nice for thai. Pasteur up the street has good vietnamese but may be a little fancier than you are looking for.

    Devon Street Indian
    If you do a search I posted my personal faves in the area a while back.

    Little Village - Rene put up a very nice exhaustive post on this area some time ago

    Hope this helps


    3 Replies
    1. re: zim
      Chris Armstrong

      Thanks, Zim.

      I love the Harolds on 57th Street. But I think the Evanston shack uses better quality birds and the finished product seemed crunchier. No blues bands in the parking lot, though. Where is Lem's? That sounds like an important spot.

      I'll try one of those pho places; things are pretty dismal here in New York right now on the pho front.

      Johnnie's is on my to do list. Mmm... in just 48 hours I'll be eating an Italian beef for the first time in a year!!! And the last time I was in town, Mr. Beef (which I haven't tried) was closed and we had to go to Al's. Yuck. I'd rather have dined at Debevics across the street.


      1. re: Chris Armstrong's has got to have the worst beef in the entire city!!

        1. re: Chris Armstrong

          Mmmmm. Johnnies. OHMYGOD. This is the bestest of the bestest. Zim couldn't be more right. You must have an Italian ice along with it however. Big chunks of lemon. Perfectly cold and sweet to go along with the beef. Good lord I'm getting horny.