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Need a 'hound hang near O'Hare

GroovinGourmet Feb 24, 2007 04:47 PM

Hi all...I have 7+ hour layover at O'Hare on my way to Frankfurt, Germany next month. Any suggestions for a cool place to hang? Good chow, good beer and free wifi would be the main criteria.


  1. m
    marilyn9 Mar 5, 2007 01:39 PM

    Thanks SWSIDEJIM, agree it used to be a great place.

    1 Reply
    1. re: marilyn9
      swsidejim Mar 5, 2007 01:42 PM

      well worth the drive down to Blue Island back a few years ago.

    2. m
      marilyn9 Mar 5, 2007 12:05 PM

      Disappointed to hear that H on S has slipped so far down. SWSIDEJIM, any idea if Maple Tree in is still operating?

      1 Reply
      1. re: marilyn9
        swsidejim Mar 5, 2007 12:10 PM

        I used to go to Maple Tree Inn down in Blue Island often a few years ago, and it was one of my favorites. Their gumbo, new orleans shrimp dishes, door stop pork chop, and crab augratin were excellent.

        However I went 2 years ago on my birthday, and left disappointed, I didnt see the owner I had seen in the past, and the menu, and quality seemed to have slipped in my opinion. So I assumed he had sold the place, and I have not returned since.

        Long story short, I am not sure if they are around still, but I cannot bring myself to return if they are still around.

      2. s
        swsidejim Mar 5, 2007 11:57 AM

        I dont like Heaven on Seven either, and I have tried the Wabash location, and the Naperville location both with bad results regarding the food. Not a place I would recommend at all.

        Luckily I have one of the best cajun spots in Northern Illinois about 15 mins from where I live. Its called Ron's Cajun Connection in Utica, Illinois, and the Chef, Cajun Ron is from Louisiana, and makes almost weekly trips back to the bayou to pick up product(crawfish, etc) to bring back with him.

        1. m
          mjpd Mar 5, 2007 10:23 AM

          I think Heaven on Seven is a waste of time and money.

          1. GroovinGourmet Feb 27, 2007 04:16 AM

            Thx abf and nsxtasy.

            Had a fab dinner at Topolobampo my last time in Chitown (been several years), and I'm on somewhat of an expense leash, so if I do head that far in I'll take my chances at Frontera.

            Rosemont I'm somewhat familiar with, but Bucktown/Wicker Park is new to me. Since we are talking March I'm going to try to have both fair and foul-weather plans in place.

            Really appreciate the input...

            1. abf005 Feb 26, 2007 07:46 AM

              If your less enthusiastic about traveling around the town on the el, Rosemont offers several great dining options that are better than the typical airport cuisine and it's a only a 10 min cab ride from the terminals!

              Just to name a few good options:
              Carlucci (would be my 1st choice for Italian),
              Morton's or Gibson's for steak,
              Nick's Fish-market,
              Harry Carry's (American fare),
              Gino's East & Giordano's are also nearby for great deep dish Pizza.

              1. GroovinGourmet Feb 26, 2007 07:16 AM

                Great tips. I was born in Chicago and have visited many a time since then, so tourism is not on the list.

                I'm hoping to get assigned a bunch of mystery shops at O'Hare to help pass the time.

                Never thought about heading all the way into town, but given that I should have over 4 hours after factoring in travel/checkin times that opens things up. Time to go wifi searching, or don't bother with the net and head for Heaven On 7th, assuming they are still around, or maybe Frontera.

                4 Replies
                1. re: GroovinGourmet
                  nsxtasy Feb 26, 2007 07:34 AM

                  Heaven on Seven is still around. The original Wabash location is only open for breakfast and lunch (except one Friday a month) but the one on Rush Street is open for dinner. www.heavenonseven.com

                  Frontera Grill is around, but can be busy if you hit them at the wrong time, with their no-reservation policy. You might be better off at Topolobampo, which - like many restaurants in Chicago - takes reservations on opentable.com www.rickbayless.com/restaurants

                  If I hadn't been here in a while, and if there weren't a particular place I was dying to return to, I'd probably head to Bucktown/Wicker Park, because (a) it's right on the Blue Line before you even get downtown (get off at Damen and walk north), (b) there are lots of great restaurants like Spring, Scylla, Schwa, etc, and (c) it's fun walking around the area before or after eating.

                  A good website for complete restaurant listings, searchable by area, price, meals served, etc, is Metromix, from the Tribune:

                  1. re: nsxtasy
                    swsidejim Mar 5, 2007 11:55 AM

                    I went to Frontera two weeks ago on a Thursday for lunch and they accepted a reservation for 12 oclock when I called at 11 a.m. on my drive into the city.

                    1. re: swsidejim
                      nsxtasy Mar 5, 2007 12:20 PM

                      Thanks for the clarification. You are correct; Frontera Grill does indeed accept reservations, but only on the same day as they are for.

                      1. re: nsxtasy
                        swsidejim Mar 5, 2007 12:23 PM

                        It was my first visit, so I was not sure if they took reservations only for lunch, or if was somethig new.

                        As a side note, I really enjoyed lunch there especially the tequila tasting flights, and the surprise of actually seeing Rick Bayless in person.

                2. j
                  jbw Feb 26, 2007 07:10 AM

                  With 7 hours you could easily take the blue line downtown ($2 each way), particularly if you're already checked through on your flight, and sightsee for several hours. There are many places to grab a bite along the blue line and downtown, but if I had never been to Chicago before, I'd spend most of my time simply walking arond and enjoying the city (so long as the weather is compliant). If a bar and a beer is your preference, however, the Map Room mentioned above is an excellent choice for a layover. One important note: if you do decide to go downtown there is some construction on the blue line, so you now should give yourself an hour each way.

                  1. nsxtasy Feb 25, 2007 02:03 PM

                    The layover may be seven hours, but the airlines recommend checking in two hours in advance for international flights. Five hours is still enough time to travel into the city (either downtown or the neighborhoods) and back for food, tourism, etc. Allow 45 minutes each way by el (subway) between O'Hare and downtown Chicago.

                    1. a
                      Amata Feb 25, 2007 01:49 PM

                      With that much time, you could take the Blue Line of the el to a more interesting neighborhood. You can catch the train right in O'Hare and take it to, for example, the Logan Square stop for a meal at Lula Cafe (emphasis on local ingredients; don't know about wifi there) or to the Western stop and walk a few blocks to the Map Room (excellent beer selection, wifi). No food at the Map Room except on Tuesday nights, but the surrounding neighborhood of Bucktown has a variety of choices, from French bistro to hole-in-the-wall ethnic. Let us know if you want specific suggestions around there.

                      Lula Cafe:

                      Map Room:

                      description of the Map Room:

                      CTA trip planner:

                      1. nsxtasy Feb 24, 2007 05:50 PM

                        The airport terminals have wi-fi but you'll have to pay $6.95 to use it for a day, as described in their brochure:
                        The terminals have a wide variety of food and beverage places, everything from coffeeshop and fast food places to some pretty good sit-down places:
                        It may be worth it to buy a one-day's pass to one of the airline clubs at the airport (e.g. American's Admirals Club). No food, but they've got beer and it's the most comfortable place you'll find to kill time on your laptop. I know they offer internet access, but I don't know whether it's free (I suspect it is though).

                        Another option is the O'Hare Hilton, which is right across the roadway from terminals 1-3 (you can walk across the roadway or use the walkway underneath). They have a nice restaurant (Andiamo) and a sports bar (Sports Edition). The food in the restaurant is quite good (I ate their twice in the past year, once for breakfast and once for lunch) and they are accustomed to people killing time there. The hotel offers wireless but again you might have to pay for it; you would have to contact them for details. More info: http://www1.hilton.com/en_US/hi/hotel/CHIOHHH-Hilton-Chicago-O-Hare-Airport-Illinois/index.do

                        Both of these options are walkable and weather is not an issue. Anywhere else, you will need to deal with ground transportation (shuttle buses or rental car or cab) which can be iffy when catching a flight. If you decide you are less worried about working on your computer and you're willing to set it aside for a nice dinner nearby, and you're willing to leave the immediate airport area, you might consider one of the places mentioned in this topic:

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nsxtasy
                          GroovinGourmet Feb 24, 2007 07:05 PM

                          Thanks for the tips and the links! I'm flying American, so an Admiral's Club pass might be the way to go.

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