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*CHICAGO* Dining for a family - what is representative and classic?

We are coming up for a medical appointment next week and are bringing a relative to care for our other children while we're occupied.

We'll have a couple evenings that we'd like to go out to eat. The kids were raised at the table of good restaurants and are, typically, very respectful diners. That said, we do not appreciate second hand smoke, so little jazzy bluesy places are often out for us.

That said, what is representative of Chicago - in a safe area - good parking that is convenient with five small children.

We're thinking we'll hit SuperDawg at some point just for kicks. :) It looks like a hoot and the girls will love it. (Comparable, perhaps, to Ardy & Eds in Wisconsin).

We love regional foods and consider it as much as a part of our travels as the scenery. Any insight appreciated.

Thanks!

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  1. Ed Debevics - A Chicago institution that kids love. It has kid-friendly food, including the world's smallest hot fudge sundae - my favorite as a kid. The waiters and waitresses are supposed to be rude and give you a hard time as part of the Shtick. The food diner-type food, I don't think I've ever had anything other than a burger and fries.

    Greektown - there are lots of good, moderately-priced restaurants all along Halsted between Randolph and Van Buren. Most have free valet parking. They are loud and bustling and great for large parties. Be sure to order saganaki, the flaming cheese appetizer. My favorite place in Greektown is Parthenon, but there are lots of good options.

    I hope that the medical appointment goes well. Where is it? We might be able to recommend good places nearby.

    1. I second SuzMiCo's suggestion of Greektown. Chinatown would also be perfect.

      In my opinion, Nuevo Leon in Pilsen is another possibility -- very family friendly, and it has a small parking lot. I think in some old thread when I suggested Nuevo Leon others responded that the neighborhood was too dangerous. That hasn't been my experience (we have gone there with our now 6 year old for years). Mexican food is certainly authentically Chicago, these days!

      ChasingChe, where are you all coming from? Perhaps we can suggest types of food that you wouldn't have a chance to enjoy back home. (Korean barbecue, for example?)

      By the way, only bar areas in Chicago restaurants are currently available for smokers, and even the bars are scheduled to become smoke free on January 1.

      1. We're coming up to Shriner's hospital - staying in Oak Brook.

        I saw that Gale Gands has a coffee shop up there, so we're making a side trip to head there.

        We're coming from the St. Louis metro area - where we have lots and lots of good food and lots of diversity. I was also raised in California, so we've eaten just about everything there is to eat.

        Oh - another consideration is our family size - we have five children and will be travelling with a total of three adults. So, sometimes small quaint places prove to be a challenge.

        Thanks for your input thus far.

        1. If you want to skip the trip downtown, both Ed Debevic's and Greek Islands (a Greektown favorite) have locations in Lombard - not far from Oak Brook. I've never been to either of these satellite locations, so I don't know if they are as good, but it's an option.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SuzMiCo

            The Lombard Greek Islands is very convenient to the Oak Brook area and has never disappointed our family. However, I would skip Ed Debevics. The Lombard location just hasn't gotten its act together. Service (although I know it is part of the entertainment) is awful. The food is edible, at best. You're better off driving up north to SuperDawg for a super casual experience.

          2. First of all, hope the medical stuff goes ok.

            Superdawg is a great throwback place with pretty good food as well...not exactly convenient to where you are staying or going but it may be worth the trip.

            Since you are staying in Oak Brook, I'll toss out a few places in the immediate vicinity...thinking kids/family I would immediately think of 2 places -- the first is Portillo's, a Chicago-area chain that does a LOT of things well...italian beef/sausage, hot dogs, burgers, salads, etc. There are a couple of them within a few miles N or W of Oak Brook. The other is pizza...wow, so many to choose from. There is a Giordano's in Oak Brook...great for thin or deep dish/stuffed. My personal favorite would be Home Run Inn in Darien, about 10 minutes from Oak Brook...fantastic thin crust pizza. Another good bet would be Uncle Bub's BBQ in Westmont, about 5 miles away. For more upscale, J Alexander's in Oak Brook and Claim Jumper in Lombard are both good for "American" food...the former a bit nicer the latter extremely family friendly with huge portions. The final suggestion is Weber Grill just W of Oak Brook...nice dining, pretty good steaks and such (better than Outback and Lone Star).