WIll be in Morton Grove 3 days, any Recs ?
I'll be staying in Morton Grove over the Labor Day weekend with a group of six.
We will have a van, but would like to limit driving into Chicago.
Can any one make any local recommendations for a few good meals ?
We will also probably be doing one large group meal with about 12 adults, any ideas ?
I'm not sure how much you're looking to spend, or if you want chains or not, but if you drive a few minutes east on Golf Rd., you'll hit Old Orchard mall. They have some of my favorite restaurants (most of which are chains of course, but a whole bunch that make for great meals). For your big group dinner, you might want to go to Billy Berk's; they have a very extensive diverse menu that is backed by fabulous-tasting food. Much of their menu is greek-inspired; I had their lamb burger and it is fantastic! Other restaurants at Old Orchard include: Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen (a personal casual favorite), and The Bagel.
If you like Thai food, and don't mind venturing about 5-10 more minutes down Golf Rd., into Evanston, Cozy Thai is cheap and delicious! It is BYOB for a more casual, fun atmosphere. I highly recommend it! They're located on Davis St., in Evanston.
Hope this helps! I could come up with many more restaurants around the area if you are interested!
The previous recommendations in Old Orchard Center are all good places to eat. (Yes, they're chains, but the food is good; they just aren't all that Chicago-specific.) Here are their websites:
Another place (yes, another chain) in Old Orchard Center is Maggiano's Little Italy, specializing in - surprise! - Italian food (I happen to love their salads). That would be perfect for your large group, since they have a lot of options for serving family style.
Maggiano's Little Italy
175 Old Orchard Shopping Ctr
Skokie, IL 60077
Morton Grove also has Giordano's for "stuffed" (double-crust) pizza. Giordano's is my personal favorite Chicago-style deep-dish pizza! (I like it *much* better than the burnt-crust pizza at Pequod's or Burt's Place, which are also in Morton Grove.) Order ahead if you don't want to wait 30-45 minutes for your pizza to bake.
5990 W. Dempster St.
For Thai food, a new Thai restaurant has opened in Skokie on Church Road a block east of Skokie Blvd, right near Old Orchard Center, which means it's a lot closer than Evanston. It's called Thai Pavilion 2. It's excellent, as good as Thai Sookdee, which is the best Thai restaurant in Evanston (and much better IMHO than Cozy Noodles and Rice, which is the name of the place on Davis Street).
Thai Pavilion 2
4654 Church Street
Skokie IL 60076
For seafood, Morton Grove is very close to:
Mitchell's Fish Market
2601 Navy Blvd.
Glenview IL 60025
If you are interested in something more upscale, and not a chain, here are more recommendations within a town or two of Morton Grove.
The Black Ram is a wonderful restaurant in Des Plaines, just west of Morton Grove. They are primarily a steakhouse but I have had wonderful food there, including the freshest seafood, the best prime rib in town, and delicious (but light) desserts such as their banana bavarian cream.
1414 Oakton St.
Des Plaines, IL 60019
Evanston, just east of Skokie, has three outstanding restaurants specializing in contemporary American cuisine (and, in Oceanique's case, with an emphasis on seafood):
505 Main St.
915 Davis St.
The Stained Glass
1735 Benson Ave.
I've had many dinners at all of these places and they are all excellent, with outstanding food and service.
Morton Grove is not exactly a place known for upscale dining, the places there are typically more blue collar, meaning they are smaller Mom & Pop joints or diners, with most of them being pretty good and worthy of our dining dollars and support. Especially over the numerous chains in the area that appeal mainly to the unwashed masses.
Pizza: the original Pequod's is here on Lincoln, while Giordano's is on Dempster
Chinese: The Palace on Waukegan Rd is a hole in the wall Americanized Cantonese place with great food, but it's my favorite in the area, great $5 lunch special.
Booby's Charcoal Rib, on Oakton (Niles)- great Chicago style fast food.
Hackney's on Harms Road (Glenview) - Famous Pub Burgers
Barnaby's on Caldwell (Niles) - good for large groups, great thin pizza
The Pita Inn - Dempster St, (Skokie) - wonderful Mediterranean, good lunch place
Sanders Restaurant - Touhy Ave (Skokie) - Typical family style restaurant, good soups & breakfasts.
For a better selection of high end places, the Evanston, Wheeling, Edison Park/Park Ridge areas offer quite a few more white tablecloth experiences, but due to your stated limitations on driving I did not offer any picks from these area as options.
>> For a better selection of high end places, the Evanston, Wheeling, Edison Park/Park Ridge areas offer quite a few more white tablecloth experiences, but due to your stated limitations on driving I did not offer any picks from these area as options. <<
I interpreted those limitations - "would like to limit driving into Chicago" - to mean that they don't want to drive into downtown Chicago, but are willing to drive to nearby towns. Perhaps the original poster could clarify?
(I agree with your comment that Morton Grove features mostly blue collar dining, but it is surrounded by nearby towns with a wide variety of restaurants of all types and in all price ranges.)
Thank you, every one for your responses.
To clarify a little:
I just want to avoid driving into Chicago for the sake of avoiding congested/confusing roads.
I am more interested in Chicago specific dining rather than chains or ethnic (Thai/Chinese/Mexican/.....) I live in San Francisco and can get very high quality ethnic food of most varieties here.
You're much better off going to Evanston, less than 10 minutes east.
Jacky's Bistro (French)
Jilly's Cafe (American)
Va Pensiero (Italian)
Chef's Station (American)
That Little Mexican Cafe (Mexican)
Joy Yee's Noodle House (pan- Asian)
Cross Rhodes (Greek)
even Pete Miller Steak or Merle's ribs or Tommy Nevin's Pub
chicgail's recommendations are good ones. Oceanique and Chef's Station, in particular, are consistently better than any place I've been in SF (and I've tried most of the best). I'm not that fond of Joy Yee's - it's okay, but nothing great. Cross Rhodes is good for what it is; think of it as primarily a place for gyros sandwiches rather than a white tablecloth Greek restaurant like the ones in Greek Town in Chicago. And I'll put in another plug for Black Ram (or Pete Miller's - both are excellent) if you like a steakhouse/seafood kind of place. Also, Giordano's for Chicago-style stuffed pizza; since you're looking for "Chicago specific dining", that's the place to go.
One other place I would suggest is Flamingo's, in Mount Prospect, not all that far from Morton Grove. Flamingo's opened recently and specializes in Mexican seafood. The food is NOT something you'll commonly find in San Francisco or even in Chicago (which has a huge Mexican community, with a variety of restaurants). The menu on their website is only a fraction of the full menu in the restaurant. Highly recommended, especially if you're looking for something one-of-a-kind, with delicious food, and not well-known (yet - give them time).
1590 S. Busse Road (just north of Algonquin)
Mt. Prospect, IL
Just to orient you a bit, regarding your comment about congestion... Chicago highways and local streets are at their busiest in the evening rush hours, roughly 3-6 pm. Local streets around Morton Grove generally move fine; the Edens Expressway (I-94) can back up in either direction during rush hour. Still, it moves, so it's nowhere near as bad as much of the congestion around the SF Bay area. From Morton Grove, you should be able to get to Skokie in 5-10 minutes, Evanston and Des Plaines 10-15, Mount Prospect 15-20.
All the suggestions are spot on-- I would just throw out there that The Glen in Glenview is quite close (closer than Evanston or Edison Park or Chicago) and in addition to Mitchells fish already recommended I would say that there is a wide selection of other restaurants right there to try. Teds Bison, a good Japanese place, I dont know them all, but a wide variety.
Just a bit more information about the Glen. Glenview is the next town north of Morton Grove. There was a Naval Air Station there, but it closed a few years ago. They have been in the process of rebuilding on all that land as a planned community called the Glen, with office buildings, townhouses, apartments, single-family homes, etc. They created a retail district about three blocks long in the middle of it, called the Glen Town Center, with shopping and restaurants, as aviva1 notes. There's quite a variety; many of the restaurants are more drinking-oriented places, and many (but not all) are parts of chains. Mitchell's Fish Market is right in the middle, near the control tower from the air force base, which they preserved. Also next to the control tower, and of interest to foodies, is a location selling Bernard Callebaut's chocolates. You can find more information about the Glen Town Center at www.theglentowncenter.com
You might try Marilyn's Restaurant on Dempster, just west of Austin. They've got great food, from breakfast through dinner (not late night). Just east (and a bit north) about a mile is the Bonefish Grill in Skokie (9310 Skokie Blvd.), which is about a quarter of a mile south of the Old Orchard mall. Excellent seafood, cocktails, etc. in an elegant setting. For Thai, there is also Ruby of Siam in Skokie, about two blocks north of Bonefish, or Lai Thai at 7168 Dempster in Morton Grove.