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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 ?

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  1. 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!


    1 Reply
    1. 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.
      Morton Grove

      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
      847-729-FOOD (3663)

      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.

      Black Ram
      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.

      Chef's Station
      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.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Pequod's....great pizza in Morton Grove. On Fernald, I think. Great roadhouse sort of feel! Enjoy.

      2. 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.

        Also nearby:
        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.

        8 Replies
        1. re: abf005

          >> 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.)

          1. re: nsxtasy

            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.

            1. re: kungful

              You're much better off going to Evanston, less than 10 minutes east.
              Jacky's Bistro (French)
              Jilly's Cafe (American)
              Oceanique (Seafood)
              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

              1. re: chicgail

                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).

                Flamingo's Seafood
                1590 S. Busse Road (just north of Algonquin)
                Mt. Prospect, IL
                (847) 364-9988

                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.

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Do they do lunch there? It's really close to my office, and it sounds great.

                  1. re: naperwino

                    I assume the question is about Flamingo's. Yes, they open at 11 a.m. seven days a week and have an equally creative, and less expensive, lunch menu, with lunch specials in the $8-14 range.

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      We had lunch at Flamingo's last week. All the rave reviews don't even begin to describe how wonderful it is!!!! Both food and service are fabulous!

                      1. re: nsxtasy

                        I'm strongly considering checking Flamingo's out tonight....as I'm not a terribly rich person and I see the website doesn't list prices, can anyone give me an idea of what I'm looking at for 2 people with a drink or two? Are they in the Hugo's Frog Bar range or more/less?

          2. 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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: aviva1

              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

            2. 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.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MzKarizzma

                Also in Glenview (Milwaukee Road, easy to get to from MG) you have Periyali,a Greektown-style Greek place in the suburbs.

              2. China Chef on Lincoln is an old-time americanized Chinese spot (I went to HS with the daughter and my parents still go there whenever they're back in the old neighborhood). It's reasonably priced, relatively typical surly service but decent quality for what it is and it's a throwback. We went there weekly when I was growing up in MG.

                China Chef5920 Lincoln Ave, Morton Grove, IL
                Tel: (847) 967-6050

                1. Try El SUeno for Mexican. Very good. See my review later in the blog.

                  ALso have brunch on Sat and Sun

                  1. For pizza - Pequods is my first pick, giordanos on Dempster second and then Eduardos (in Skokie).
                    If interested in breakfast - Walker Brothers on Waukegan in Glenview is terrific, but need to go early to avoid long lines. Kappy's in Morton Grove is another good pancake house.
                    Maggiano's at Old Orchard is good for Italian.
                    The Noodle Cafe in Glenview is great but probably need to make a reservation for dinner. I also like Billy Berk's, mentioned already. .

                    1. Papillion, French, small, was on Check Please, Downtown Skokie (forgot the name of the street), quiet, elegant.

                      1 Reply
                      1. If you are looking to experience CHICAGO food, go to Superdawg. From Morton Grove, just go west on Dempster to Milwaukee Ave (Rte 21) and go left (South) Take Milwaukee Ave. about 4 miles just past Devon. On your left hand side will be world famous Superdawg. It is a drive in. You sit in your car and they bring the food to you in your car. They have burgers, Chicago style dogs, shakes and a few other things. It won't work for your large group, but it is a true Chicago experience and will take you about 10-15 minutes to get there.

                        Also, for a more formal dinner, Chicago is known for its Steakhouses. There is a great one in nearby Rosemont which is where O'hare airport is located. From Morton Grove you would take Dempster west to River Road and go left. Gibson's is right across from the Rosemont Convention Center about 5 miles down on River Road. They have fantastic steaks and that type of food.

                        I f you want Chicago, you need to have pizza, steak or hot dogs. You CAN NOT get a hot dog anywhere else in the world like ours. People advertise Chicago Dogs in other places, but they never compare!

                        1. MG native here. Just got back from a five day visit to Mortgage Grove was back in Dec. as well. It is still the culinary desert of my youth. Was in SF last month and I think I know what you are shooting for. MG is not the ideal location for quintessential "Chicago" food. It is, however, located near some places.

                          When I think of "Chicago" food, I think of deep dish pizza, hot dogs, Italian beef, Polish pork, and soul food.

                          Soul food--I can't think of anything.
                          Italian Beef-- I believe there is an Al's open in Evanston.
                          Eastern European Pork--drive south on Milwaukie Ave- (into Chicago but not the nasty traffic Chicago--and yes the Edens and Kennedy repairs have started and it is NASTY. Pay attention to time of day, Cubs traffic, etc. if you do go into the city) -can't think of the names of some of the places.
                          Barbeque--Hecky's in Evanston. But probably similar to stuff you can get in Oakland.
                          Pizza-- So many wars started over deep dish opinions but in MG there is, in no particular order: Burts, Pequods and Giordanos.
                          Hot dogs and gyros--The Works in Glenview accross the street from MG corner of Washington and Golf.

                          A North Shore institution (there was a scene shot there in "Ordinary People" so it must be an institution) is Walker Bros. Pancakes. There is an outpost north of MG on Waukegan.

                          Good Luck.

                          1. In Glenview, less than 10 minutes from MG is Cafe Lucci located at CentraL & Milwaukee. My favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago area. A slight bit pricier than the usual nice italian place but OH so worth it. Not much for the standards (i.e. pasta with marinara & meatballs) but an interesting and delicious menu.

                            Cafe Lucci
                            609 Milwaukee Ave, Glenview, IL 60025