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Nov 8, 2007 06:41 AM

Chicago - this weekend

My girlfriend and I are visiting Chicago for the first time this weekend and are staying at the Palmer House Hilton.

We both want something fun with good food. Both love trendy restaurants.

From a family recommendation we heard that Rosebud's in Little Italy is a must. Any thoughts on this restaurant?

We need another place for dinner, thinking about Rockit Bar & Grill for something casual.

Also some places for lunch and of course, the traditional deep dish pizza. We plan on doing sight seeing most of the day and will probably stop off and grab a quick lunch somewhere, but if anyone has any ideas for a good lunch spot we are open to any suggestions.

Have penned in Orange on Harrison judging by other recommendations on the board, sounds very interesting and different and can't wait to try it out.

And another thing (and maybe most important), both of us are from Pittsburgh and since our flight doesn't leave until the evening on Sunday, would love to find a Steeler bar to watch the game. I checked the website for Steeler bars across the country and came up with the following bars:

Durkin's Bar on West Diversity Pkwy
Joe's on West Weed Street
The Dark Horse Tap and Grill on North Sheffield

Does anyone know anything about these places, quality of atmosphere/food, proximity to hotel or other sightseeing places, and ease of getting to O'Hare airport from them?

Many thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. Rosebud (which has several locations) is okay but not worth the travel, IMHO, as there are close by places that are better. If you want Italian food, there are two excellent places within a couple of blocks of the Palmer House Hilton: Vivere, in the Italian Village complex ( ) - (I don't recommend the other two restaurants there, but Vivere is excellent) - and Trattoria No. 10 ( ). Two other excellent ones not too far away are Coco Pazzo, in River North ( ) and Cafe Spiaggia, at the far north end of Michigan Avenue ( ). But again, the first two are very close to your hotel and highly recommended. You can find more discussion of Italian restaurants in Chicago at

    Here are a couple more excellent places for casual fine dining. 5-6 blocks from your hotel is Custom House, with acclaimed chef Shawn McClain, casual fine dining with an emphasis on meat. And if you'd like great food in a romantic setting, make a reservation at North Pond, which is in the middle of Lincoln Park (the park, not just the neighborhood), three miles north by cab or bus They have excellent contemporary American cuisine from Chef Bruce Sherman, and the setting at the edge of the pond, with the city skyline looming over the opposite shore, is exquisite.

    For authentic Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, Pizano's on Madison is only a block or two from your hotel and their pizza is excellent. They serve the single-crust "pan" style pizza. There are also good places serving the double-crust "stuffed" pizza in and near the Loop (Giordano's, Bacino's, Edwardo's), but all are 5-6 blocks away from your hotel. Wherever you go, phone ahead with your order to avoid having to wait 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake. You can find more discussion of pizza places in Chicago at and

    Orange is very good for breakfast, 5-6 blocks south of your hotel. Another, closer option is Atwood Cafe, which has an excellent a la carte breakfast as well as good "comfort American food" for lunch and dinner. And the Wabash location of Heaven on Seven is also just a couple blocks away and serves a very good Cajun-style breakfast (starting 8:30) and lunch.

    I haven't been to Rockit but it sounds fun.

    For additional recommendations, see these topics from just the past few days in response to out of town visitors:

    And for recommendations in the immediate vicinity of the Palmer House Hilton, see these topics:


    > Durkin's Bar on West Diversity Pkwy

    The street's name is West Diversey Parkway, but I like your name for it better. ;)

    8 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thank you so much for your response! We will definitely look into the other 2 Italian restaurants, my girlfriend isn't a huge fan of Italian food, but since it was recommended by my family, I think we might have to give the Rosebud a shot.

      With further investigation of some other topics, the Park Grill in Millennium Park interests us both, I believe it was one of your recommendations. Although I doubt the skating rink will be open yet, it will still be a nice break in a great location!

      I've been hearing a lot about the Custom House, and their menu and website looks great, definitely worth checking out, I wish we had more time.

      Do you, or anyone else, know anything of any of the bars I mentioned above? Don't really want to end up in the wrong one, because we will be leaving straight from there to head to O'Hare Airport.

      Thanks again.

      1. re: hamm

        I like Park Grill in Millennium Park. In all honesty, though, you won't go home raving about their food. It's very good, but just not unusually so. I like it partly because of its convenient setting in the park. It makes a great place to do lunch if you're checking out the park (which you should), but it's not really much of a "destination" restaurant. Hope that makes sense.

        I don't know anything about the three bars you mentioned, other than looking up their addresses and being generally familiar with their locations. I don't know how you're planning to get to the airport, cab or public transportation...? For public transit, all three are 2-3 blocks walk from an el station - Durkin's from the Diversey stop on the Brown Line (EDIT - See below, this stop is closed???), Joe's from the North/Clybourn stop on the Red Line (but see below regarding weekend service), and Dark Horse from the Addison stop on the Red Line. If you are taking the el to the airport, you can transfer in the Loop from either of these lines to the Blue Line to O'Hare. The transfer from the Red Line is slightly easier, since both lines are underground at that point, and you can use the underground tunnel between the platforms at the Jackson stop on the two lines. The transfer from the Brown Line requires you to use a card or pass because you actually exit the station above ground at Clark-Lake and walk downstairs to the Blue Line station. More public transit info at

        EDIT: As lbs notes below, they've been running the Red Line on the elevated tracks on weekends lately, due to construction. Which means it really doesn't matter which line you take from the bar, Red Line or Brown Line; either way, you'll be exiting at Clark/Lake and walking downstairs to the Blue Line station. I was on one of these diverted Red Line trains a couple of weeks ago and it turned east after entering the Loop, so Clark/Lake was the first stop after the Merchandise Mart. I assume this also means that you can catch a Red Line train northbound at Adams/Wabash next to the Palmer House Hilton, no need to get a Brown Line train and transfer.

        However, if the Red Line runs elevated over the weekend, this also means that there would be NO service at the North/Clybourn stop near Joe's. That stop is a good half mile from the nearest Brown Line stops, at Armitage and at Sedgwick. So in that case your best bet from North/Clybourn would probably be to walk one more short block east to Halsted and catch the #8 Halsted St bus southbound to Grand Avenue, where you can take the Blue Line to O'Hare. If you have a transit card for your fare you can pay a lower fare as a transfer, rather than paying cash for two separate fares.

        Or, you could just take a cab. ;)

        1. re: nsxtasy

          You're being far too kind to the Park Grill nxstasy. Its really not that good. It was acceptable when I was here with my neice and nephew, but you are better off elsewhere. Just across the street, more or less, is the The Gage - a fun pub with good food that opened recently. A little overpiced, but that's not really a suprise given the location by the park. some complain that its kind of loud, but on my recent visit we had no problem with the noise level.

          BTW, Scotch Eggs at Gage are very tasty!

          1. re: wak

            I have been to Park Grill on a handful of occasions and have very much enjoyed the food on almost every occasion. I am surprised how much I have liked Park Grill because it has "tourist trap" written all over it . . . but it isn't.

            They do a wonderful job of focusing on local ingredients and items from smaller farms. They do a nice job with pork (which always brings a smile to my face) and often game and seafood. The menu is pretty creative and offers many unusual dishes and presentations.

            In any event, while I also like The Gage, Park Grill and The Gage offer very different dining experiences so it really depends upon the desired atmosphere -- Park Grill is more upscale and sophisticated while The Gage is a very upscale pub. Both are very loud.

            Here is a bit more of a detailed writeup I prepared about a year ago: and here's a link to Park Grill's menu:

            1. re: BRB

              Looking at the web site it seems like I ate at the "Park Grill on the Plaza" which is the more casual outdoor cafe area. It was honestly just mediocre, bland, overpriced tourist trap food, but maybe things are better inside. The menu does look better in the main dining area, so I'll reserve judgement until I have the chance to stop by.

              1. re: wak

                You are correct -- they are really two totally different restaurants and dining experiences, although I think the cafe serves a pretty good burger.

        2. re: hamm

          I'm not a fan of Durkins and the last time I was at Joes was about 7 years ago.

          Out of those choices I'd pick the Dark Horse. It's cozy inside and the food is decent for bar food. The bloody mary's can be top notch. Plus, it's near Wrigley Field if you wanted to check that out. If you are at the Palmer House, you can take the Brown line to Belmont. Switch there to a Red Line and get off at Addision. Normally I tell you to take the Red Line all the way, but they are running the Red Line on the elevated tracks this weekend.

          1. re: hamm

            Joe's is very close to the highway leading to O'Hare, but all three are fairly convenient. Stilll, it will save you 10 minutes or so.

            Don't let them scare you away from Rosebud. I've had very good experiences there, although at a different location than you are going to. If they have it, the bone-in filet is pretty special (and pricey).

            Park Grill is just so-so, but you can't beat the location.

        3. Joe's is a Sunday hangout for watching the game for Steelers fans in Chicago. The Chicago Steelers Club gathers there.

          4 Replies
          1. re: swsidejim

            Joes always reminds me of a bad college bar (although I haven't been there in years and years). It kind of reminds me of a Hooters or BW3.

            1. re: rubinow

              I agree,

              however it is a Steelers fans bar on Sunday's where they have the Steelers game on the t.v's , as opposed to a place you might have to ask to have the lowely Bears game switched off with mixed results.

              1. re: swsidejim

                Oh, definitely. I just wanted the OP to get a feel for what type of bar it is.

                I don't know if Joe's would be discussed on this board if it weren't for the fact that it shows the Steelers game.

                1. re: rubinow

                  I agree, Joe's is nothing special food wise at all.

          2. Durkin's is pretty gross. Add to that the fact that the Diversey Brown line stop is closed, then you really have to reason to make the trip. Joe's is a good place to watch games, but it gets pretty packed sometimes.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jesteinf

              Arggh! I forgot about the Diversey stop being closed! Thanks for mentioning it...

            2. Thank you everyone so much for your help.

              I think we've ruled out Durkin's Bar for the Steeler game, probably going to check out the Dark Horse, it sounds like the best place to go.

              We will be sure to report back where we went, what we had, and how it was.

              Thanks again!