Lunch or Dinner near Union Station
I'm taking the Amtrak from Bloomington to Albany and have about about a 5 hour lay-over in Chicago. I'm looking for recommendations for some place or places to try around the general area of Union Station, that won't mind me taking my carry-on bags along. Not looking for anything too expensive or fancy. I generally like most types of food. If you have any suggestions of anything to see or do that will amuse me for a few hours beyond food, I'm happy to hear those too.
Greektown is half a mile west of Union Station and has a wide variety of restaurants from the classy Santorini and Costa's to the popular Greek Islands and Parthenon to the hip Cafe Artopolis. Pan Hellenic Bakery is a good spot to pick up treats frot the train ride, and Greek Orthodox and voodoo items are available at Athens Candle Co. on the corner of Halsted and jackson to propitiate the rail gods.
I agree with the Greektown recs. I would pick Greek Islands for it's extensive menu, vibrant atmosphere, great food, and reasonable prices. Open for lunch and dinner.
200 S. Halsted
Corner of Halsted and Adams
Venus Greek & Cypriot cuisine
820 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Excellent Cypriot (from the island of Cyprus) cuisine at reasonable prices. Open for lunch on Saturdays only.
FYI: Union Station is located in the western part of the financial district. There are a few decent restaurants in the area but are typically a little expensive. Greektown (just west of Union Station/Financial District) is known for high quality food, fun atmosphere, at reasonable prices...due to the competition.
Any place should welcome you and not mind that you have carry-ons.
Greek Town, suggested by others, is reasonably close by, a 5-10 minute walk. The food is decent, if not particularly memorable; much of the attraction is the ambiance, very festive (order the saganaki - opa! opa!). You can read a more extensive discussion of the options in Greek Town in the topic at www.chowhound.com/topics/119233
For authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza, Giordano's has a location at 223 W. Jackson Blvd, which is only 2-3 blocks east of Union Station. (The previous mention of Lou Malnati's is almost a mile away - good pizza, but not particularly close to the train station.) Giordano's serves double-crust "stuffed" pizza and is my personal favorite of all the delicious Chicago deep-dish pizzas. You can phone ahead with your order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes for your pizza to bake. www.giordanos.com
Blackbird is a wonderful restaurant, one of our very best contemporary American restaurants, and it's only about four blocks north of Union Station. It's not inexpensive for dinners, but at lunchtime it's quite reasonable. www.blackbirdrestaurant.com If it's dinnertime, Avec is its sister restaurant (co-owned) next door, and is a less-expensive "small plates" place. Avec does not accept reservations; avoid prime times on weekends, when waiting times are long. They have communal seating. www.avecrestaurant.com
On the other end of the spectrum, Lou Mitchell's is an old fashioned slingin'-hash kind of place, specializing in breakfast and lunches, omelets and sandwiches, that kind of thing. It's been there forever. And it's only a half block from the train station. www.loumitchellsrestaurant.com