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Apr 15, 2008 01:50 PM

3 Days - 4 Choices

My wife and I are coming into town over the upcoming weekend. Arriving on Thursday evening we have picked Topolobampos to begin our culinary journey. For the rest of our time I would like some suggestions. We will be staying at the Westin Chicago River North but are not opposed to traveling in order to have a wonderful meal. I know there have been many suggestions in each of the following categories but I would like each poster to limit their response to only one choice per category. Yes, you have to choose.

3)Chicago Style Pizza - I have heard good things about Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders. Yes I know this is not a traditional Chicago Style Deep Dish, but it definitely sounds like an original. If you thinks it merits as a possible choice then please let me know, if not then give me your best.
4)Chicago Dog Close to Wrigley

Thank you in advance for any and all of of your suggestions.


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  1. 1) Keerfers

    2) ? - I don't go to the big ones mentioned on here. I tend to hit the neighborhood spots which are great but not "excellent"

    3) Pizano's deep dish butter crust with no fancy toppings. I keep it simple.

    4) Huey's Hot Dogs on Clark and Balmoral. It's in Andersonville. You'd have to pass Wrigley to get it but it's a great neighborhood. Take the Clark #22 and get off at Balmoral. Kitty corner from Hamburger Mary's. You can take the #22 back up to the game afterwards.

    1. 1. Gibson's.
      2. Cafe Spiaggia.
      3. Giordano's. FWIW, I do not think much of Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder; although Giordano's is my favorite, I would happily accept any of the big chains rather than CPOG, which is really a novelty more so than a delicious treat.

      1. 1) Joes Seafood, Prime Steaks, and Stone Crab - top notch prime steaks, and fresh in season stone crab claws from Florida. Gibsons is kind of a tourist spot, a see and be seen place more than a steak destination in my humble opinion. Keefers, Sallon, David Burkes, and Joes are top notch food first locations.

        2) Not an Italian Fan

        3) I'd go for CoalFire for pizza(thin crust New Haven Style Pizza cooked in a coal fired oven also BYOB), much better than traditional "Chicago Style" which is for some reason what tourists think Chicagoans eat. Finally avoid the chain Giordano's, they are a chain, and their pizza is terrible

        4) I am not a N. Sider so I dont go near Wrigley

        enjoy your visit

        1. At Spiaggia you'll get world class food for world class prices. If want something a little mosre casual, try Terragusto Cafe ( not too far from WRigley Field. It's a byob neighborhood joint featuring superduper locally produced organizc ingredients, fresh pasta made daily, super authentic etc.

          For dogs, their are lots of places and I can't remember all of them, but one place you surely won't find the best Chicago dogs is Wrigley Field itself.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jbentley4

            Let me second Terragusto, and although I would not take issue with the above overall judgement I wouldn't characterize it as a "neighborhood joint' (or at least not my kind of neighborhood joint.) What I'm trying to say is, if you decide to go there at prime dining hours, you'll probably need to reserve; it's not inexpensive either, altho the quality, particularly of the pastas, is IMO worth the ticket price.

            By the way, if price is not an object you might want to check out Spiaggia, Merlo, Coco Pazza, Follia. There are many, many Italian restaurants in Chicago at many levels, from store front grocery stores to haute cuisine, and it's very difficult to recommend one without knowing the price point and kind of experience you're seeking.

            1. re: jbw

              Price point is not really a concern, we've eaten at many of the "top" restaurants in the country and been disappointed but have also been blown away by some hole in the wall joints that are often some of the best recommendations here. Quality over everything else. However, sometimes quality is hard to quantify. Excellent food is always a must, but genuine, unpretentious, and attentive service is also very high on my list of expectations. Finally, a bustling and lively, but not overly so atmosphere. Not too much to ask right?

            2. re: jbentley4

              > At Spiaggia you'll get world class food for world class prices.

              Just to avoid confusion... There are two different co-owned "sister" Italian restaurants, side by side. Spiaggia is indeed one of the top tables in town, dressy/formal, and priced accordingly. Cafe Spiaggia is the moderately-priced, casual restaurant, serving terrific food, fresh pasta made daily, super authentic, etc. You can peruse the menus for both at

              Incidentally, Giordano's pizza is absolutely superb, a wonderful representation of Chicago's delicious deep-dish pizza in the "stuffed" (double-crust) sub-category (and the very best pizza in Chicago). Like most of our local-based chains (with the notable exception of Uno's), Giordano's does a great job with maintaining the same consistent quality across all their locations. Don't waste your time on thin-crust pizza, which, even at its best, is similar to what you can get in other cities. Our deep-dish is unique to our city; you can read other Chowhound forums where people cry that they can't get it elsewhere. Enjoy the real thing while you're here, whether it's stuffed pizza at Giordano's, or pan pizza at Lou Malnati's et al.

            3. 1. I know it's a chain, but I've always like Ruth's Chris, nothing beats the sound of the butter sizzling on the platter when they bring your steak, otherwise I second Gibson's, potatoes the size of your head.

              2. For an authentic tratorria experience, A Mano below Bin 36. Loved the aged salumis.

              3. It's a hike, but love Baracco's in Evergreen Park. My daughter went to U of Wisconsin in Madison and her friend's begged her to bring back the stuffed after tasting it when they stayed at my house.

              4. Sorry, no Wrigley for me, but for gourmet sausages (and duck fat fries on weekends) absolutely can't beat Hot Doug's near Wrigleyville (sort of), just west of Western Ave. South of Irving Park.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ciesel

                Hot Doug's is at Roscoe (3400 north) and California (2800 west), so it is 1/2 mile west of Western Avenue (2400 west) and 3/4 mile south of Irving Park Road (4000 north). Note that there are no bridges crossing the Chicago River between Belmont (3200 north) and Addison (3600 north).