1st time in Chicago
I will be visiting Chicago for the first time on May 29th thru June 1st. My girlfriend and I are staying in the Lincoln Park area (Clybourn Ave. & W. Cortland St.). We will be going to a Cubs game on Friday, and I am looking forward watching a game at one of the few remaining old ball parks still around. The other thing I am looking forward to enjoying some of the great food Chicago has offer. I need help figuring out what are the must visit places while there. I have listed the types of food or places below.
1. Deep Dish Pizza. I have looked over the DEEP DISH DEBATE thread and there several names that keep coming up; Lou's, Due, Uno's, Gino's, Giordano's, & Lou Malnati's. Which of these is closest to the Lincoln Park area?
2. I really like some of the Greek food that I have tried in Austin. From my understanding Chicago has numerous options for Greek food. What would you consider to be the best place?
3. As simple as this may sound a good Chicago style hotdog. It would be ideal if I could find that at Wrigley, but if the ball park food is anything like most parks the food is usually crap.
4. Last but not least a nice upper scale restaurant that is unique to Chicago. No chains please. Not that some of the high chains do not have good food, but I can get chains just about anywhere. The food type does not really matter as much as the atmosphere.
I appreciate everyone’s advice and I can’t wait to see Chicago.
Let's see how far it goes. I think the sausage is the height of greatness. Big chucks of perfectly seasoned sausage. Here in San Diego where I now live, sausage is best described as rabbit pellet sized bland meat. I get pepperoni (which is never a treat), just because the sausage is so bad. We have great weather, but you have great food, culture, art and architecture--enjoy it!
Have fun in Chicago. I just moved from there after 8 years and miss it a lot. As far as pizza, of the ones you mentioned I like Lou Malnati's best because of the cornmeal crust they have. Also I like Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder (it's just north of Armittage on Clark) but it a very different style of pizza and worth checking out. The lines are very long most days as it's just outside the Zoo.
For Greek food, you obviously have to go to Greek Town, just west of the city. If it's a nice day, I recommend picking one of the restaurants with a rooftop so you can sit outside.
For hotdogs, Weiner Circle up on Clark is fun late night (like after 2 or 3 am) but be prepared to be harrassed and I wouldn't say it's the best hotdog you'll find but a unique experience.
Finally, for a nice restaurant. The person before mentioned North Pond and I agree completely. After living right by it for years, I tried it for the first time last summer and loved it. They have a seasonal menu and use lots of local ingredients. If you are celebrating a special occasion let them know and they will print a special menu for the table and let you take it home as a souvenier. If you go there, you have to make a reservation early to get a table in the front room. The restaurant is located in the Park and has a great view and wine selection. Also, just north near where you are staying there is an Italian restaurant called Merlo (Wrightwood and Lincoln I think) that is very good.
Hope that helps, enjoy your trip!!
>> I like Lou Malnati's best because of the cornmeal crust
I'm not positive (I don't work there or make their pizzas) but I don't think Lou Malnati's has a cornmeal crust. They have an option for a butter crust; maybe that's what you're thinking of? (FWIW, the butter crust sounded great to me, but after eating their pizzas both ways, I prefer the regular crust over the butter crust.) Or, you could be thinking of Gino's East, which has a characteristic yellow-colored crust, although I'm not sure whether or not it actually contains corn meal; the ingredients list on the frozen version at the grocery store mentions artificial coloring but not corn meal.
>> Clybourn Ave. & W. Cortland St
Just FYI, Clybourn runs on a diagonal and Cortland is not a main street. Chicago is laid out on a grid, with 800 house numbers to a mile in most of the city, so you can use that to estimate distances. That location is around 2000N, 1200W. Armitage runs 2000N in most of the city; Racine is 1200W.
>> 1. Deep Dish Pizza. I have looked over the DEEP DISH DEBATE thread and there several names that keep coming up; Lou's, Due, Uno's, Gino's, Giordano's, & Lou Malnati's. Which of these is closest to the Lincoln Park area?
Lou Malnati's, for single-crust "pan" pizza, and Giordano's, for double-crust "stuffed" pizza, are the only two in the neighborhood. Lou Malnati's has a Lincoln Park location at 958 W. Wrightwood, 2600N and 1000W. Giordano's has a location at 1040 W. Belmont, 3200 N. Lou's is closer to Clybourn/Cortland than Giordano's; Giordano's is closer to Wrigley field. In fact, all of these locations are pretty much in one straight line north and south, with Clybourn/Cortland at the south end, Malnati's 3/4 mile north of there, Giordano's 3/4 mile north of Malnati's, and Wrigley Field 1/2 mile north of Giordano's.
BTW, regarding the rest of your list - Lou's and Lou Malnati's are the same thing. Uno's and Due (Due is a second location of Uno's) are located in River North, just north of the Loop, and Gino's East's two locations are in that area as well. Neither Uno's nor Gino's East has any locations in the city north of there.
>> 2. I really like some of the Greek food that I have tried in Austin. From my understanding Chicago has numerous options for Greek food. What would you consider to be the best place?
For recommendations, check out the discussion at www.chowhound.com/topics/119233
>> 3. As simple as this may sound a good Chicago style hotdog. It would be ideal if I could find that at Wrigley, but if the ball park food is anything like most parks the food is usually crap.
For hot dog recommendations, see www.chowhound.com/topics/364427
>> 4. Last but not least a nice upper scale restaurant that is unique to Chicago. No chains please. Not that some of the high chains do not have good food, but I can get chains just about anywhere. The food type does not really matter as much as the atmosphere.
For an in-depth discussion, see www.chowhound.com/topics/368683 If you're looking for the dress-up, expensive splurge type places, places where you'll spend $200-350 per person including alcohol, tax, and tip, you're talking about (in order) Alinea, Everest, Charlie Trotter's, tru, Avenues (new chef), NoMI, moto, and Spiaggia. If you're looking for more casual fine dining places, where you'll spend around $100/pp inclusive, the best (in order, IMHO) are one sixtyblue, North Pond, Blackbird, and Aigre Doux (and there are plenty more beyond that).
Enjoy your visit!
Thank you for the informative reply. I really like the fact that you included the links. Chicago is a very busy board and can be overwhelming to a newcomer like me. The response to my last question is really appreciated. I was thinking in the $100 or so per person and would not want to be surprised by a $700 tab for 2 people.
Sure, no problem. ;)
You can always check menu prices on their websites; most restaurant websites have sample menus and most (but not all) of those show prices on them. For restaurants that don't show prices on their websites, another place you can check prices is the menus on http://chicago.menupages.com
Here are the website links for the upscale restaurants I mentioned in my previous post:
Alinea - Grant Achatz - www.alinearestaurant.com
Everest - Jean Joho - www.everestrestaurant.com
Charlie Trotter's - Charlie Trotter - www.charlietrotter.com/restaurant
Tru - Rick Tramonto - www.trurestaurant.com
Avenues - Curtis Duffy - http://chicago.peninsula.com/pch/dining_01.html
NoMi - Christophe David - www.nomirestaurant.com
moto - Homaro Cantu - www.motorestaurant.com
Spiaggia - Tony Mantuano - www.levyrestaurants.com
one sixtyblue - Martial Noguier - www.onesixtyblue.com
North Pond - Bruce Sherman - www.northpondrestaurant.com
Blackbird - Paul Kahan - www.blackbirdrestaurant.com
Aigre Doux - Mohammed Islam and Malika Ameen - www.aigredouxchicago.com