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First Timer In Chicago

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Hounds,

I'm in Chicago for Memorial Day weekend. I'm staying on North Winchester Avenue in what appears to be the north-east part of Chicago between Login Square and Lincoln Park (at least that's what it looks like on Google map).
Please offer some good places, unique or done best in Chicago (or the Midwest) that a New Yorker can go back and tell his friends about.
I'm going to Wrigley on Monday and will sample some of the hot dog places then.
I'm looking for dinner on saturday night and monday night.
Thanks.

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  1. Winchester is a block east of Damen, which is 2000W in our numbering system. Note that in our grid system, a street keeps the same name and location (in this case, about 1950W) even if it stops and starts in discontinuous stretches. It sounds like you're referring to the stretch between North Avenue (1600N) and Webster (2200N). That neighborhood is called Bucktown, and nearby neighborhoods include Wicker Park to the south, Lincoln Park and Old Town to the east, and Logan Square to the west.

    For dining recommendations in Bucktown and Logan Square, see www.chowhound.com/topics/519499

    And for places around Wrigley Field:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/373516

    I think the one "can't miss" specialty in Chicago is our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. There are a lot of places serving great pizza here, and the chains (with the exception of non-downtown locations of Uno's) do quite a good job of maintaining consistent quality across many locations. Take your pick - double-crust "stuffed" pizza from Giordano's, Edwardo's, or Bacino's, or single-crust "pan" pizza from Lou Malnati's, Pizano's, Gino's East, or the original location of Uno's - you can't go wrong with any of these. You can phone your order ahead of time if you want to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake; you can find their menus and locations on their websites. Giordano's is the closest to Wrigley, with a location on Belmont a half mile south of the ballpark.

    We have some wonderful contemporary American, casual fine dining restaurants. IMHO the very best ones in the city include:

    one sixtyblue - www.onesixtyblue.com
    Blackbird - www.blackbirdrestaurant.com
    Aigre Doux - www.aigredouxchicago.com
    Custom House - www.customhouse.cc
    North Pond - www.northpondrestaurant.com

    North Pond, in addition to having wonderful food, has an exquisite setting, too. It's right in the middle of Lincoln Park (the park, not the neighborhood), on the pond (the building used to be the place where people would rent ice skates in winter), with the city skyline as a backdrop at the opposite end of the pond.

    If I had to recommend just one of these places, it would be one sixtyblue for the food, and North Pond for the atmosphere, but there are lots of such excellent places; these are just the very best IMHO.

    Also note that some of these restaurants are closed on Mondays. For recommendations of those open Mondays, see www.chowhound.com/topics/455953

    We also have some excellent Mexican restaurants. Before you start thinking, "Oh, we have those at home", please realize that these feature very creative provincial Mexican cuisine. Take a look at the menus on their websites and you'll see what I mean. Fonda del Mar ( www.fondaonfullerton.com ) is in Logan Square.

    Fox and Obel is worth a mention, too. It's an upscale gourmet grocery store downtown, just a wonderful place to shop for prepared foods as well as basic ingredients. They also have a cafe in the rear that's open day for a meal or a snack. www.fox-obel.com

    There are lots more places, particularly in outlying neighborhoods where you find more ethnic places (Thai, Indian, etc).

    So those would be my first recommendations. You can find more detailed discussions about specific types of food here in these other topics:

    Fine dining:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/368683

    Steakhouses:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/359377

    Seafood:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/370202

    Italian:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/360990

    Pizza:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/327474
    www.chowhound.com/topics/319254

    Thai:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/491970

    Mexican:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/463572

    Greek:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/119233

    Barbecue:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/360674
    www.chowhound.com/topics/453036

    Tapas:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/370492
    www.chowhound.com/topics/366524

    Burgers:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/382781

    Hot dogs:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/364427

    Quintessential Chicago:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/372986

    Brunch and Breakfast:
    www.chowhound.com/topics/364403

    Enjoy your visit!