Deerfield on a Wednesday night
I'll be in Deerfield on a Wednesday night and am wondering what kind of delicious dining options there are. I'm not looking for a high-end tasting-menu type thing... more good, interesting food in the $30pp without wine range.
I'm open to all sorts of ethnic food or any specialties in the Chicago area (deep dish pizza... is it really up to all the buzz?), but I won't have car so it has to be reasonable to get to from the Courtyard Marriott in Deerfield.
Any suggestions much appreciated!
The Courtyard Marriott is at 800 Lake Cook Road. It's not exactly pedestrian-friendly; it's a suburban area, and Lake Cook Road is a busy multi-lane thoroughfare with lots of corporate offices and commercial properties. And in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, there aren't any restaurants, AFAIK. I'll get to what's walkable in a moment.
If you're willing to take public transportation, you have a couple of options. Numerous routes of the Pace suburban buses run along Lake-Cook; you can find them illustrated on the RTA system map at http://www.rtachicago.com/CMS400Min/uploadedFiles/RTA_May%202008_System_Map.pdf and you can find detailed schedules for individual routes on the Pace website at www.pacebus.com
1/4 mile east of the hotel is a Metra commuter rail station where you can take commuter trains to downtown Chicago as well as other suburbs. See www.metrarail for more information.
On Lake-Cook at the Metra station (same one, i.e. 1/4 mile east of the hotel), there's a good breakfast-lunch type place called Eggshell Cafe ( www.eggshellcafe.net ) and one or two chain restaurants (Bennigan's, I think). Just a bit further east of there, as you approach the intersection with Waukegan Road you'll find a couple of shopping centers, and there are some restaurants in that area. Boston Blackie's ( www.bostonblackies.com ) is in one of them, on the south side of Lake- Cook just a bit past the train station, and is a good place for hamburgers and they also have Carson's great cole slaw there. A few blocks north on Waukegan Road is Carson's itself, for barbecue ribs ( www.ribs.com ); it's maybe a little over half a mile total if you're walking there from your hotel. If you continue east on Lake-Cook Road for another mile or so, there is a large shopping center called Northbrook Court, which has numerous restaurants inside (Di Pescara is an Italian seafood restaurant) and in the outlots. (Obviously at this point you're better off on one of the bus routes - I think the #626 bus is the one that goes all the way from your hotel to the mall.)
So your options within walking distance are extremely limited. (There are other hotels in the Chicago area where there are a lot of options within walking distance, but this isn't one of them.) Public transportation (or a rental car or taxi) will expand those options immensely.
Yes, Chicago deep-dish pizza is wonderful, and you can't get anything like it just about anywhere except around here. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the immediate vicinity of Deerfield that's easily accessible without a car.
First a quick note - I just checked some of the Pace bus schedules, and most of them only run during the commuting hours in the early morning and late afternoon (to shuttle people between the train stations and the corporate offices in the area), so I suspect the buses won't be much help to you. OTOH the Metra commuter trains run on an hourly basis during the day and run into the evening (the schedule for the Lake-Cook station is at http://metrarail.com/Sched/md_n/md_n.shtml ).
The close-by (walkable) places I mentioned above are actually pretty good; there just aren't that many. I've been to Eggshell Cafe and they really do an excellent job on breakfasts; I haven't been there for lunch but the menu looks very good (salads, sandwiches, etc). When I mentioned Boston Blackie's, I should have also mentioned that the burgers are very good; it's a bar and semi-upscale sit-down place (NOT fast food type burgers).
For deep-dish pizza, Gino's East has a location on Lake Cook Road about 3/4 mile west of your hotel. www.ginoseast.com The Northbrook location of Lou Malnati's is carry-out only. www.loumalnatis.com I don't know whether either delivers, but you might call and ask.
Moving on to places to which you can take a cab...
There are a lot of good steakhouses not too far away, Carson's, which I mentioned for barbecue (and is marginally walkable), also has good steaks. I really like Stoney River, for their steaks and also their seafood (great crab cakes!); they have a location at Waukegan Road and Deerfield, the next major east-west road north of Lake-Cook, maybe a mile north. The Palm has a location in Northbrook Court.
PF Chang's (the Chinese chain) has a location outside Northbrook Court.
Prairie Grass Cafe is an excellent place for contemporary American food, maybe 2-3 miles away. www.prairiegrasscafe.com
For seafood, Bonefish Grill has a location in Northbrook. www.bonefishgrill.com
There are a bunch of discussion topics of restaurants in that general area (although most are in nearby towns like Wheeling, Northbrook, and Highland Park, rather than Deerfield itself), including:
I'm sure the folks at the front desk at the Courtyard can also provide suggestions.
The Prairie Grass Cafe turned out to be great. Delicious, simple food. And we managed to go on their fourth anniversary, so everyone got free cupcakes.
FYI, the front desk is useless... all they gave us was a list of nearby restaurants that have some advertising agreement with them. And they hadn't even heard of the Prairie Grass Cafe.
That doesn't surprise me. In all fairness, most hotels know about restaurants in their immediate vicinity, which is what most guests are looking for. PGC, which is in the restaurants along Skokie Blvd next to the Edens Expressway, is too far away to merit a frequent recommendation (or even the awareness of their staff).