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Surprise trip for mom on Saturday-food near Daley Plaza?

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My mother has never been to Chicago and, having just returned from Germany, my husband and I wanted to bring her to Chicago for a surprise birthday visit during the Chicago Christmas Market. We plan to stay out near Midway as it's truly an overnight trip. We will arrive at Midway at 10:15 (Lord willing), and we will proceed downtown via the train.

I have to take her for an italian beef for lunch and Ginos East for dinner. Can anyone advise best location based on proximity to Daley Plaza? Actually, I suspect we will also visit the Mag Mile for a stop at Garrett's and a little window shopping. I imagine we will use taxis for much of the day if necessary since it's supposed to be snowing.

If you have other suggestions for our deep dish fix, I'm open. Thanks so much for any help in making our transit and surprise trip a special one.

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  1. I can help with the pizza recommendation.

    Keep in mind that there are two main kinds of Chicago deep-dish pizza: the single-crust "pan" pizza (Gino's East, Pizano's, Lou Malnati's, Pizano's, Uno's/Due), and the double-crust "stuffed" pizza (Giordano's, Edwardo's, Bacino's). I'll give you recommendations for both kinds, for locations near Daley Plaza and then the Mag Mile.

    Daley Plaza is in front of the Daley Center, on Washington between Clark and Dearborn, in the Loop. The closest place for great pan pizza is Pizano's on Madison, one block south and three blocks east. The closest place for great stuffed pizza is Giordano's at 310 W. Randolph, one block north and four blocks west. Gino's East is not as close; the nearest location is at Ontario and Wells, nine blocks north and two blocks west from Daley Plaza.

    The Mag Mile is the stretch of North Michigan Avenue whose southern end is at the Chicago River (the northeast corner of the Loop) and extends north to Oak Street and the beach. There are plenty of options for great pizza in this area. For pan pizza, Gino's East is on Superior just east of Michigan Ave; the original Uno's and Due are at Ohio and Wabash, a block west of Michigan Ave; and Pizano's is on State, three blocks west of Michigan Ave and a block north of Chicago Ave. For stuffed pizza, Giordano's is on Rush, two blocks west of Michigan Ave and a block south of Chicago Ave; and Bacino's is right at the south end of the Mag Mile on Wacker Drive.

    You mention Garrett Popcorn as being in the Mag Mile area, but I'm not so sure about that. I know they had a shop there (in the 670 N. Michigan building) but I haven't been by there lately and they aren't showing a location at that address on their website at www.garrettpopcorn.com If you need a Garrett fix, like their yummy caramel popcorn (and who doesn't?), you should be aware that Garrett definitely still has several locations in the Loop, near Daley Plaza. The two closest are at 4 E. Madison, one block south and one block east from Daley Plaza, and at 26 W. Randolph, one block north and two blocks east from Daley Plaza.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thank you so much for your very specific and helpful suggestions. I'm definitely going to print this out as a handy resource when we arrive. I'm a little worried about the forecasted snow--hoping we don't have any flight delays, but I'm sure we'll have a wonderful visit upon our arrival!

      1. re: twobluecats

        Apparently Garrett Popcorn must not have that shop at 670 N. Michigan any more, but they have a shop across the street just for the holidays, according to the latest Dish column of Chicago magazine, which says, "Garrett Popcorn, which always becomes more crucial around the holidays, has opened a Holiday Express at 625 North Michigan Avenue. The patron entrance is on Ontario Street".

        1. re: nsxtasy

          The building where Garrett Popcorn used to be on Michigan is being redeveloped with some kind of facadectomy or rebuilding fronting on another condo tower. There was a fair amount of press some months ago on the fights between preservationists wanting the landmarked building kept and the developer arguing that the facade was too far gone to repair.