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Feb 27, 2009 12:22 PM

Good solo breakfast & dinner near State & Rush?

I have a very short stay in Chicago coming up, and I'm looking for tasty & interesting, solo-friendly breakfast and dinner ideas within a 10-15 minute walk of State and Rush streets. Any help much appreciated.

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  1. How far north or south? State Street and Rush Street parallel each other, both running north and south.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Sorry--I meant where they intersect, near E. Bellevue.

      1. re: Organ Leroy

        For breakfast, the choice is obvious, just a few doors down from that intersection:

        Original Pancake House
        22 East Bellevue
        Chicago, Illinois 60611

        Don't miss the apple pancake!

        For a great dinner, there are plenty of places within a 10 minute walk, but Quartino isn't one of them (it's at least 15 minutes away). Here are some that are within a 5 minute walk:

        Hugo's (seafood) -
        Gibson's (steaks) -
        Le Colonial (Vietnamese) -
        Pizano's (deep-dish pizza) -
        Cafe Spiaggia (Italian) -
        Pane Caldo (Italian) -
        Edwardo's (deep-dish pizza) -
        Cafe des Architectes (contemporary American/global) -

        And here are some more within a 10 minute walk:

        Bistro 110 (French bistro) -
        NoMI (haute cuisine) -
        Saloon (steaks) -
        Giordano's (deep-dish pizza) -
        Avenues (haute cuisine) -
        Shanghai Terrace (upscale Chinese) -
        The Lobby (contemporary American) -
        Salpicon (Mexican) -
        Kiki's (French bistro) -
        Cafe Iberico (tapas) -
        MK (contemporary American) -

        I don't normally pay attention to which places are particularly good for a solo diner. However, I've eaten solo at the Lobby in the Peninsula, and the waitstaff was amazingly accommodating and helpful. Avenues, also in the Pen, has a counter with half a dozen barstools in the main dining room facing the kitchen, which would be perfect for a solo diner. I also recently ate at Cafe des Architectes, in the Sofitel, and loved it, and observed that they too were very accommodating towards a solo diner nearby. I think hotel restaurants like these probably have an edge when it comes to serving solo diners, because they are more likely to have their hotel guests as solo customers.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          I agree with the Original Pancake House recommendation. It's not the best of the OPH chain, but it's good enough. (I used to live within a hundred feet of the place and ate there quite often.)

          The apple pancake is great but enormous. There are many other possibilities that offer a variety of textures and flavors. My favorites are the French crepes with strawberries, the Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, and the Forty Niners -- uniquely thin, stretchy, and chewy. The omelets are oven-baked and fluffy; the other egg dishes are cooked carefully; and the meats are high quality. (Good fresh orange juice, too.)

          Chicago has many fine breakfast places, but OPH was always my favorite, especially the flagship of the small Walker Bros. subchain in Wilmette. It's all relatively expensive for breakfast but worth it.

    2. I happen to be very fond of Quartino on State & Ontario - you can eat at the bar (more of a Italian tapas-style meal) or in the dining room. Small plates, lots of variety.

      1. In addition to all good suggestions let me add Big Bowl, informal and inexpensive, Cedar just east of where State and Rush come together. A Lettuce Entertain You restaurant, Pan Asian, delicioius stir-fries, cheerful atmosphere. This is where we take visiting family of all sizes, shapes, and conditions and everybody loves it.