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Mother's Day Weekend with a non-Foodie. Help!

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My mum and I are going to be in Chicago 8 May- 10 May. I'm a foodie -- she's not. So, I'm having a hard time balancing our food selections. And, I've searched this board, and the options are just overwhelming...but again, finding a happy medium is difficult.

Hoping you can help!

We're looking for suggestions for:

-Friday night casual dinner ($10-15 pp)
-Saturday lunch ($10-15 pp)
-Saturday dinner (This can be $75+ - we're willing to go expensive here.)
-Sunday Brunch

Some info....

-We'll be staying at the Ritz downtown.
-We don't have a car, and would like to keep meals close by to our hotel.
-Basic, upscale American cuisine or some ethnic is welcome (Mexican, Italian, Greek...no Sushi, Tapas or Indian). Remember, non foodie mum so Alinea and the lot are out. :(

Help! Thanks!!

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  1. Friday dinner:
    -------------------

    Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is a good option, and one of the only nearby dinner options in the $10-15/pp range. Just a few blocks from the Ritz, you can get single-crust "pizza in the pan" at Pizano's on State ( www.pizanoschicago.com ) or Gino's East on Superior ( www.ginoseast.com ), or double-crust "stuffed" pizza at Giordano's on Rush ( www.giordanos.com ). Call ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake.

    Saturday lunch - two options:
    ---------------------------------------

    1. Italian food at Cafe Spiaggia ( www.cafespiaggia.com ), the best mid-priced Italian restaurant in the city, and just a couple blocks from the Ritz. Don't get confused by their website, which shows menus etc for both the moderately-priced Cafe Spiaggia ("CAFE") as well as for Spiaggia, its very expensive sister restaurant next door.

    2. Saturday brunch at Frontera Grill ( www.rickbayless.com/restaurants ), for creative provincial Mexican food. In River North, a 10-15 minute walk from the Ritz. They accept only a limited number of reservations, and keep most of the dining room available for walk-ins; if you don't have an advance reservation, I recommend arriving 15 minutes before they open, so you don't have to wait for a table.

    Saturday dinner:
    ----------------------

    Cafe des Architectes ( www.cafedesarchitectes.com ) in the Sofitel, just a couple blocks from the Ritz. Upscale American cuisine. IMHO this is the very best "casual fine dining" restaurant in the city right now. Read the detailed report I posted about my recent dinner there, at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/598661

    Sunday brunch - 2 options:
    ------------------------------------

    1. David Burke's Primehouse ( www.jameshotels.com/Chicago-Hotel.asp... ) in the James Hotel, about 4-5 blocks away, for their "American dim sum" brunch. Think of this as 20+ items served to order in ~8 courses, with unlimited seconds. A bargain at $35, and all-you-can-drink drinks are $10. Read my detailed report of brunch there a few months ago in the discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/364403

    2. A less expensive option (but where you may need to wait for a table, no reservations) is the Original Pancake House ( www.originalpancakehouse.com ) on East Bellevue Place, 3-4 blocks from the Ritz. Don't miss the huge puffy cinnamony Apple Pancake.

    It's also worth noting that many restaurants make very special arrangements for Mother's Day brunch (and the Cafe in the Ritz will undoubtedly be one of them). It's a bit too early for those to start appearing on special pages on Opentable.com or in an article in Metromix; such listings should appear in late April.

    Finally...
    -----------

    There are some other places in the "cheap eats" category I would also consider for Friday dinner or Saturday lunch, such as going to Chinatown for Chinese, and to Greek Town for Greek food, but you stated you want to stay close to the hotel; those would require a short ride by cab or public transit. If you change your mind about that, you can find Chinatown recommendations at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/594324 and Greek Town recommendations at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/119233

    Enjoy your visit!

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      >> It's also worth noting that many restaurants make very special arrangements for Mother's Day brunch (and the Cafe in the Ritz will undoubtedly be one of them). It's a bit too early for those to start appearing on special pages on Opentable.com or in an article in Metromix; such listings should appear in late April.

      Opentable.com listing: www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m=3&...

      Metromix listing: http://chicago.metromix.com/restauran...

    2. Thanks. I called the hotel and got us booked for brunch there, so we're good.

      Any thoughts on Table 52?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Sharkbait

        I haven't been to Table 52. I know it's difficult to get a reservation there, even more so since Valentine's Day when the President ate there. You can view their menu at www.tablefifty-two.com (I find it's often helpful when comparing restaurants to look at the menus on their websites.)

        Table 52, Cafe des Architectes, and Cafe Spiaggia all accept reservations on the Opentable.com website.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Yeah, I've been on their site and I'm hold with them now! They don't accept reservations for 2 people via Opentable. That sucks!! Fingers crossed. No dice....only 9:30p.

          Right now, it's btwn Cafe des...and Table 52. I think we'll do Spiaggia for lunch, instead.

          1. re: Sharkbait

            Just make sure that if you make a reservation for lunch, it's at Cafe Spiaggia. Cafe Spiaggia is the moderately-priced Italian restaurant which is open for lunch. Spiaggia, its sister restaurant next door, is very expensive and is only open for dinner. I don't mean to nit-pick, just want to make sure you get the right place!

            I loved Cafe des Architectes, and the reviews for Table 52 on this site (e.g. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/433440 ) have been favorable too. As usual with Chicago dining, the problem is too many great choices - but you can't go wrong either way!

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Well, it's going to be MK. I can get a table and it's the perfect balance of foodie and non foodie dishes! It's exactly what I was looking for and my mum is all about it. I'm stoked!

              Thanks, nsxtasy!