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Mar 31, 2009 05:47 AM

lunch on the blue line?

We have a long enough layover (5 hrs) today and want to take the blue line from the airport into Chicago for lunch... something light for traveling (headed across the pond) but also something local! It was suggested to us to go to northern chicago? but we are open to anything that is 1/2 hour on the blue line... suggestions please and thanks....

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  1. The Rosemont stop is the first stop from the airport. From there, you can walk about five minutes north to Giordano's, at River Road and Higgins, for delicious double-crust "stuffed" deep-dish pizza. Phone ahead (847-292-2600) with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake.

    The next stop is Cumberland, where you can walk north to Higgins and Al's #1 Italian Beef.

    If you enjoy barbecue, and particularly if you enjoy dry-rub barbecue with a strong smoky flavor, you'll like Smoque; take the Blue Line to the Irving Park stop and walk two blocks south on Pulaski.

    Or, you can take the Blue Line to the Logan Square stop. Lula offers local/seasonal foods but they are closed on Tuesdays, and today is Tuesday ( ). A few blocks down Milwaukee Avenue from Logan Square, Real Tenochtitlan ( ), serves creative provincial Mexican food.

    All of these are good representations of local specialties, and all are open for lunch (except Lula on Tuesdays).

    Five hours might even be enough time to eat at one of these places, then maybe stop at another for carry-out to take with you on the plane. Don't get Italian beef for carry-out, though, since it needs the accompanying juice and you won't be able to take the liquid through security.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      THanks for the advice! Also wanted to know is Gene and Jude's hotdog stand near the blueline? If not is there one that would be recommended?

      1. re: vafeed

        No, Gene and Jude's ( ) is not near the Blue Line. But it's only about ten minutes by car from O'Hare, so you could always catch a cab. You can also get there via the #331 bus ( ) which you can catch at the Cumberland stop on the Blue Line, but that will eat up some time getting back and forth.

        You can also get Chicago-style hot dogs at Al's Beef, which I mentioned above for Italian beef. That location (1036 Higgins Rd, Park Ridge, IL‎ - 847-825-2345) is also a location for Nancy's Pizza, which serves stuffed pizza. So in one location, you can get three of Chicago's local specialties: Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago-style hot dogs, and stuffed deep-dish pizza! It's less than five minutes walking from the Cumberland stop; walk north on Cumberland to the corner, which is Higgins, and turn left, and it's right there.

    2. If your lunch is on a Saturday or Sunday, you can eat lunch at Fuego, which is a couple of blocks from the Western stop on the Blue Line. They have creative provincial Mexican food and excellent moles. (They're also open for dinner every night except Monday.)

      Also, there are a lot of places in Wicker Park near the Blue Line stations. For recommendations see this topic:

      Wicker Park -

      6 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        My layover is 4.5 hours, so I only have about 2 hours to play with. Is that enough time to take the blue line to smoque or Alls beef?

        1. re: bradford87

          Yes. (Your total travel time in each direction, including walking at both ends and waiting for the train, is likely to be 25-40 minutes.)

          1. re: nsxtasy

            I've read some bad reviews of that location of Al's beef. Do you know if they have cleaned up their act, or should I skip them in favor of Smoque?

            1. re: bradford87

              I can't answer your question about Al's, sorry, as I haven't been there in a while. However, I should also add that it can sometimes take 20-30 minutes in line at Smoque before placing your order, which can be a problem if you're short on time.

              Another possibility is to go to a different place for Italian beef. Portillo's is always good, and they have a location on Dempster Street in Niles that's about 15 minutes from O'Hare by cab. By public transportation it's about a 35-minute ride on the Pace #250 bus ( ) which you can catch at the parking lot E stop on the people-mover (ATS, or Airport Transit System) between terminals at O'Hare.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                my flight gets in at 1 tomorrow, So I should be at Smoque at 2, is there likely to be a line then? How much would a cab be to Portillo's, I would probably bus there and cab back.

                1. re: bradford87

                  I'm just guessing, but it seems to me like 2 pm on a weekday would be an off-hour without long lines at Smoque. But with the holidays and shoppers, I don't know for sure. You could always phone them when you arrive at the airport, and ask them how long the waits are.

                  American Taxi has flat rates to the airports, and charges $22 for a cab from Niles to O'Hare.

      2. Belly Shack is right at the Western stop. It's fantastic.

        1. You guys all know that this was a request from March 31 of 2009 for that day, right?

          2 Replies
          1. re: chicgail

            That was true of the original poster. However, bradford87 is asking further down in the topic because he/she has time between connections at O'Hare on December 23, 2010.

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Guess I missed that.

              Never mind.