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May 8, 2009 09:33 PM

Decent food by Rosemont Stephens Convention center?

I got a small question to the chowhound here. Me and my brother is heading to Rosemont Stephens Convention center for the annual Acen convention and I am wondering is there anything decent but not too overly expensive by that area for dinner? WE stopped by Expoteria and their burger is absolutely horrible, not to mention expensive too. What I want to know is: Is there something that would get us full and not break the wallet? Is there any kind fo buffet around that neighborhood?

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  1. A. will you have a car?
    B. What time will you be looking for dinner at
    C. how much per person?

    1. You're right across the street from Gibson's Steakhouse, one of our best. And while you may not be able to pay $94 for that "big big porterhouse" (LOL!), they're open for lunch, and even at dinner they offer inexpensive options ranging from their bar food ($9 burgers) to moderately priced entrees ($17 pork chop, $22 filet medallions, $12 for a half slab of ribs, $20 a full slab). Check out the menu on their website at This is one of several steakhouses in the vicinity; others include Morton's, Capital Grille, Wildfire, and Rosebud.

      There's also a location of McCormick and Schmick's for seafood just down the street. There's not much else in the immediate vicinity; that area has a lot of big hotels and steakhouses, but not much in the way of "cheap eats".

      You can walk about 3/4 mile north to Giordano's, at River Road and Higgins, for delicious double-crust "stuffed" deep-dish pizza. Phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake.

      You are also only a five minute walk from the Rosemont stop on the CTA Blue Line (that's our elevated subway). From there, you can easily get to some of our better food places.

      By bus, Flamingo's Seafood has spectacular regional Mexican cuisine, emphasizing seafood dishes. This is NOT your conventional Mexican restaurant; check out the menu on their website. At the Rosemont CTA stop, catch the #606 Pace bus (for info, see ) which goes up Algonquin. Get off at Busse Road and Flamingo's is a few doors north.

      Or, you can walk to the Rosemont CTA stop and instead take the Blue Line train towards the city. (For CTA info, see ). The next stop is Cumberland, where you can walk north to Higgins and Al's #1 Italian Beef. That Al's location also has Nancy's Pizza for stuffed pizza. 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. Or, you can take the Blue Line to the Logan Square stop, where you'll find Lula offering local/seasonal foods ( ) and, a few blocks down Milwaukee Avenue, Real Tenochtitlan ( ), another option for creative provincial Mexican food. Of course, the el will also take you to downtown Chicago, where there are many, many places, too many to list; if there is a particular type of food you enjoy, ask!

      5 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Yes we bot a car, but the parkign around these this weekend is horrible . WE roughly want to spend 10-20 a person and we would be dinner at around 6 or something like that. We would also try nto to go too far since we are going back to the show after dinner.

        1. re: Xellosw2099

          Then you can drive to the places I mentioned in my previous post. The closest are Giordano's (just up the street) and Al's Beef (take the expressway inbound to the next exit, for Cumberland, and turn north). The others will take 10-15 minutes by car. Two other good, inexpensive places not too far away (also 10-15 minutes by car) are Elephant Thai ( ) for Thai food, and Red Apple ( ) where you can stuff yourself on an all-you-can-eat buffet of Polish food for around $10. The 6474 N. Milwaukee location of Red Apple is closer to Rosemont.

          1. re: Xellosw2099

            Look into nsxtasy's giordano's rec. They might be ridiculously busy, definitely call ahead. If you are willing to give up your parking spot and drive for 15 minutes, go straight north on des plaines/ river road, there are some really decent options in the town named Des Plaines. If you are willing to do that, then your options expand greatly. If you want to map it, plot the intersection of des plaines (or river road) and northwest highway into a map. If that seems do-able, then report back. Note tht river road which will be your main drag for getting to these places runs about 45 mph along the course you'll be taking and is a really nice not so crowded street. My number one recommendation for you, would be to go to a total dive named Las Asadas for steak tacos. It's right around the major intersection of Rand and River road. There's also a Lalo's which is a Chicago based mexican chain and a decent, but not great, casual sit down place. A tiny bit further north, is a casual Italian joint which has great food at great prices. Really casual, but the food is pretty solid. Arnie Salernos on Kensington and Wolf rd. I'm not sure of the mileage, but if you map it out, and it looks far, I can tell you that it really is a quick drive from the convention center. River rd is pretty quick.

            Las Asadas (steak tacos. Get steak only
            )(On Lee Street in Des PLaines)


            If it all seems like a stretch though, I'd think about giordano's for a stuffed pizza, and a salad. If it's a busy show, then I'd bet that everyone else will be thinking the same thing though.

            There's also a burger joint named Paradise Pup that might be RIGHT up your alley. They have odd times of operation, Give a call if it interests you. Burgers, dogs, shakes, malts, in a littls shack right on river road, but again a 15 min drive N of the convention center. Just do a search for Paradise Pup river road. Their burgers are highly regarded in the Chicagoland area.

            1. re: gordeaux

              Note that there is a lot of construction these days on River Road north of Higgins (mostly Highway 294 construction) and quite a few potholes so heading north on River could take a long time. I can't see getting to Lalo's in less than 15 minutes (and more likely 20).

              One place I forgot to mention is my favorite thin crust pizza place in the area - Barnaby's. River Rd. north, left at Higgins, take Higgins all the way west . . . it will curve and wind around to Touhy. Left at Touhy and Barnaby's is on the right just after the underpass (beware the potholes). It'll take you 10-15 minutes to get there but you can call ahead.

              1. re: BRB

                It's worth noting that traffic in general is very busy if you're leaving the convention center in the evening commuting hours, as you indicate. There are several local "choke points". BRB is exactly correct regarding construction on River Road; I drove through there a week or two ago in the evening rush and it was narrowed down to one lane at one construction point, with a 10-minute backup. The inbound Kennedy (that's the expressway just north of the convention center) has a huge choke point just east of River Road, because traffic merges from all directions down to three lanes. If you want to go to Al's #1 Beef at those hours, you would be better off avoiding the expressway entirely, and instead taking River Road to Higgins, which should flow reasonably well. Even during the evening rush, you should be able to get to Giordano's in 2-3 minutes, Al's Beef via Higgins in 5 minutes, no problem. You may want to plan alternative, non-expressway routes for anything towards the city from Rosemont, or avoid going in that direction entirely.

        2. Unfortunately, there's not a ton great for dinner (or lunch for that matter) in the immediate area of the convention center. But you can get some decent eats.

          On Higgins, just west of River is Ram Brewery & Restaurant - pretty good burgers (I like that they'll cook them to medium rare), sandwiches and more. It's a mini-chain, but the food is pretty decent. It's less than a five minute drive from the convention center. Just head north on River and turn left at Higgins.

          One place I always forget to recommend for a good slice of pizza, a beef sandwich or more is Village Pizzeria in Rosemont. It's almost directly across the street from the Ram. They do an inexpensive lunch buffet of pizza, pasta, sausages, meatballs, calzones, salads, soups, etc - $8.50 including tax and all you can drink soda. Not sure if they do a buffet for dinner, but I don't think so. 847-823-4156 But they are open for dinner. Overall, the food is decent but their thick pizza slices are very good.

          Less than a minute drive south of the convention center (just west of River on Foster) is Marie's Mexican Restaurant. The Mexican fare is pretty standard but it's decent. They do a lunch buffet but I believe only on Thursdays.

          Perhaps the best bet in that area for dinner is Basilico, for Italian food. Here's a link to their website: The atmosphere is very retro, old school but the food is well executed.

          If you're willing to drive a little, you could go to Johnnie's Beef which has a location in Arlington Heights. It's no more than a 15 minute drive from where you are. Drive as if you're going to the Ram, the 90W highway entrance will be on your right past the Ram, exit at Arlington Heights Road and make a right. In my opinion, the best Italian beef sandwich you will find in Chicago (great Italian sausage too).

          And as mentioned, Giordano's is right at the corner of River and Higgins for pizza. If you're looking for a quick slice though, Village would be the better choice unless you call Giordano's in advance.