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Sep 3, 2009 08:31 AM

Avec vs Blackbird question

We will be coming to Chicago at the end of the month. The first two nights we'll be staying at the Marriott O'Hare for a conference. We get in on Thursday at 3, figure we can get to our hotel, check in and be ready to head out for dinner by 5, hopefully.

I didn't realize how easy it was to get on the train and get into the city from where we are staying. Thinking of taking the blue line that evening and having dinner at Avec or Blackbird.
First of all, do you think this idea is doable? I am not familiar with the city at all, nor the transit. Looks like the restaurants aren't far from one of the metro stops.

If so, then my first choice for dinner would be Avec, but I am not sure how long a wait we'd have on a Thursday night, probably around 6 to 7 at night. I can make a reservation at Blackbird and be sure of having a place to dine.

So I guess what I'm asking is, is it feasible to take the train into the city, have dinner and head back without it being a major hassle and two do you think we'd have a 2 hour plus wait at Avec?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. More than logistics, in my mind, the choice is what kind of meal you are looking for. Blackbird is casual fine dining with contemporary American food. The room is sleek, crowd is lively. Avec is a rustic, boisterous wine bar serving Mediterranean influenced food. It is communal seating, and very LOUD.

    That said, hopstop or CTA/Google can map out your transportation. It's the Blue line, and short walk. On a Thursday night at 6 or 7, you are competing with the after work crowd at Avec. I'd say the wait is probably 1 to 1.5 hours. But it just depends, hard to say. Also, the Blue line has been going through a lot of construction. Thursday should be fine, but it would be good to check CTA for any disruptions. Enjoy.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ms. chow

      Thank you for your reply. I've checked the menus at both places, taken the noise level into consideration, read reviews and have decided that we will try Avec. I really want to go there and looking for a casual meal. Plus it would be fun to talk to our dining neighbors to get a feel for Chicago. If we get there and the wait is forever, I'll switch gears.

      Any good deep dish pizza places in that vicinity? We definitely plan to have pizza one night and may wind up having it Thursday and hitting Avec on Sunday instead.

      Looking forward to our trip. Reading these boards has been extremely helpful and also very interesting. My only problem with Chicago dining is that there are so many choices it is hard to decide where to hit on a short trip. But I guess that really isn't a problem is it?

      1. re: KathyH

        If you do need to switch gears, there are a few great options in the immediate area (a block or 2). Meiji is an excellent Japanese restaurant. Sepia or Province are at the caliber of Blackbird. Beyond that, Greektown is also nearby for casual. or the Randolph restaurant strip. De Cero is a great taqueria.

        There is not much deep dish within that vicinity. There's enough discussion here on this board though to read through. If i have to choose, i like Lou Malnati's. if you are planning on pizza night, there might even be options out there by O'Hare.

        1. re: ms. chow

          We will definitely be doing one dinner out by the conference hotel as Friday night the conference has a cocktail hour but no dinner.

          Looking at the Marriott's website and restaurants nearby they list one deep dish pizza place, Giordano's. Any idea how the pizza is? If it's quite good may make that our pizza night and do something else in the city on Sunday.

          Otherwise near the hotel there is a Morton's and a Gibsons which I know will be decent. Also the Ram Restaurant and Brewery. I am sure my husband may want to go there, hopefully I can convice him to go there for lunch while I'm attending the conference as I am sure the food is adequate at best.

          From all my reading seems like there are a lot of great places in the city that have good beer selections along with good food. I figure The Gage fits into that catagory and we might hit there for lunch while visiting Millenium park.


          1. re: KathyH

            Actually, the Ram is pretty decent for burgers, sandwiches and the like. I often go there for lunch since I work in the area. I haven't had much from the dinner menu, but I've traditionally had pretty good luck there.

            For deep dish pizza, you're close to Giordano's and Gino's - I prefer Gino's. If you're willing to drive, you can do much better by going to Lou Malnati's in Elk Grove Village (about a 15-minute drive).

            If you want a place with good food and beer, head to Hopleaf in Andersonville.