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Jun 2, 2010 10:41 AM

Two Days in Chicago

I am heading to Chicago for two days just have a few questions.

Here's my plan & questions:

Staying at Hard Rock Hotel.

Thurs. lunch -- After doing some research, I was leaning towards Gino's East. After reading through some earlier posts here, that sausage patty pizza sounds amazing.

Thurs. Dinner -- Reservation at Topolobampo. Been wanting to try out Rick Bayless' food for a long time.

Fri. lunch -- Going to Mercadito for a lunch meeting.

Fri. dinner -- Reservation at Alinea.

Sat. breakfast/brunch -- Any recommendations?? Preferably it'd be something near my hotel or en route to the airport. Was reading about Frontera Grill and Xoco, but after Topolobampo and Mercadito, was thinking another direction might be a better call. Any can't-miss breakfast places in town?

Also, I recently read about a company called Glazed Donuts that sells maple bacon donuts. Unfortunately, it seems they don't have a store. Anyone know where I can get one on this Friday or Saturday?? I e-mailed them but haven't heard back.

Thanks in advance!

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Frontera Grill
445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

Gino's East
8725 W Higgins Rd Ste 100, Chicago, IL 60631

108 W. Kinzie, Chicago, IL 60610

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  1. In re: Glazed Donuts

    You might call either New Wave Coffee, Swim Cafe, Bite Cafe, or Green Grocer.

    New Wave Coffee
    2557 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

    1. I like Frontera for lunch more than Topolobompo at dinner. If you sit at the bar, you can order off of the menu for either restaurant. As opposed to a Gino's East pizza, I would recommend dinner at Blackbird. If I didn't go to dinner at Blackbird, i would make sure I went there for lunch.

      I'm not much of a breakfast guy, but people seem to like the Bongo Room quite a bit. Best of luck.

      619 W. Randolph
      Chicago, IL 60661

      Thd Bongo Room
      1470 N Milwaukee Ave
      (between Evergreen Ave & Honore St)
      (773) 489-0690
      (312) 715 0708

      1. For breakfast ideas, start with this discussion, in which the OP was looking for suggestions near the Trump Hotel, which is right across the river from the Hard Rock Hotel:

        River North Breakfast Ideas -

        The closest decent breakfast restaurant near the Hard Rock is probably South Water Kitchen ( ), just a block west of the hotel.

        I'll second deesher's recommendation of Bongo Room, although it's not close. They have two locations, and the South Loop location on Wabash is closer to the Hard Rock Hotel than the Wicker Park location whose address was posted above. The South Loop location is about a mile and a half south of the hotel, either a long walk or a short ride by el, bus, or cab. Bongo Room specializes in creative pancakes with sauces, such as their pretzel pancakes with white chocolate sauce. Here's a tip: a standard portion is three ENORMOUS pancakes, but they also offer one-third and two-third portion sizes at reduced cost, which lets you try more than one dish. The website he/she posted above is still under construction, but you can see their menu at

        Your other plans sound okay. I generally prefer the downtown locations of Pizzeria Uno and Due to Gino's East, and they're equally close to the Hard Rock, but you can go either way. Whichever you choose, keep in mind that you can phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes for your pizza to bake.

        Nice job on scoring a dinner reservation at Topolobampo. They've been running about three months in advance, so I'm guessing if your visit is soon that you made the reservation quite a while ago.

        Enjoy your visit!

        1. Thank you very much for the tips.
          I think I'm going to skip Mercadito and go to Blackbird for lunch instead. I actually saw the Chicago episode of No Reservations and that place looked good.

          I'm going to check out the menus on the other pizza places, but part of the reason I was picking Gino's was that I love sausage and that sausage patty pizza sounds phenomenal.

          Have any of you heard of Manny's Deli? A friend recommended it for breakfast.

          Excited about Topolobampo... a made the res about a month ago and had to settle for a 9:15 sitting (it's ok though... I'll be on pacific time).

          Didn't realize what a food city Chicago is until I started researching. I'm just bummed I don't have more time... I definitely would've loved to hit Moto and stopped someplace for a Chicago hot dog (or red hot or whatever you call them out there). LOL

          Thanks again!

          Moto Restaurant
          945 W Fulton, Chicago, IL 60607

          445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

          108 W. Kinzie, Chicago, IL 60610

          1 Reply
          1. re: VanCosta

            >> Have any of you heard of Manny's Deli? A friend recommended it for breakfast.

            Meh. Manny's Deli is a longtime Jewish deli in the South Loop, not far from Bongo Room. The breakfast menu consists of conventional breakfast foods augmented by deli foods. If you want deli foods as part of your breakfast, or if you want an early breakfast (open 5 a.m.), go to Manny's. But if you want creative, unusual breakfast foods - specifically, pancakes - go to Bongo Room (which opens at 8 during the week, 9 on weekends). You can check out their menus to help you decide; see the link above for Bongo Room, and check Manny's on their website at

            If you're just going to have conventional breakfast foods like eggs, though, there are plenty of places within a few blocks of your hotel; there's no need to go to the South Loop.