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Jul 14, 2010 05:56 PM

mid-week in August with kids and grandparents


My family and i are coming to town for the WSox-Twins series. We are staying at the Holiday Inn Downtown. I would love some suggestions for breakfast and lunch near the hotel and Pier, and good ideas for dinner on the way to the "other" stadium.


Holiday Inn
6161 Grand Ave Lbby 1, Gurnee, IL 60031

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  1. When you refer to the "Holiday Inn Downtown", do you mean the one at the Merchandise Mart (350 West Mart Center Drive) or the one in the South Loop (506 West Harrison Street)?

    There's no real advantage in having dinner on the way to Sox Park. Your best bet is to have dinner around the hotel or wherever you happen to be leaving from.

    6 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      We are staying at the one on the South Loop. We are taking the train down and won't have a car. I'm thinking Orange for breakfast one day??

      1. re: helea

        Orange no longer has a location in the South Loop. (Too bad; their former location on Harrison was just a few steps from the hotel.)

        For breakfast, Bongo Room is excellent, and the Wabash/Roosevelt location is a 5-10 minute walk from the hotel. Bongo Room specializes in unusual pancake dishes, such as their pretzel pancakes with white chocolate caramel sauce. If you enjoy sweeter dishes at breakfast, it's a great choice. Tip: their standard portion consists of three ENORMOUS pancakes, but you can also get one-third and two-thirds portion sizes at reduced cost, for smaller eaters or those who want to try more than one dish.

        Yolk also has a location in the South Loop, a block east of Bongo Room, but it's very conventional, not unusual.

        For lunch and dinner choices near the hotel, see this topic (which was written in response to a question about the Hilton Chicago which is only a couple of blocks from your Holiday Inn):

        Good eats near Hilton Chicago (S. Michigan & E. 8th) -

        By "the Pier", I assume you're asking about places near Navy Pier. Fox & Obel is just a couple of blocks away; it's our premier gourmet food store, with the very best meats, fish, baked goods, prepared foods, etc. You can get pre-made sandwiches and salads for carry-out, or you can go to the cafe in the rear of the store and get anything from a cup of coffee to a complete meal, prepared to order. A couple of other good places are pretty close by: Emilio's Sol y Nieve for tapas, and Coco Pazzo Cafe for Italian food.

        To get to Sox Park, you'll catch the CTA Red Line (the Harrison stop is right at the hotel) south three stops to the Sox/35th station. There really isn't anything great around the ballpark. However, the second stop on the Red Line (the stop before the Cell) is the Cermak/Chinatown station, and there are very good Chinese restaurants just a couple of blocks from that station. If you enjoy spicy Szechuan food, I particularly recommend Double Li; Lao Sze Chuan is also good.

        Feel free to ask more questions, and enjoy your visit!

        1. re: nsxtasy

          As usual, Nsxtasy has some great suggestions, except on where the EL is from your hotel. If you are at 506 W Harrison, then your hotel is about 5 blocks to the west of the Harrison St. Red Line stop. That El stop is at Harrison & State.

          1. re: masha

            Oops, my bad! The hotel is indeed further west from the el stop, by about half a mile.

            To get from the hotel to Sox Park, one option is the walk the half mile east to the Harrison/State el stop on the Red Line. If you don't want to walk that far, the hotel is around the corner from the Clinton stop on the Blue Line; you can go there, take the inbound Blue Line train (marked "To O'Hare") two stops to the Jackson station. When you get off the train, look for the stairs DOWN from the platform to the walkway that connects with the Red Line's Jackson station; then take the Red Line train four stops to Sox/35th.

            The restaurant recommendations in that other topic are also about half a mile further east. Here's one recommendation close to your hotel. For breakfast, Lou Mitchell's is three blocks north of the hotel. It's conventional breakfast fare (eggs, pancakes, etc) and it's been around for many years. It's very popular with commuters, due to its proximity to Union Station.

            Other than that, there's nothing REALLY close to the hotel I would recommend. The places that are east of there (mentioned in that other topic) are still an option, but they would be a longish walk; it's worth it for places like Lou Malnati's in the South Loop, or Bongo Room for breakfast. The hotel is also about a ten minute walk in the opposite direction (west) to Greek Town, with all its Greek restaurants (see for recommendations there). And if you walk 10-15 minutes north, you'll hit the Randolph Street corridor in the West Loop, which has some excellent restaurants, including La Sardine (French bistro), Blackbird (contemporary American), Sepia (contemporary American), and Red Light (pan-Asian). Also ten minutes north of the hotel is our new French Market. Keep in mind that it just opened a couple of months ago, and it's not fancy. However, it has several dozen food booths and these include some of the very best that Chicago has to offer. Highlights include the croissants, entremets, and French macaroons at Vanille Patisserie; the artisan chocolates at Canady Le Chocolatier (whose main shop is in the South Loop, also not far away); the cheeses at Pastoral; and the rainbow cookies at Delightful Pastries.

            Sorry about the error (and thanks for catching it, masha!).

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Thanks so much to both of you! Chicago is lucky to have you!

              1. re: nsxtasy

                For dinner the night of the Sox game, the suggestion of getting off the Red Line in Chinatown is a good one. Alternately, I'd suggest walking the 1/2 mile east towards the various eateries near Harrison & State. Eat at one of them, and then hop on the Red Line south to Sox Park. For example, if you were thinking of sampling Chicago style pizza while in town, dinner at Lou Malnatti's on State Street would work fine. Also, there are a number of casual restaurants in the 600 & 700 block of South Dearborn -- Flaco's Taco's, SRO, Hackneys -- that might be a suitable pre-game dinner.

                For other evenings, Nsxtasy's suggestions of Greektown or restaurants in the West Loop are good. Also, you are not that far from the Little Italy section of Chicago, which is about 1 mile to the west of your hotel. Tuscany and Francesca's are both good Italian restaurants in that neighborhood, if that would be of interest.

                Flaco's Taco's
                725 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60605