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Oct 15, 2010 06:29 PM

DC Chowhound Spending Four Days in the South Loop

Greetings, Chicago Hounds, from DC!

I'm coming to your city next week for a conference, staying at the Hilton Chicago. I've been cruising the boards and getting really excited about dining options in the South Loop.

I'd like some recs for breakfast places, so I'm not doing the hotel breakfast every day. The Bongo Room is #1 on my list, but any others I should try? Also, we have about an hour break for lunch each day, so any thoughts about close-by and fast options would be appreciated. (Manny's? Do any of your fabulous pizza places do slices or quick lunches? DC is a pizza wasteland, so my experience is limited to dried-out lunch buffets, sigh.)

As far as dinners, I'm leaning toward Mercat a la Planxa for one meal (I'm a big fan of Jose Andres' Jaleo here in DC). I'd appreciate recommendations for places good for solo dining/dining at the bar.

I'm looking to spend no more than $75/day (my per diem!), with alcohol on my own, to give you an idea of price ranges.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Bongo Room
1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

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  1. Hope this isn't too late for you. Bongo Room is #1 for breakfast; other places in the area include Yolk and Little Branch Cafe. The latter is a bit difficult to find but worth it. All three are off Roosevelt/12th.

    Manny's is too far from the hotel if you only have an hour for lunch. Eleven City Diner is fairly close. Your best bet IMHO is to go to Lou Malnati's at 8th and State for deep-dish pizza, and call ahead with your pizza order so it's ready when you get there. Another place to consider for lunch is Hackney's, which has good burgers, French dip (roast beef) sandwiches, and their famous onion loaf.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Alternate to ordering your pizza ahead at Malnatti's, there is a lunch special consisting of individual pizza and your choice of soup/salad. It is served quite quickly and is very reeasonably priced.
      For burgers and the like, I personally prefer SRO over Hackneys. SRO is 1/2 block north of Hackneys on the west side of Dearborn.