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chicago hounds - your mission, if you choose to accept it..

ok, so here's the task - find mike and I a place to eat that a) is walkable to our hotel (renaissance blackstone, the loop) b) doesn't require reservations (lord knows, I have committment issues) c) will allow us to possibly sit at the bar and be distracted by the local colour - reduces the stress on the amount of conversation we have to come up with - after 20+ years, this gets more challenging :)...open to all types of food, but have a soft spot for meat of all varieties. In a perfect world, we may strike up a chat with others seated nearby...we will be on a mini-break from toronto and will likely want to drink as well...correction: will definitely want to drink..I am more of a foodie than hubby, he just likes to eat...and will be upset by meager portions. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Mercat a la Planca right in the Blackstone will meet most of your needs. I would make a reservation, however (deal with it), especially if it's a weekend. Good drinks. Excellent tapas with lots of meat options (don't miss the chacuteria plate). While each plate is (relatively) small -- it's tapas after all -- your husband should be able to go home comfortably full. Also I think you can get a seat in the bar.

    Ok. Now try a tough question. ;>)

    2 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      Miller's Pub might be what you"re looking for. Although it's right next door to the Palmer House, it's not touristy;. probably about half of the customers are people who work in the loop.

      http://www.millerspub.com/

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      Miller's Pub
      134 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

      1. re: chicgail

        ok, hubby is spanish and recently back from a tour de tapas in spain..we will certainly drop by for a drink given proximity - but any other ideas in the area would be lovely!

      2. In addition to Miller's Pub, places nearby that may (or may not) meet what you're looking for include the Gage, Custom House Tavern, Hackney's, and Exchequer Pub.

        It sounds like you're looking for a certain kind of place that you're accustomed to back home. If you'd be willing to consider one of Chicago's local specialties instead - "When in Rome" and all that - you can get our delicious deep-dish pizza from the Lou Malnati's location at 8th and State, just a few blocks from the Blackstone.

        Links:
        www.thegagechicago.com
        www.customhouse.cc
        www.hackneysprintersrow.com
        www.exchequerpub.com
        www.loumalnatis.com

        8 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          mmmm deep dish pizza..most definitely on my to-do list!!

          1. re: redhead

            Skip the deep dish. There's far better pizza in Chicago. Castel Gandolfo, Tocco(has amazing pizza!), Great Lake, Crust, Piece... go there!

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            Great Lake
            1477 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

            1. re: getoile8

              Skip the thin crust. Sure, there's thin crust pizza in Chicago, but you can get thin crust pizza anywhere. Deep dish is Chicago's specialty and you can't get good deep-dish pizza anywhere else (as discussions on forums for other parts of the country attest). You can only get it here, and it's absolutely delicious. Lou Malnati's at 8th and State is just a few blocks from your hotel. Go there! No need to travel to other parts of the city to get something you can get back home!

                1. re: getoile8

                  Is Castel Gandolfo still in business? There have been two for lease signs on the building for months, the furniture was not put pout for the patio all summer and the place has looked dead when I have passed by in mid-afternoon (hours 11:30 AM to at least 11 PM M-F according to Metromix listing).

                  1. re: Eldon Kreider

                    thanks for the great ideas..looking forward to seeing and eating chicago (@ unhockey - great blog..truly inspiring. Man, you sure can eat!)

                    1. re: Eldon Kreider

                      It is still open, but I'm not sure how. I walk by there with the dog most nights and they are definitely open, but usually only 1 or 2 tables of people. The location is terrible.

              1. First -- expand your horizons by taking an inexpensive cab ride.

                I don't know the name but just south of the corner of JAckson and Racine there is a place on the West side of Racine...its name seems to change every once in a while -- but it is exactly as you desribe.

                It is Italian and they have great Italian food -- but also have a Filet you can literally cut with a knife. Sit at the bar if you want.

                All their baking is done in a hardwood fired brick oven. Great grilled Calamri. In all the decades I have been going there, the name has changed but the place remains the same.

                Can anyone help me with its name?

                http://www.pegasuschicago.com/

                Also -- Pegasus on halsted restaurant is a really fun casual sort-of-upscale place. A nive bar, drinks flow freely and the food and service is warm, friendly and just really a nice time -- the sort of place where you can dine and linger and drink and have fun for hours....where when it is late enough and enough booze consumed, you might engage strangers in conversation who happen to be sitting at the next table.

                3 Replies
                1. re: chitowncrawler

                  Are you talking Stanley's? I would again disagree strongly on this and Pegasus for out of towner foodies looking for greatness. Stanley's is passable at best, but does have a decent bar brunch on the weekends. When I was just out of college and living in Lincoln Park I would frequent Stanley's on Lincoln and Sedgewick, but now that I have a few extra bucks and much more refined pallet, not even in the top 20

                  Pegasus is standard Greek food that can be had in nearly any greek restaurant anywhere. It's very good but not something to travel to chicago to eat over all the other wonderful places we have.

                  Just my two cents, but . . . .

                  1. re: jbontario

                    looking forward to trying more places next time! Back from Chicago a few weeks ago now - posted a longish review shortly after returning...thanks for all the help!