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Specific Questions About Family-Friendly Dining Options

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Hi -- I've been reading the suggestions on the Chicago Board and they've been so helpful. I'm traveling to Chicago later this week for 2 days with my vegetarian husband, my two kids (3 & 6, not adventurous eaters) and my mother-in-law (Iowa down-home cooking). I don't eat dairy. We are staying at the Hilton-Miracle Mile and will spend most of our time at Millenium Park, the Field Museum, Navy Pier and the Art Institute. A few specific questions: (1) Deep-dish pizza is definitely one of our destinations -- but since I don't eat dairy, I was wondering if any of the famous pizza places stands out as having good choices that are NOT cheesy (pastas, salads, etc). (2) Can anyone suggest a lunch place near our hotel that is simple and good (sandwiches), but either won't be horribly crowded or can handle a large crowd quickly? I had hoped to picnic lunch, but in this heat, it just won't be possible! And, finally, I'm from Berkeley and regularly follow the SF board -- and have seen folks jump in with non-food suggestions for people traveling with kids. So, if anyone can chime in with off-the-beaten path fun things to do with young kids, I'd appreciate it! Especially things that will help us beat the heat! Thanks!

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  1. For Pizza check out Pizano's (http://www.pizanoschicago.com/menu.php) some of the best deep dish pizza in Chicago plus a full menu of of salads and pastas -

    For sandwiches my personal favorite is a chain based in Chicago called Potbelly's nicely - http://www.potbelly.com/Home/Default.... - they have locations thorughout downtown

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    Pizano's Pizza & Pasta
    864 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

    1. >> We are staying at the Hilton-Miracle Mile

      The Miracle Mile is in Los Angeles, California. The Magnificent Mile is in Chicago. I assume you mean the Hilton Suites Chicago/Magnificent Mile located at 198 E. Delaware Place.

      Pizano's, recommended by weinstein5 above, is a great place for deep-dish pizza, and also offers other items as well. Their location on State is close to your hotel, and the location on Madison is close to Millennium Park and the Art Institute.

      For lunch near your hotel, I recommend foodlife. It's inside Water Tower Place (an indoor mall), and it's a food court concept, but with high-quality food. www.foodlifechicago.com

      >> have seen folks jump in with non-food suggestions for people traveling with kids. So, if anyone can chime in with off-the-beaten path fun things to do with young kids, I'd appreciate it!

      I know the Chowhound Team frowns upon such non-food recommendations, so I'll keep this part brief. Lincoln Park Zoo is two miles north of your hotel and is free. Most of the exhibits are outdoors, but some are indoors too. It's free. The Chicago Children's Museum is a mile southeast of your hotel, on Navy Pier. The Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and Field Museum are all close to each other in the "museum campus" and are mostly indoors. You can find more recommendations on the city's tourism website at www.choosechicago.com The current heat wave is supposed to moderate starting tomorrow.

      Enjoy your visit, and feel free to ask more questions!

      3 Replies
      1. re: nsxtasy

        thanks! and oops about the miracle/magnificent mile mix-up -- my brain is definitely addled by the heat!

        1. re: jessinEC

          We ended up going to Gino's East (on Superior), which the concierge at our hotel said was a sister restaurant of Pisano. My husband loved the deep dish vegetarian, my meat ravioli was pretty tasty and my kids' straightforward food needs were well met. Thank goodness we got a special pass from our hotel (Hilton Suites on Delaware) that let us bump the 50-60 minute line to get in, though. My kids and I got through our meal & out the door before the deep dish even arrived (they said it would take 45 minutes, but it was more like 1 hour 15).

          We had breakfast at our hotel's restaurant, which was a pretty spectacular buffet. It came with our room, which was a good thing because it was $34/person! The next day's breakfast was at Corner Bakery, which was not much more than fine -- but way more affordable. Lunches were at the zoo (ugh) and the airport (actually not too bad at Ciao -- I had the hummus salad, really fresh & good).

          Thanks again for the tips. I hope to spend more time in your wonderful city!

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          Gino's East
          2801 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

          1. re: jessinEC

            >> We ended up going to Gino's East (on Superior), which the concierge at our hotel said was a sister restaurant of Pisano.

            Your concierge was wrong. Sounds like they were confusing the relationship between Pizano's, Lou Malnati's, and Uno and Due - which are indeed closely related - with Gino's East, which is not.