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Aug 18, 2011 04:36 PM

Dinner on the way out of town, heading south...

Ok...I've got my eating itinerary pretty much planned out for my entire visit to Chicago (driving from Michigan next week). Only one meal has me stuck! I had an idea that we could do the MSI on our last day and then head home from there since it's on the south side. We have planned to spend the entire day there as it's the most anticipated attraction for my husband and daughter. I have decided that we'll be heading to the Bongo Room for breakfast on the way to the museum and that should keep us fueled for the day. Any ideas on where to find dinner after the museum closes? I haven't really come across any "destination" eats near the MSI...but how about further south heading back to MI? Something in the burbs? It doesn't necessarily have to be "on the way home" we'll have the car and I'm not against the idea of driving out of the way for a good last meal (even if it's heading back north). I guess what I'd like to know is...if any of you were in my shoes for that day, where would you end up for dinner?

Bongo Room
1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

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  1. In addition to what other posters said in your earlier thread from 2 days ago, have you checked these additional threads out? and see the second last post especially.

    Since you say you don't mind driving north/backtracking a bit - then you might keep Chinatown in mind...and afterwards just literally go up the ramp onto the Dan Ryan.

    2 Replies
    1. re: huiray

      Chinatown had crossed my mind...I wasn't sure how easy it was to get in/out of w/ a car. That sounds like a pretty good option actually. What's your fave Chinatown spot?

      1. re: ishongree

        I have no *particular* favorite nor have I eaten at all the restaurants there (not by ANY stretch!!). Depends also on my mood, what cuisine I want, time of day. I do usually go for Cantonese food and have ended up at Phoenix more than once, true, but you may want Szechuan food or other cuisines. Dim sum - I tend to go to Shui Wah or Phoenix, but this is not relevant in your case.

        From the MSI area, just go westward - on 63rd St, say, but 55th/Garfield also works - and get onto the northbound Dan Ryan (Rte 90/94) and head on up. Look for the 22nd Street exit (which is also the exit for Rte 55/Stevenson Expy-->Lake Shore Drive), take it, keep to the left lanes, which will also say some other things I don't remember now - Cermak? Chinatown? - and you will then be on Cermak. Turn left and you are in Chinatown. On-street parking all over. Large car park on east side of S Wentworth btw Cermak and Archer, you get two hours parking redeemed by the restaurant you go to (present your parking stub to them). You exit Chinatown at the "same" ramp you came in on, note its location/position on your left as you arrive off the Dan Ryan onto Cermak.

        ETA: Oh, depending on when you get there or finish dinner you might take a walk around, check out the shops in the "mall" set back just a bit from Archer. Maybe get some roast duck/soy or scallion or "pak chit" chicken/roast pork/BBQ pork etc etc from places that may still have them - usually hanging up in the windows etc - I'm sure you know what I mean - if still available and decently fresh. Lunch/dinner for the next day. :-)

    2. Maybe too much of an oddball suggestion, but if you are driving out of the city back towards Michigan... The Three Floyds brewpub in Munster, Indiana is about 30 minutes from the MSI and, I think, has amazing food for its price point. The current chef, Mike Sheerin, previously worked at Blackbird as the chef du cuisine, and he really elevates otherwise generic bar/pub food. Much of the produce is grown in a large garden behind the brewery by Dr. Floyd (father of the owner, Nick Floyd, and one of the Floyds in Three Floyds). I've seen plenty of kids there and it's very casual but, again, the food is great (and the beer, for that matter).

      The food menu can be found here:

      I should add, too, that I'm sure NW Indiana and/or the South/Southeast suburbs are home to a lot of great places to eat -- I don't know the area at all, other than Three Floyds, and moving further East, I'll freely admit to knowing even less.

      Three Floyds
      Munster, Munster, IN

      1 Reply
      1. re: danimalarkey

        Not oddball to me! Sounds interesting actually...might just have to check that one out. Thanks for the suggestion!

      2. The MSI closes at 5:30, and at that hour, traffic is going to be pretty horrendous heading out of the city towards Michigan. Instead of heading out at that time, I would recommend doing one of two things. (1) You could eat dinner in the vicinity of the museum, in which case the recommendations in my post in your previous question about lunch in the area are still applicable - see and the links there; or (2) head north to Chinatown (huiray's suggestion), which shouldn't be too bad for traffic driving from Hyde Park. In Chinatown, I prefer spicy Szechuan food and my favorites are Double Li (on Cermak/22nd) and Lao Sze Chuan at the southwest end of the Chinatown Mall.

        Lao Sze Chuan
        2172 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

        Double Li
        228 W. Cermak Rd., Chicago, IL 60616

        1. If you're heading off to the Dan Ryan, stop off here for innovative Mexican cuisine:

          2 Replies
          1. re: jbw

            I like Amelia's a lot, and this is a really good recommendation. I would add two notes. First, to get there, I would avoid the Dan Ryan during the evening rush hour. From the MSI it's easy to get there on local streets (such as taking 55th/Garfield across to Halsted, or taking Lake Shore Drive north to 47th, either of which should be okay). Second, it's in a neighborhood called Back of the Yards, and that stretch of Halsted is largely commercial/industrial. No reason for concern, and this also means it's really easy to park on the street right in front of the restaurant.

            Additional possibilities on the South Side that you could get to on local streets (or the inbound LSD) include Han 202* in Bridgeport (which offers a combination of Chinese and global/contemporary food), and two restaurants in Pilsen, Mundial Cocina Mestiza (another creative Mexican restaurant - I believe one of its former owners founded Amelia's) and Nightwood, for contemporary American cuisine. I posted a review of a dinner at Han 202 in this discussion:

            Are there ANY destination restaurants on the South Side? -

            *Han 202 -
            605 West 31st Street, Chicago, IL 60616

            Mundial Cocina Mestiza
            1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

            Amelia's Bar & Grill
            4559 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60609

            2119 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608

            1. re: nsxtasy

              Thank you so much for the directions and suggestions...I was concerned with how traffic would be and was either considering Chinatown or doing Mundial (that was on the agenda anyway and after looking at a map on where exactly Pilsen was I thought maybe that would be the better night to head there) rather than start heading back to Michigan right away. So I really appreciate the consideration you put on the traffic/time situation...I'm sure this just saved us from hitting a rough patch in our trip home!

              I've got to say, I'm not sure if it's just that the people of Chicago are so helpful AND have great taste or if it's like this in all the locations of chowhound but I love this site. I think I've found an essential part of all future trip planning! I'm so excited to visit Chicago again and after learning of all the MANY places I want to try, I know it won't long before we come back (I definetly want to do an adults only trip, I am dying to experience Alinea at least once and so many others!). Thank you so much for all the help everyone...2 more days!! Can't wait!!

              1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614