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Apr 10, 2012 12:39 AM

Annual Chicago Conference--any new dining suggestions? And what's near the Palmer House?


This week we will come into town for our annual conference at The Palmer House Hilton. I need a dinner on Wed. for just myself. Adventure lunch with just me on Thursday. Best hot dog within walking distance of the far is Portillos?

Saturday brunch is Heaven on Seven on Wabash...I love that place. We'll need a great dinner spot for Saturday, great food. We like most everything, but are avoiding pizza this year, and not quite the level of hot dogs for dinner. But we are not looking to spend Alinea type money. And we haven't made reservations anywhere. Does Frontera serve food at the bar? I really loved the tequila drinks and selection at Topolobampo last year but made the reservations months in advance. We really just want tequila and seviche. Anything new close to the the Palmer House?

Sunday we are in town til 500, so a lunch/brunch place?

nxstasy has ALWAYS come through for us, and so THANKS in advance to any help any of you can provide!


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  1. For group dining, give Mercat a la Planxa a whirl:

    For a solo lunch, try Oasis Cafe, 21 N. Wabash, for good Middle Eastern.

    1. Frontera serves at the bar. The tables in the bar are now run by the host station, no grabbing when open. (that may not be news to some, but it'd been a bit since we were last there, so new to us this last trip to chicago.)

      1. Go to Max's for a hotdog and fries. 20 E. Adams. Right by the Palmer House. No need to trek over to Portillio's. Also the gyros there are very good. A lot of times they are on GrouponNow too.

        1. For Sunday, I'd consider the Publican for brunch. It runs more savory than sweet (with plenty of pork) and is a great way to enjoy their food.

          At Frontera, you can order from the Frontera or Topolo food menus if you sit at the bar but expect some serious competition for those seats. I've seen people lining up an hour before they open on Saturdays. For a great tequila list, Sable, in the Palomar hotel nearby, should suit you well ( -- pgs 19-21) - it's also a nice place to grab some bites before dinner elsewhere (though I don't see any ceviche on the menu at the moment).

          If you're willing to take a short ride on the city's blue line, or just take a cab, you can hit up Big Star. More great tequila in an oft-crowded, always lively bar in Wicker Park (menu is limited, for the most part, to tacos). Might be a fun option for a Wednesday night dinner - though it wouldn't be crowded at lunch time, too, depending on how much time you have on Thursday.

          1 Reply
          1. re: danimalarkey

            2nd Publican (especially if you like beer), Sable (great cocktails), and Big Star (awesome whiskey list).

            You can also stop into Publican Quality Meats (retail store) after brunch at the Publican, too. They make a lot of their charcuterie: own njuda, morteau sausage, pork pie, and other delicious meats, etc. The amount of love that goes into their housemade cured meats is awesome. They even make their own faux saltines they serve with their oyster platters.

          2. For a delicious, budget lunch, go to Cafecito, which is only a few blocks from the Palmer House (on the north side of Congress). It features Cuban style sandwiches.