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May 15, 2012 04:52 AM

Friday Lunch w/Dad - Delicious, not heavy, passable wine list?

Hello Chicago Hounds,

I am making last-minute plans to do a lunch with my Dad in Chicago on Friday. We will be stuffing ourselves at the Publican for a late dinner on Thursday and will surely wake up a touch hungover. So, lunch should have lighter options (or be small plate friendly). Dad doesn't drink beer, but wine is an absolute must (how else will we chase away the fog of the previous nights' excesses?). BYO would be acceptable too.

Neither of us are from Chicago, and we won't have cars. He's staying near the loop, I'm staying in Lakeview. So, anywhere that's accessible by public transit would be ideal. He may head straight to ORD from lunch, I'm in less of a hurry, so if it's off the beaten path but somewhat "en route" to ORD that would be cool too.

Frontera grill would be my first choice. How early would you have to get there to sit down at lunch on Friday? And what kind of wait are you facing if you're not there as soon as they open? I see I could get a rez at Topolobampo too... if we took that would we be locked in to a larger/heavier lunch than at Frontera?

Chinese is a favorite hangover lunch food of ours too- any suggestions for somewhere fresh, not overly greasy, authentic that has a passable wine list/BYO?

Finally- we're polish but we rarely eat our ancestral food. I don't think we'll be interested in one of these smorgasbord type spots. I see a lot of praise for Podhalanka, but I didn't see Zupa Ogorkawa (pickle soup) on their menu which is my all-time favorite polish dish. Anyone know of a spot that does this well?

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Andrzej Grill is one of the better Polish restaurants around, and they have pickle soup on Thursday and Friday.
    Not a good place for wine, but I'm guessing your dad will understand.
    You'd have to walk a mile from the Blue Line Division/Ashland subway stop to get there, but at least it's the same line that goes to O'Hare. You have the option of transferring to a bus if the walk is too far.

    1 Reply
    1. re: camusman

      Thanks for the tip! I will definitely get there for pickle soup, whether it's this visit or not.

    2. The Purple Pig fits most of your criteria. It's just north of the loop, serves small plates, and has an excellent wine list with lots of funky options.

      1 Reply
      1. re: aburkavage

        Thanks- this looks like a good option. The only thing I"m concerned about is that their menu seems pork/charcuterie-centric, and we may saturated after the Publican! I'm sure we can find some good nibbles there.

      2. If you want Frontera- try calling for a reservation- slim chance, but they have some. Otherwise, I would get there 10-15 min before they open and line up. You can also grab a seat at the bar and order food there.
        I second Purple Pig as another option - they do not take reservations, but if you go close to opening time, you shouldn't have a problem.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ms. mika

          So maybe line up at Frontera, and barring a timely meal head over to the purple pig? This may be the plan. Thank you!!

        2. It might be better for your dad to head out of the loop area on Friday. Big rally in Daley Plaza and who knows what the atmosphere will be like with NATO starting up. The Polish restaurant suggestions are great. If he is going to to ORD, you may want to check out some Logan Square restaurants for lunch.

          Longman & Eagle

          Lula Cafe

          2 Replies
          1. re: lbs

            Aha- I had wondered about this. Thanks for the heads up. Lula had definitely piqued my interest, I will put that in my pocket in case we need to get away from the madness downtown.

            1. re: ajaw

              I was just about to suggest Lula's, too -- the lunch menu would be limited to what you can see on the 'Cafe Menu' online -- so lighter fare, generally. Their wine list is pretty diverse though not necessarily large. I think it's well-curated but I'm more of a beer fan than I an oenophile and typically just let my server know my budget, my tastes and go with whatever he/she chooses. It's worked out well for me so far!

          2. Go off the reservation after a dinner at publican and hit up Slurping Turtle. Great Japanese noodles, yakitori and other small plates with a very nice beer, sake and decent wine list. Terrific hangover food and a great chef who wanted to make a taste of casual home.


            I have now had about half of the noodle choices, all of the grilled items and a few of the appetizers and after having been in Japan a couple times, have never been disaapointed. The Tonkoto (silky pork belly) noodles and the Tan Ten Men (spicy pork sausauge) noodles were fantastic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jbontario

              Wow those noodle dishes have me salivating. I'm so happy for all of these suggestions- I'm moving to Chicago in a few months so eventually I will try all of these places. Thank you!