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Jun 7, 2012 02:10 PM

Need help to fill in the gaps of my Chicago Itinerary!

Hello Chowhound Chicago!
I am so excited to visit Chicago with my husband in July! We will be staying at the MileNorth hotel (formerly Affinia) from Wed-Sat.
Thank-you to all for your great posts on this board, I have learned so much about Chicago and I have been able to put together a rough itinerary but it has holes! and I would love some help!
We won`t have a car so if some of my choices make better sense on diff days please let me know (have no idea yet how to get around, other than walking of course)
Our budget is moderate (Alinea sadly is not in the cards for this trip) but I am excited to try some of the places listed below that we can afford. We are pretty easy to please and welcome any/all suggestions!
Also, are there any DDD's that are not to be missed IYO?

Arriving around 2pm and would like to do a quick lunch before our CAF boat cruise.
- Fox and Obel
- Portillos - If we are only having one hot dog on this trip, is this the place? I can totally be talked into having more than one on this trip!

Dinner reso @ Frontera grill - 8pm (what is your fav dish?)
Signature Lounge for drinks

heading to Wrigley field so thinking grabbing brunch/lunch. Thanks to your suggestions, deciding between:
-Uncommon ground
-Southport grocery
or Delecce
??which one?
Should I bother eating at Wrigley Field?

Dinner? (Thinking of heading to Navy pier after dinner for fireworks)
-coco pazzo cafe

breakfast? Bongo room? M.Henry
We will be spending the day at the Art Institute, so somewhere near there or even near our hotel? not expensive

lunch at Lou Malnati's - or open to suggestions?

Dinner @ Sable - have reso for 7pm

heading to Oak park for Frank Lloyd tour so would love to get some ideas good cheap eats to snack on all day at places that will be convenient

Want to hit Garret's at some point. Maybe Potbelly sandwiches (we don't have in Toronto)
lunch/snacks - maybe near Field Musuem?? or near Mag mile

Aviary- requested reso for 8pm. What should I expect here? any food? price?
no dinner plans...Love sushi so maybe Toro?

Last question - How do you eat like this for 4 days??

Thanks for reading my post!! :)

Bongo Room
1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

440 S La Salle St Ste 4000, Chicago, IL 60605

Southport Grocery & Cafe
3552 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

Piccolo Sogno
464 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60622

980 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

M. Henry
5707 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660

Sable Kitchen & Bar
505 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

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  1. Great itinerary!

    Before Wrigley I'd head to Southport Grocery. It is a 10 minute walk from Wrigley but a nice walk. If you take public transport I'd suggest taking the red line towards howard -> brown line towards kimball ->getting off on southport and walking north rather than the regular route of red line towards howard -> getting off at addison. I also am not sure if Deleece does weekday brunches so you should check on that before hand.

    For Wednesday night dinner Spiaggia and Everest are pretty pricey so be sure to check the menu before to make sure the prices are in your budget.

    3 Replies
    1. re: PHXeater

      Deleece serves lunch Tuesday - Friday from 11:30am to 2:30pm according to their web site.

      1. re: PHXeater

        Thx PHXeater! Can't wait for the sweet and savory french toast. Appreciate the heads up on the budget too

        1. re: PHXeater

          Thank-you all so much for taking the time to reply!!!....I really appreciate it and your love for FOOD!!
          PHXeater..I am for sure going to hit Southport grocery and cannot wait to have their sweet and savory french toast! Also appreciate the heads up on the menu prices :)

        2. There is a PotBelly in Oak Park, at the corner of Lake Street & Marion, only a few blocks from the FLW Home & Studio.

          2 Replies
          1. re: masha

            Thx Mash...based in the reviews here, I am going to skip Potbellys.
            Gordeaux..if I go by I will DEFINITELY take your advice and grab a cookie, I am a huge cookie monster! I also plan on stocking up on spices @ Penzeys...thx!

            1. re: cchiz

              I only mentioned the location because you mentioned an interest in eating at one and also needed ideas for OP. Personally I like Potbelly's sandwiches and think they are a good choice when you are on the go, but would not list them as a must-try Chicago food. If you happen to be flying through Midway, they are one of the better options in the food court.

          2. > (have no idea yet how to get around, other than walking of course)

            You can get public transit directions on Google Maps, the CTA's web site,,

            > Dinner reso @ Frontera grill - 8pm (what is your fav dish?)

            When is your trip? Frontera's current dinner menu only goes until July 7th. Hard to make recommendations as we don't know what'll be on the next iteration of the menu.

            For brunch on Wednesday, I would say Southport Grocery. Their Sweet And Savory French Toast is excellent.

            There is a Bongo Room location in the south part of the Loop, but it's still about a 20 minute walk to the Art Institute.

            For places near Art Institute/The Loop, check out this thread:

            > lunch/snacks - maybe near Field Musuem?? or near Mag mile

            There's not a lot near the Field Museum but near Magnificent Mile you can stop into Xoco, Sable, Purple Pig...

            > Aviary- requested reso for 8pm. What should I expect here? any food? price?

            Cocktails are $16-21 a la carte or 3 for $45 as part of a prix fixe. Certain items are only available on the prix fixe menu. You cannot mix and match from the prix fixe and a la carte menus.

            Food is literally "bite" sized canapes, ranging from $3-6. If you're on a budget, don't eat here.

            3 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              True, not much in the immediate vicinity of Field, but if you want some takeout sandwiches et al for picnicking in nearby Grant Park or back on Museum Campus, you could do a lot worse (Potbelly anyone?) than Panozzo's, which is not too far away:


              1. re: kathryn

                Great info, Kathryn! Thank-you so much!
                We are heading to Chicago at the end of July.
                I am also re-thinking my reservation for Sable? Sounds like Aviary is a bit similar....what do you think? What would you say your fav moderately priced restaurant for dinner is?

                1. re: cchiz

                  Sable is small plates and excellent cocktails, but the methods/menu are of a type that you'll find in many other artisanal cocktail lounges in major US cities these days. The Aviary is one of a kind. But I view it primarily as a cocktail bar, not a place to have dinner. No one else is really manipulating cocktail ingredients the way they are.

                  Our favorite moderately priced restaurant is probably Girl and the Goat, which is only a short walk from The Aviary. But it books up 3-6 months ahead. They do hold tables for walk in customers though, and you can eat at the bar. We also really love The Publican, also in the same neighborhood (West Loop). It's much easier to book, though it can be loud if you're not sitting outside.

              2. There's a Trader Joe's literally a stone's throw from some of the houses on the Wright tour for your snacks, and as Masha pointed out, there is a Potbelly right there as well. Please,do yourself this favor if you are set on Potbelly - get an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (or two.) They also sell little bags of those cookies that might be better for transport, but the bagged cookies are noticeably not as fresh as the single, bigger ones. Get a cookie. Seriously. If time allows, and you like spices, you should also go to the Penzey's that is essentially across the alley from Trader Joe's, or only a block or two west of the Potbelly.

                1. I would not go out of your way to eat at Potbelly's. As mentioned below, there are locations everywhere so it might be good for a quick snack but to seek it out? It's a sandwich where they run the bread/meat/cheese through a broiler before adding condiments and other toppings. Nothing about it is otherwise special. Of course, I eat there all the time -- but only because nothing better is close to my office, it's cheap and there's usually no line. The quality of food doesn't enter into it at all, for what that's worth.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: danimalarkey

                    Come on, Potbelly, for a fast-food sandwich place, is really good and way better than Subway, Jimmy John's, Jersey Mike's, etc. The sandwich is quite tasty, the bread is very good, and since there are tons of them here, go for it. Agree with gordeaux, the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie is sooo good, had one yesterday.

                    1. re: jbontario

                      "...for a fast-food sandwich place..." -- well, exactly, and exactly my point. I'd rather eat a sandwich from PQM or Xoco or Seven on State at Macy's or Pastoral or Saigon Sisters or Cafecito or even Hannah's Bretzel (even if they made the absurd decision to swap out pretzel salt for sesame seeds). Wow Bao, even, I think is a little more distinct/better option.

                      Sure, the cookies and shakes are good and I won't argue that there are worse places to eat. But while Potbelly's is a Chicago-based company, I still wouldn't go out of my way to eat lunch there, particularly at the expense of other (and better) places.