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Sep 6, 2012 04:28 AM

Decent Eats Near Big Box Stores

Hi, I'll be visiting Chicago and staying in Gold Coast area. However I need to make a stop to some big box stores like Target, Walmart, Home Depot. Does anyone have any suggestions of where I can go that has these and something decent to eat around there? Ideally it would be accessible by public transit.

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  1. Take the Red Line train to Roosevelt Rd. There's a Target a couple of blocks west. Then go to Manny's for a corned beef sandwich. On Sundays you have the bonus of the Maxwell Street Market with its outstanding Mexican street food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: camusman

      If you enjoy creative breakfast-focused restaurants, when you get off the Red Line at Roosevelt Road, walk a half block east to the Bongo Room. They specialize in unusual pancake dishes, such as pretzel pancakes with white chocolate caramel sauce. Tip: A standard portion consists of three gigantic pancakes, but you can order one-third and two-thirds portion sizes at reduced prices, which lets you try multiple dishes if you want. Beware of long waits on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

      Another excellent restaurant in that area is Gioco, for Italian food.

    2. We have a new Target in the historic Carson Pirie Scott building in the heart of the Loop, it's walking distance from the Gold Coast and there are too many good options to list. Better if you identify a price point and whether you prefer casual/less so. There are no Wal-Marts anywhere near the Gold Coast; closest one is 8-10 miles away (West). There's a Home Depot in the Dearborn Park/South Loop area, near the South Loop Target camusman referenced.

      8 Replies
      1. re: ferret

        >> it's walking distance from the Gold Coast

        Maybe, maybe not. For example, the walking distance from the Ambassador East Hotel to the new Target at State and Madison is 1.7 miles. If you don't want to walk, it's a short cab ride, and there's plenty of bus service, and also the el (subway). See

        >> there are too many good options to list.

        Here are a few "quick picks" nearby: Pizano's on Madison for deep-dish pizza ( ), Terzo Piano in the Art Institute for Italian lunch ( ), Heaven on Seven for cajun/creole ( ), Do-Rite Donuts ( ), and Atwood Cafe in the Hotel Burnham for contemporary American ( ).

        But keep in mind, there's no Home Depot near the Target in the Loop. Whereas, as noted, you can hit Target and Home Depot in one stop if you go to the ones in the South Loop. (They're only two blocks apart.)

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Less than a mile from that Home Depot is the great one-two punch of Al's Italian Beef on Taylor and Mario's Italian ice stand. From there you could walk over to the UIC/Halsted Blue Line train stop to get back in the transit grid.

          1. re: camusman

            Although we're creeping up on Mario's closing date (for the season). It's usually mid-September.

            1. re: ferret

              These are all great suggestions. Is the Target in Carson Pirie Scott building a full-sized Target? Ideally I'd like to go to a Walmart/Target and Home Depot. As far as food price point, anything ranging from cheap to $25 entrees would do. More importantly is that it's good.

              Maxwell Street Market sounds like fun. I have reservations at North Pond on Sunday so if I decide to go then I'll have to find my way from there.

              1. re: Negaduck

                North Pond for Sunday brunch is such a terrific place! Don't eat too much at Maxwell Street if you go there beforehand. If you're going to North Pond from Maxwell, the easiest way to get there is walk west a block to Halsted Street, then take the #8 Halsted CTA bus northbound to Wrightwood, then it's a 10-15 minute walk. If you're going to North Pond from the Gold Coast, catch the #151 CTA bus on North Michigan Avenue or the inner drive (local street alongside Lake Shore Drive north of Oak Street), and take it to Stockton and Wrightwood. Enjoy!

                1. re: Negaduck

                  The State Street Target is 55,000 square feet of selling space. The Roosevelt Road location is much larger. So if you're looking for full-size, then Roosevelt Road will meet your needs for Target and Home Depot. The city has had a love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart so the stores are mostly suburban. They have some very, very small outposts in the city.

                  1. re: ferret

                    I'll probably be going to North Pond first on Sunday, and Maxwell is the opposite direction so I might not have a chance to make it there if I decide to hang out around Lincoln Park. If there's nothing to do up there then maybe I can hit up Maxwell, or I can choose between the two to do on Sunday.

                  2. re: Negaduck

                    RE Walmart, I think you are looking for a full-size one and not the tiny "Walmart Express" convenience stores. The nearest big one is at 4650 W North Avenue. From Gold Coast walk up Clark 4 blocks to North Avenue and take North Avenue #72 bus going west.

          2. Okay so I'm going to spend one of my days in the Roosevelt Rd area. The question is do I go Sunday so I can hit up Maxwell Market or another day so I can go to Al's?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Negaduck

              Go on a weekday morning so you don't have long waits to be seated at the Bongo Room. Otherwise, go to Bongo early (on a Saturday or Sunday) to avoid long waits, then do your shopping, then go to Al's (Saturday) or Maxwell (Sunday). :)

              Also note, Al's and Portillo's have other locations open Sunday where you can get good Italian beef. Hours for each of their locations are listed on their websites at and

              1. re: nsxtasy

                I want the Al's on Taylor though! I think I will have to skip the market this time around because I plan on going to North Pond for brunch and then Publican for dinner on Sunday. That would be too much travelling all over the place. I also don't want to carry my shopping to dinner.

                It will either have to be Saturday or Monday. Saturday I don't get in until around 1pm so I won't have as much time. Monday night I have GATG reservations, but it's late enough I can probably stop at my hotel and drop off my shopping first.

                1. re: Negaduck

                  Sounds good. Hope you enjoy it and everything works out well!