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May 28, 2013 11:10 PM

Full-time Employment means full-time Chicago Food Hound: Need help!

Hey Hounders,

I finally got a full time job and I am making the move to my favorite city, Chicago! I have done a fair amount of visiting and restaurant-trying because I went to school in Madison, WI. I don’t know where I am living yet, but most likely Wrigleyville, Lakeview, or Bucktown.

A little background on myself; I am 23 years old, in the Finance industry and have an extreme passion for food. At the moment I am Istanbul, Turkey taking in all that the city has to offer food wise.

These are all of the restaurants I have ever been to in Chicago and my brief (very brief thoughts):

• Avec – In love
• Mexique - Loved
• Portillos – Didn’t like
• Hub 51 - Ok
• Prime Bar - Decent
• One North Kitchen and Bar - Terrible
• Sable – Liked it
• Longman and Eagle – Awesome!
• Lula Café – Liked it
• The Little Goat – eh, so-so
• Green Zebra - Love
• Gino’s- Didn’t like
• Hubbard Inn- Like it

Could you recommend some spots for me? Looking for restaurants and bars if possible.

Also, are there any magazines or local publications I should be reading?


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  1. >> Could you recommend some spots for me? Looking for restaurants and bars if possible.

    You've covered a nice assortment already. The issue with Chicago is that the number of restaurants worth recommending is HUGE, and you'll never get to try all of them. I'd suggest you get settled in first, and then start accumulating a list of places to try for various purposes (a "regular rotation" of places close to home, places reserved for special occasions, lunch places close to work, etc).

    >> Also, are there any magazines or local publications I should be reading?

    A couple of places where you can keep up on the latest restaurant news are Eater ( ) and Chicago magazine and particularly the Dish column on their website at

    9 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      The Eater looks great, I will definitely be utilizing it!

      1. re: nsxtasy

        nsxtasy--> Do you know of any places that are similar to Colonial Drug Store in Boston? I am looking for a place with nice specialty items for a gift for a friend. Here is their website. Thanks!

        1. re: probecho333

          No, sorry; perhaps others here do. Although I'm not familiar with anything specifically, I know there are lots of specialty shops on and around the Mag Mile (North Michigan Avenue), including some on the side streets and others in the "vertical malls" like Water Tower Place, 900 N Michigan, and the one in the Marriott.

                1. re: probecho333

                  Go to the Merz's in Lincoln Square. I like it better than the one downtown. Then check out some of the top notch restaurants and bars in the area (Gene's, Los Nopales, Fork, Bistro Campagne, Bad Apple, etc) Win-win!

              1. re: probecho333

                I ended up moving to a spot in lakview near the Southport EL stop. I really like this co-op in Logan Square called The Dill Pickle. Any chance you know of a market or place similar to this in lakeview? Some place with a decent selection of produce and specialty items. Thanks!

                1. re: probecho333

                  The closest similar store would probably be Whole Foods in Lakeview(there are 2 of them, one on Ashland and Belmont and one on Halsted and Addison). If you can go to Andersonville, Urban Orchards on Clark and Foster would seem more comparable to Dill Pickle than Whole Foods.

            1. definitely check out The Reader both on-line and in print when you get to Chicago.

              Places I like that:

              Hopleaf - Andersonville
              Bad Apple - North Center/Lincoln Square
              Los Nopales - Lincoln Square
              Gene's Rooftop - Lincoln Square (seasonal
              )Las Tabalas - Lakeview-ish
              Big Star - Bucktown/Wicker Park
              The Map Room - Bucktown/Wicker Park
              Handlebar - Bucktown/Wicker Park

              4 Replies
              1. re: lbs

                Thanks! Do you have any good recs for local markets in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area?

                1. re: probecho333

                  If you're looking for a market at which to buy food, Olivia's Market on Wabansia, just west of Damen is excellent. It is small but pretty well stocked, specializes in good produce and high end products, and is rather pricey. Boar's Head deli meats, for example.

                  On Sundays there is a Farmer's Market in Wicker Park on Damen just south of North Avenue.

                  Sultan's Market on North Avenue sells nice middle eastern foods.

                  Danny's Market our local source for Mexican on Western Avenue sadly just closed.

                  There is a Jewel Foods on Paulina. It's just a Jewel.

                  Hope that helps.

                  1. re: chicgail

                    Thank you! I have actually been to Olivia's and loved it! How about a good Greek specialty store? I assume Greektown but I just thought I'd ask.

                    1. re: probecho333

                      I can't give you a good answer, but I'd look at Greektown first, myself. There's a place called Elea on south Halsted that people seem to like a lot. That would be my first choice.

              2. Since you really enjoyed Avec and Longman & Eagle a couple places with some similarities to these venues would be The Publican, The Bristol and Purple Pig. Purple Pig can have really long wait times, so best to go either early, late or in between lunch and dinner.

                You also mentioned really enjoying Mexique; other Mexican venues I really enjoy include Topolobampo, Los Nopales and Mixteco Grill (Topolobampo is considerably more expesnive; the other two are BYOB - but out of the three Topolobampo is my favorite).

                If you end up in Lakeview/Wrigleyville venues worth checking out nearby would be Senza, Bar Pastoral, Frog & Snail, Milt's BBQ, Deleece, Wood, Peasantry and Southport Grocery (for brunch). I used to love Socca, but the chef/owner left recently and I am not sure about the current quality.

                Some of my other favorite venues in the city (not including very expensive places) would include Baume & Brix, iNG, Elizabeth, Boka, Balena, La Sirena Clandestina, Kabocha, GT Fish, Yusho, Embeya, Sola and Jam (for brunch). North Pond also has a great deal for Sunday brunch.

                There are also some really good underground dinners going on right now that are relatively good values for lengthy tasting menus: Feast & Imbibe, Sous Rising and Thurk.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Gonzo70

                  Thanks for the response, great stuff! I have heard many good things about a lot of these places. Any good sushi recs?

                  1. re: probecho333

                    I think Katsu is the best sushi in Chicago and well-worth the trip (Grant Achatz thinks so too). If you call ahead and ask for them to put together a kaiseki menu, Chef Katsu can put together some pretty amazing stuff not usually seen in other sushi place.

                2. Probecho--First, congratulations on both the job and the city. Second, from Southport hike over to Clark and take the Clark 22 bus up to Foster (5200 North). Get off. Walk one door west on Foster to the Middle Eastern Grocery and Bakery. They aren't Greek but a lot of the merchandise is the same---the olive oils, great olives, pastas, grains, cheeses, pastries, coffees. They bake their pita and spinach pies in the back room and make their felafel fresh every morning. While you're up Clark check out a) SVEA, for breakfast b) Swedish Bakery c) the Swedish deli on the west side of Clark d) PARS grocery (Persian) for browsing d) Edgewater Produce e) Reza's for lunch (Persian). This strip used to be Swedish and now is leaning Middle Eastern so the eating is great either way. Closer to you than Greektown.

                  1. In your part of town, check out Tango Sur, Argentine, meat, huge portions, good food.