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Jul 25, 2013 06:27 AM

Could I get some Old Town help please?

I am going to be staying two nights at the Hotel Indigo in August, and I am completely unfamiliar with the area. I dont plan on limiting myself to that specific neighborhood, as a vist to the Jazz Record Mart is essential to my well-being. I have done a search here and there are lots of references, but like I said, I'm quite unfamiliar with the area.I prefer walking, but dont mind a long walk. I am not interested in 'fine dining'; relaxed and casual is the order of the day.

I have heard much about Da Lobsta, but can anyone recommend a better lobster roll?

I also love ribs; I have seen Marge's Still and Twin Anchor mentioned. Any better suggestions?

My town has lots of excellent Mexican, so I'm not really looking for that. I'm not a big pizza fan, but other Italian recs might be nice. Is there an exceptional old fashioned dirty water hot dog nearby?

Thank you all so much!

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  1. If you love ribs, may I suggest that you not eat at Twin Anchors or Marge's. I too love great ribs and those are both places that people rave about because they "fall off the bone" which to me means boiled or baked until the meat is tasteless and doused in so much sauce you can't taste it anyway. I really like Lilly's Q and Chicago Q for some good ribs and fantastic sauces. Lilly's Carolina Gold, in my opinion, is drinkable ;-).

    Old Town is a 5-10 minute cab ride from anywhere so feel free to look at any restaurant from West Loop to Lakeview and you'll be in that 10 mins cab circle. All of the restaurants on Wells Street in Old Town are just fine, but nothing stands out as a must go. They all have nice outside terraces or patios.

    1 Reply
    1. Twin Anchors ribs are fall off the bone tender, they're wrapped and baked in a low oven then finished on the grill with some sauce. Marge's Still smokes their ribs, which end up having more chew to them. It depends on what you prefer, I like chewier ribs but the sauce at TA is better IMO and they have a much better selection of beers on tap. Another option just about a block from your hotel is Chicago Q, I haven't been but have heard good things.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Coogles

        I agree that if the meat falls off the bones, it is overcooked. Chicago Q looks like the place for ribs.

        But I'm still open to any and all suggestions.

        1. re: Fydeaux

          For old-school Chicago-style "aquarium smoker" smoked ribs and tips you can also try Honey 1 BBQ. I don't love the sauce or really the quality since it's Chicago BBQ, but its fun, good and cheap.

          That typed, as I stated above Lillie's Q and Chicago Q are where you can get some damn good southern-style competition BBQ. Chicago Q is almost too fancy to be a BBQ place, it ain't Frankin's or Salt Lick, but it's up there.

      2. I live in Old Town and would not consider either Marge's or Twin Anchor. Marge's is a pleasant neighborhood bar but with minimal offerings, TA has a lot of history but I've never understood the appeal on any level.

        Old Town has a lot of bars and singles spots along Wells but does have Old Town Social which does some very nice in-house charcuterie and such.

        If you are in town near Jazz Festival time, check into the Jazz Festival Tour the Wednesday beforehand - trolley's run you from club to club and you can eat and drrink your way through some amazing jazz.

        1. We did end up going to Chicago Q. Yes, it is fancier than a BBQ joint should be, but not disconcertingly so, and the background music was perfect.

          The ribs, unfortunately, were fall-off-the-bone overcooked. The meat was tasty enough, and the choice of sauces was good, but if I ever go again, I'll give one of the pulled meats a try. I have a feeling those are remarkable.

          Da Lobsta was really good.