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Where to eat while avoiding heart of the city? (with criteria...)

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Last time to Chicago, I stayed in the city, enjoying meals at Fat Rice, Purple Pig, and Publican Quality Meats, to name a few.

This time, I'm flying into ORD but trying to avoid traffic and parking issues, with no need to go into all the action since I'll be working almost an hour west and then also an hour southwest of the city. But as I'll likely stay fairly close to the airport, I'm looking for restaurant recommendations that are fairly easily accessible.

I'll be dining solo and always enjoy "offbeat" food (offal, ethnic influences, etc.). Chef's counter is always fun, especially when solo. Alcohol is not a factor.

I didn't make it to Longman & Eagle last time. Looks like it's about a 20 minute drive from ORD, so something like that might be do-able if I avoid heavy traffic times. But open to any and all suggestions. And as a bonus, if anything is worth considering toward or in or toward Joliet or DeKalb, I'd love to know. Thanks!

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  1. Heading west and ethnic, the first place that comes to mind is Katy's Dumpling House (original is I believe in Westmont, also locations in Oak Park and Naperville) for hand-pulled noodles and the name-sake dumplings. Not far from where you're staying, while you're in your car, you could go to Superdawg drive-in for a classic Chicago dog with all the trimmings. Also, keep in mind that the Logan Square neighborhood, home of Longman & Eagle, Yusho, Fat Rice, Reno, Lula Cafe, and The Radler, among a dozen other places you might enjoy, is a very easy Blue Line train from the O'Hare area, without the stress and expense of driving and parking. There are other neighborhoods further along the Blue Line that would fit your bill, including Wicker Park, but I think Logan Square is where you'll get the best balance of travel time spent and deliciousness eaten.

    1. In DeKalb, I always enjoy the Hillside. It's not offbeat, but it's homemade and fresh. http://www.hillsiderestaurant.com/

      1. Joliet has some good ethnic options, particularly Mexican.
        Mexican: Atotonilco, El Zarape, Ochoa, Paisanos; also Mi Tierra in Romeoville.
        Asian: Hot Pan Noodles and Dumplings.
        Italian: Luigi's in Plainfield.

        1. I'm a big Longman & Eagle fan but no reservations might be a deal breaker unless you're arriving before the dinner crowd. Yusho, just up the street, can also be very good, but not Longman good.

          1. Thanks for all the great suggestions so far. Nice to have the Joliet ones to consider.

            Ferret, I'd like hit Longman & Eagle right at dinner start to avoid crowds. Going for late lunch, close to 3pm, looks to be another option, especially if I want a burger or sloppy joe or something similar. But then I'd miss the chance at a dinner entree, which looks a little more fancified and intriguing?

            3 Replies
            1. re: dimsumfan

              If you're dining solo you can probably get there by 6 and be fine. Dinner is the better meal.

              1. re: ferret

                Ferret, or others: I'll research this on my own, but if anyone knows a good place for pastry-like snack, or just a good coffeeshop, with wifi in walking distance of Logan Square, that would help position me for a 5pm arrival to Longman & Eagle. Thanks!

                1. re: dimsumfan

                  There's an Intelligentsia just a couple of blocks from Longman.