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Restaurant recommendations near Waukegan and midway

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We will be in town for Navy graduation on a Thursday and flying out of Midway Friday night. Looking to leave Great Lakes Navy base Friday afternoon and would like to head in the direction of the airport so it's not too long of a drive after dinner to make a 9:00 pm flight. In both spots we would like something both carnivore and seafood friendly if possible. Would prefer local, not a chain if possible.

I appreciate all suggestions. Thank you!

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  1. Are these areas barren wastelands of good food?

    1 Reply
    1. re: gourmanda

      Not at all. There are literally thousands of restaurants between Great Lakes and Midway. Most of these have carnivore and seafood offerings but your question is amazingly broad. Your route covers most of the north eastern suburbs plus about 3/4s of the entire city of Chicago. It includes almost all of Chicago's fine dining destinations, the Indian and Pakistani enclaves on Devon, the south Asian restaurants around Argyle,, anything in Logan Square, Wicker Park, Buck town,near north, the west loop restaurant nirvana around Randolph, the Gold Coast etc etc etc.
      You will be driving past most of of the north end of the city all the way to the mid south area of the city. You'd be hard pressed to find a much richer variety of places anywhere in the U.S.
      Some points to consider. What time in the afternoon are you planning on leaving Waukegan? Driving down I94 on a late Friday afternoon can be very slow going but if you want to do a city restaurant you'll need to grin and bear it and then pull off anywhere from the expressway and just about all of Chicago is at your finger tips. How much do you want to spend? You've got Alinea which starts at about $300 per person all the way down to taquerias that can run you a few bucks per person. Get off the expressway near Randolph and eat at any of the west loop spots that are always popping up in the best of Chicago lists.
      You might want to avoid fighting the traffic and eat in the suburbs, evanston, wilmette and all the others offer both fine dining, fine casual and down and dirty joints.
      You specifications, seafood and meat, are just too broad to allow for any meaningful responses.

    2. The Shanty in Wadsworth is a casual place with good food.
      For fine dining, Inovasi in Lake Bluff is excellent.
      Bottaio in Libertyville is an Italian place that hits your criteria pretty well.
      Please thank your graduate for serving our country.

      1. Ok, so not too long of a drive from Midway on a Friday night, in time for a 9pm flight, meat and seafood? On the southern side of the spectrum, closer to Midway, does Italian food work for you? I'm thinking maybe something in the Taylor street ("Little Italy") section of town would work.
        Greektown?
        Chinatown?
        And yes, the immediate vicinity around Midway is pretty barren. There are some really decent Mexican joints, some really GREAT Middle Eastern joints, but nothing is coming to mind around midway for being a great meat and seafood place.
        This one might also work:
        http://nightwoodrestaurant.com/

        4 Replies
        1. re: gordeaux

          Thanks for the recommendation on Little Italy. After looking up a map it seems to be in the general direction we'll be traveling. Another suggestion was for Giordano's Pizza nearer the airport. I'll leave it up to the driver.

          1. re: gourmanda

            If you are throwing pizza in the mix, the Midway area might be one of the best areas in Chicagoland for 'real' Chicago pizza...Thin crust. I understand the lure of Giordano's for the media hyped "stuffed" pizza, and nobody would blame you for having to investigate that hype. Plus, there's a Giordano's right next to the airport, essentially. Don't expect much in the way of seafood, probably a shrimp dish or two, and fried squidamari. If you like mildly spicy stuff, ask for a side of hot giardiniera with your pizza. If you were my guest, I would try to talk you out of Giordano's, but that's me. I'm not sure if there's a Lou Malnati's on your route, but if you wanted to try one of the "other" Chicago pizza styles - PAN, then I would suggest you look for a Lou's on your route that makes sense to you, over Giordano's. Lou's can rock a pretty mean thin crust as well when you get a good one. KateBchi makes a decent point, but timing is your issue. I understand wanting to be not far from the airport for dinner. The traffic can be an issue.

            1. re: gordeaux

              Thanks. I know it's a broad question...we will be driving from Waukegan to Midway on a Friday afternoon (as soon as the Navy releases the nephew)= so anywhere from 12-5). We're presuming it will be late afternoon and so we wanted to allow plenty of time to get to somewhere very near the airport, have a dinner at a place with something for everyone (which pizza certainly is), then have two people dropped off for their flight and the others make their way back to Great Lakes. Should have mentioned that we wanted to stay out of downtown Chicago. The seafood and meat specification was meant to infer ... oh, nevermind. It makes sense in my head, guess I'm not translating very well. Thanks for trying to assist.

            2. re: gourmanda

              Chicago actually has 2 "little Italy" neighborhoods: (a) the Taylor St. neighborhood near Univ of Ill at Chicago mentioned by Gordeaux; and (b) the "Heart of Chicago" neighborhood, on 24th St. just east of Western Ave. Both are relatively close to the highway as you travel towards Midway, but the Heart of Chicago neighborhood is closer to Midway.

              With that in mind, you may want to consider Bruna's, https://www.google.com/maps/place/Bru..., which is located in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood. It is truly "Old School" Italian -- with seafood and meat options.

              When we lived on the south side of Chicago, we were regulars at Bruna's and always ate well (at very reasonable prices). Since moving to the 'burbs, it's dropped out of our rotation.

              Using the link on Bruna's website for directions to MDW, it says they are only 6 miles away, and a drive of about 15 minutes.