Forgive me for I am about to sin.
I am asking for help for -gasp- not the ‘best restaurants’. I am spending a week in Chicago (staying in the loop, Silversmith) touristing around with and without my college son, age 19 (can’t sit at bars). I’ll come back with my husband and do the truly top restaurants, but since I will be either on my own for a bit or with the kid, top spots aren’t on my list. Getting in and out in reasonable time and being flexible is more of a priority, which is why I think I am asking for places that aren’t on the main radar. Besides, I like the idea of supporting deserving venues that aren’t getting much love.
I’m looking for good, solid fare in places that don’t have extensive wait times, and add to that - I try to keep to the spirit of pseudo kosher- no pork or shellfish, and I can ask to hold the cheese off my burgers, etc. - but I don't go too crazy asking what kind of stock they use.
We won’t be renting a car, so we’ll be taking pub transpo and/or taxis. I’d rather not walk too much - save my knees for the museums. I don’t mind taking the trains out of the Loop as long as the walking isn’t too much.
The first challenge is deep dish pizza. I understand it takes 40 minutes or so to prepare - thats OK - but I’d rather not spend a lot of time in line for dinner. I’ve got the usual suspects on my list - Gino’s East, Lou Malnati’s, Pizza Uno or Due. Surely there must be more, especially if we jump on the trains. I can’t remember which of those places take phoned in orders, or you can place your order when you get in line, if that helps. I’d rather not do ‘take out’ because I have no place to take it before it gets cold. How about Pizanos, if we do late Thursday night at the Art Institute?
The second challenge is Italian - I keep opening menu pages of restaurants suggested here and find very nice items that I can’t order. I think I would do better downscaling from higher end Italian (plenty of those in Los Angeles that we frequent on our theater/opera nights). So far the not-so-stellar Gioco has the best ‘match’ - simpler fare, as does Quartino. I guess for this trip I am valuing solid preparation of standard items.
I’ll probably do Shaw’s on a weekend night (on my own, at the bar, for local lake fish), and with the kid I’m thinking Russian Tea, Pierogi’s, Cafecito, Al’s Beef. Those aren’t easily available in Los Angeles. Publican sounds too noisy and limited for me. If I get to Wrigley, I’ll try TAC Quick or Deleece.
Thank you Chicago CHs!