Chicagoan foodies, I need your help. I lived in Chicago for a period of one year in 2004-2005. While I was there, I ate at many places but forget most of them and my tastes have advanced a lot since then. I will be returning next week for one night only have only one shot at getting a nice, memorable dinner.
My issue is that I am also meeting up with a group of old and new friends, some of whom won't be eating dinner but just meeting up with the group later. The folks who will be eating dinner with me are not so much foodies as they are eaters. I hope that makes sense. They're fantastic people--after all, they are friends--but they don't appreciate gastronomy enough to spend a lot of money nor do they understand getting 5 tiny portions instead of one massive one. I, however, would consider it a total letdown to go to Chicago for one night and end up having a burger or pizza.
That in mind, I'm hoping some of you can help me out with a couple of recommendations. Location is not that important so long as it's in Chicago proper and accessible by CTA (no Metra). It should also be a place where people can saddle up to the table either while we are eating or after we are done with no pressure to order food but the option to order drinks. I'm thinking something along the lines of a fun gastropub would please everyone.