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Chicago lunch and dinner


BetsyinKY
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I have read many of the Chicago threads on here and on a couple of other message board, but I haven't found exactly what I am looking for. I will be in Chicago on May 24 to see Wicked. We will be getting into town around noon and then going to the 2pm matinee. I am looking good places for lunch before the show and then dinner after the show. I would like to stay fairly close to the theatre and I would like to stay relatively cheap ($15-$20 or less per entree), since this a spur of the moment trip and I am saving funds for a New Orleans trip and a trip to Charleston, within the next two months! As far as type of food, we like just about anything and are pretty adventurous eaters.

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I'll make some recommendations and try to give you an idea of prices for entrees at dinner; click on the names for their websites where you can see their menus, usually with prices. Keep in mind that even expensive restaurants often have inexpensive prices at lunchtime; i.e. a place with $30 entrees at dinner may have $10-12 entrees for lunch. For this reason, I'll include a few places higher than your stated limit; hope you don't mind. You can always go to one of the more expensive places for lunch, and/or one of the less expensive options for dinner.

The Ford Center is in the Loop, on Randolph between State and Dearborn.

Petterino's is a steakhouse at the end of that block, with $10 burgers, $15-25 entrees, and $25-40 steaks.

Atwood Cafe is at State and Washington, one block south of Randolph, in the Hotel Burnham. American food in a luxurious, classy setting. Entrees in the twenties.

Trattoria No. 10 has Italian food at Madison (two blocks south of Randolph) and Dearborn, with $20ish pastas and $20-35 entrees.

Catch 35 has seafood on Wacker (two blocks north) between State and Dearborn. Non-lobster fish entrees in the twenties, steaks in the thirties.

If these are too expensive, here are two cheaper options.

Pizano's is on Madison between Wabash (one block east of State) and Michigan. They have authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza. Call ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for it to bake.

Oasis Cafe on Wabash has cheap middle eastern food.

All of the above are no more than a 3-4 block walk from the theater.

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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Betsy, could you define what you mean by "fairly close to the theater?"

If ¾ mile isn't too far, I recommend Bin 36 for lunch or dinner.

For lunch, there's an Intelligentsia Coffee at 53 E Randolph, about six blocks from the theater. It's self-serve, but it has the best coffee (or close to it) in the city and salads and stuff from Trotter's To Go, or at least it used to the last time I was there.

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Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Alex, by "fairly close", it doesn't have to be walking distance, but not so far that I'm going to get lost or have major worries about traffic. We will be driving in from Indy that morning and then heading back after the show and dinner, so I would prefer not to drive across town, but I don't mind parking and re-parking, if there is something of interest within a mile or two.

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Bin 36 is across the river, much further than the recommendations I posted above, which are all within a few blocks. I also think the food is not all that great; however, if you're more interested in wine than in food, you might like it. Wine is really their specialty, not the food.

As for Intelligentsia Coffee... yes the coffee is quite good, but again, the food is nothing to write home about. Due to all the office workers in the Loop, there are many "coffee shop" type restaurants in the Loop (not all of which specialize in coffee) where you can get okay salads, sandwiches, etc at lunchtime, some with seating, others strictly carry-out. The big attractions of these places are convenience and quick service, not the food. (Even at Trotter's To Go - despite the name.)

If you're interested in enjoying some of the better foods that Chicago has to offer, these are NOT the places to go.

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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Frontera Grill/Topolobampo would fit nicely, I think. It is within easy walking distance on a nice day even if across the river.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I had read about Frontera Grill and their menu looks good. I think it is probably number one on my list right now. I have read particularly nice things about their Saturday brunch. We should be in the city between 11:30 and noon, but I wasn't sure if we would be able to get in, eat, and get back to the theatre for a 2pm show. Any thoughts? Also, what about Fox and Obel? I had thought that one possibility might be to eat lunch in the cafe there and then dinner at Frontera Grill. Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

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Bin 36 is across the river, much further than the recommendations I posted above, which are all within a few blocks.

If you mean abou 2 minutes of extra walking, then yes, Bin 36 is "much further" than Catch 35.

I think Bin 36 is a good choice for lunch if you're seeing a show at the Ford. I also like Trattoria No. 10 and Atwood Cafe. None would require parking twice.

-Josh

Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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I had read about Frontera Grill and their menu looks good.  I think it is probably number one on my list right now.  I have read particularly nice things about their Saturday brunch.  We should be in the city between 11:30 and noon, but I wasn't sure if we would be able to get in, eat, and get back to the theatre for a 2pm show.  Any thoughts?   Also, what about Fox and Obel?  I had thought that one possibility might be to eat lunch in the cafe there and then dinner at Frontera Grill.   Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

The one downside of Frontera Grill is that they don't accept reservations, so it's tough to predict in advance how long you might have to wait to be seated. Furthermore, that's a holiday weekend, which may make the wait times more or less than typically experienced. That's true at both lunch and dinner; however, if you go there for dinner, you won't have to worry about being late for the theater. If you go for lunch, you could always have a backup plan in case the wait is too long when you arrive.

Fox and Obel is a good 15-20 minute walk (almost a mile) from the theater.

Josh is correct about Bin 36; it's not all that much further than Catch 35. However, I still think the food is better at the other choices.

Also please note that Catch 35 and Trattoria No. 10 are not open for lunch on Saturdays.

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
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Here is a report on a recent brunch I had with friends at Frontera earlier this month.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Ok, so I'm back from Chicago and I just wanted to stop in and thank everyone for the advice. We had a great trip and I absolutely loved the city. The weather couldn't have been better and, other than finding some streets unexpectedly closed (Memorial Day parade), everything went very smoothly. I wasn't thinking about the fact that Chicago is on central time until we were already on the road Saturday morning, but that worked out to our advantage, as it gave us some extra time before the show. We wound up parking on N. Clark, a block or so away from Frontera Grill. It was about 11:40 or so when we got in the restaurant door and we were told the wait was about an hour, so we left our names and went walking around. We walked down to the theatre, so that we could make sure we knew where we were going, watched a little of the parade, wandered around in a bookstore, and then headed back to Frontera Grill. We got back about 12:30 and still had to wait. Finally, at almost 1pm, just as I was about to call it quits and go find a sandwich, our little coaster thing lit up. We told the waiter that we had to be somewhere at 2pm and he was wonderful about making sure things went full speed. Within 15 minutes of being seated, we had our food in front of us. It was delicious. I had fried eggs on a crispy tortilla with a green peas, country ham, black beans, plantains, and cheese. It was wonderful! My friend had enchiladas that were stuffed with mushrooms and potatoes.

We were glad we had the walk to the theatre to burn off a few calories. Wicked was absolutely fabulous and after the show, we walked back to the parking lot and then drove to Fox and Obel. This was perfect for us, because neither of us was starving, so we had delicious sandwiches and then spent some time browsing the store. We bought several cupcakes and black and white brownies to take home and then very reluctantly, headed back to Indy.

Thanks again everyone for your help!

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