My dear sweet wife and I have traveled to all the 48 continental United States as well as Washington D.C. Being a kid in New York City and living there for over seven years as an adult I consider myself an expert on pizza. When we headed to Chicago to spend some time we were on the hunt to find some amazing restaurants and to see if there really was a great Friday night pizza spot out there. Here are my top five favorite windy city spots for meals all summer to have at all different times of day.
The Best Summer Chicago Lunch: Polo Café and Catering (3322 South Morgan Street, Chicago, Illinois 60608. 773-927-POLO.) is located in the Bridgeport area of Chicago which is not the most walker friendly but certainly worth the trip out for the ribs. Polo Café and Catering has a full menu with regular specials from Chef Dave Samber. The prices at Polo Café and Catering are reasonable for every traveler whether you are coming from out of state or across the block. When my wife and I went here we were lucky enough to grab the last plate of ribs from the kitchen. We are not rib people but the ribs from Chef Samber are fall off the bone perfect and so amazing that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy. Polo Café and Catering is great for lunch all summer long.
The Best Summer Chicago Breakfast: Bakin’s and Eggs (3120 N Lincoln Ave. 773-525-7005) is the perfect spot to head out for breakfast any day of the week all Summer in Chicago. When my wife and I headed here we were in egg heaven. For $9.00 my wife got the pumpkin spice pancakes with pear butter, maple syrup and caramelized pecans. For $9.00 I treated myself to a frittata with sundried tomato, goat cheese and herbs de Provence with well done house potatoes, chicken apple sausage and dry wheat toast. We were both so happy to be in a place as cozy as Bakin’ and Eggs and yet it was still stylish and reminiscent of our favorite 24 hour New York joint Cafeteria.
The Best Summer Chicago Romantic Restaurant: It was a Friday evening when my wife and I stumbled upon Geja’s Café (340 West Armitage Chicago. 773-281-9101). As she had been bagging me to take her to a fondue restaurant for as long as I can remember we headed inside and were glad we did. At Geja’s Café we went all out as we were on a trip and she was so excited. We had the beef and lobster premiere dinner which runs a pricey $47.95 per person but was worth it for a great date. We started out with cheese fondue appetizer with Gruyere cheese blended with white wine and brandy with apple wedges, grapes, pumpernickel and onion bread for dipping. We moved onto salad and then our beef tenderloin and lobster tails came out with fresh veggies and different dipping sauces. I must say that I can not remember the different sauces as we were quite full at the time. Word to the wise, do not get too full that you can not have the flaming chocolate dessert which comes with the orange liqueur all lit up and strawberries, apples, melon, bananas, pineapples, pound cake and marshmallows for dipping. Geja’s Café is pricey but perfect for a romantic date, anniversary or celebration.
Best Summer Chicago Brunch: Flatwater (321 N Clark St, River Level. 312-664-0318) is a top restaurant in Chicago for all meals, but as it was situated on the water and we were out for some fresh air my wife and I had tried Flatwater for brunch and it is our favorite in Chicago. My wife is a fan of eggs Benedict and cosmopolitans and Flatwater has both. If you decide to sit inside Flatwater you will be surrounded by wood paneling reminiscent of the Prada store in SoHo. Outside is the place to be at Flatwater especially for brunch as you can sit on the water and watch as life floats along. My wife enjoyed the crab cake Benedict with black bean ragout, old bay hollandaise and house potatoes for $13.00 while I enjoyed the riverside omelette which reminded me of sunny days in Los Angeles with the bacon, avocado, tomato and chive crema for $12.00. Flatwater is a busy spot for weekend dinners so make sure you make a reservation if you plan to head there at night to watch the lights dance on the water.
The Best Summer Chicago Pizza: Now of course this last restaurant will be debatable depending on who you talk to. There are so many pizza restaurants in Chicago I think we walked by more pizza places than stores. After a night of seeing improv at Second City my sweetie and I were wandering around and found Piece Brewery and Pizzeria (1927 West North Ave, Chicago. 773-772-4422). Now the pizza was good, not amazing but good for a small that is just $10.95. We got the red which is your traditional pizza though it does come with BBQ sauce that I may have to try if I ever take my brother to Chicago. What I enjoyed best about Piece Brewery and Pizzeria were the brews. Piece Brewery and Pizzeria has won over 20 awards since 2002 for their brewing skills out of their small brewery including the 2006 World Beer Cup Championship. I had the Dark-n-Curvy Dunkelweizen which is their German style pale ale. The top was not too heavy and the body just right. Along with my brother I am going to have to bring my beer making Dad back here to try their other 7 concoctions.