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The Class of 2015!

The Class of 2015!
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  • The Class of 2015!

    Post #1 - March 26th, 2015, 12:30 pm
    Post #1 - March 26th, 2015, 12:30 pm Post #1 - March 26th, 2015, 12:30 pm
    It is with great pleasure that I announce the GNRs Class of 2015.

    For a complete list of current GNRs see the Alphabetical List, Cuisine List, or the Map.

    Analogue-- This dimly lit Logan Square bar features a friendly, comfortable vibe, one of the most creative cocktail programs around, and a Cajun-inspired menu that would stand out even in New Orleans. From the expertly crafted cocktails and purls, to house-made charcuterie and condiments, to the arguably best-in-town fried chicken and biscuits, Analogue has it all.

    Bien Trucha-- With its cozy, yet hip, bar-like atmosphere, this modern Mexican bistro in Geneva is known for spicy salsas, classic margaritas, and some of the best fish tacos anywhere. But don’t stop there. Try the decadent cazuelita de camarón: briny shrimp in a bath of queso, gilded with a tart, herbaceous cilantro chimichurri. This simple yet elevated approach to Mexican fare makes Bien Trucha a one-of-a-kind gem in the area.

    Cellar Door Provisions-- Some of the finest, flaky French-style pastries in town can be found in Logan Square at Cellar Door Provisions. Croissants are deeply browned and studded with butter churned in house. Biting into a morning bun showers your plate with shards of crisp, buttery flakes as the cinnamon hits your palate. Beyond the delicious pastries, CDP slings some of the best artisan bread in Chicago, and a small, constantly changing breakfast and lunch menu of well-crafted, seasonal fare.

    Cross-Rhodes-- Cross-Rhodes is what every Greek diner aspires to be: solid Greek staples, reasonable prices, and efficient, friendly service. Favorites include the Greek salad topped with gyros and plentiful feta, and the perfectly char-grilled burger. But the marquee offering – drawing customers back over decades – is the Greek fries: thick-cut, impossibly crispy fries doused in an herbaceous, lemony vinaigrette. Eat a few right away, then enjoy the rest after they’ve soaked up the tangy sauce.

    Elizabeth Restaurant-- Passionate forager-chef Iliana Regan – whose prior venture was a single-table restaurant in her apartment – serves inventive, seasonal, and artistic dinners in an intimate Lincoln Square dining room. Both serious and whimsical, the evolving tasting menus have included a terrarium with yellow watermelon, uni ice cream, bear rice crispies, and a shrimp noodle. Service is top notch, wine pairings are thoughtful, and reservations are a must.

    Forno Rosso-- For excellent, wood-fired pizza in Chicago’s far Northwest corner, try Forno Rosso in Dunning. Fans cite the stellar, lightly charred crust and interesting toppings, each clearly demonstrating the great pride taken in sourcing only the very best ingredients. You’ll be treated like family while you sip an Italian draught beer and admire the beautifully tiled, wood-burning pizza oven smoldering away at 1000 degrees. Buon appetito!

    Fresh Farms International Market (Niles Location)-- If you had to pick one grocery store to go to for the rest of your life, Fresh Farms should be the one. It’s like a giant version of your favorite ethnic market, or all of your favorite ethnic markets combined, featuring one of the best delis in the city, a huge and well-priced produce department, a busy fish counter, and a large, European-focused bakery. Well worth exploring, you never know what you’ll discover next.

    Gogi-- Gogi is a cut above the rest for Korean BBQ, with high quality meats, excellent service, and real charcoal grilling at the table. This is destination Korean food; a place you can bring more conservative eaters ready for grilled kalbi, or adventurous eaters looking to enjoy a seafood pancake or Gogi’s wide array of kimchi and other banchan.

    Jimmy Jamm Sweet Potato Pies-- Jimmy Jamm Sweet Potato Pies’ focus on one humble root vegetable is highlighted deliciously in every slice and spud preparation. Jimmy Ferguson’s shop serves up pie from her father’s recipe, as well as loaded sweet potatoes, sandwiches on sticky sweet potato bread, sweet potato ice cream, and more. The friendly service and made-from-scratch menu are just icing on the sweet potato cake.

    Kaufman's Deli and Bakery-- Kaufman’s in Skokie is the definition of North Shore Jewish delicatessen: great bagels, bread, lox, corned beef, chopped liver, and classic cookies. We thought we lost them after a fire, but they came back stronger than ever, with a new eating area and better flow. Stop in for a sandwich on Chicago’s best corn rye bread, pick up a deli tray, or grab fixin’s for a brunch the whole family will love.

    MANA Food Bar-- MANA is a vegetarian restaurant where you don’t miss the meat. No vegetable-based substances dressed up to look like meat, just well-conceived and well-executed food. A small, beautiful place to spend an evening drinking and having small plates, with chef-driven food drawing from Asian, European, Latin, and American flavors. Whether it’s curry, tamales, house-made pickles, or pierogi, there’s plenty for everyone.

    New Asia-- New Asia, an unassuming little hole-in-the-wall, stands out from other local Vietnamese restaurants, not only for its distance from Argyle Street, but in the freshness of its ingredients and hearty, country-style Vietnamese comfort food. Feast on bowls of oxtail pho, beef with mustard greens, and goi ga – a chewy yet moist chicken salad chock full with herbs, cabbage, and peanuts. This is Vietnamese for the Vietnamese; welcoming all to experience what this exciting cuisine has to offer.

    Publican Quality Meats-- Everything is made from scratch with imagination and commitment at Publican Quality Meats, a showcase of the best that carnivores and herbivores can source and craft in Chicagoland. Sandwiches are a collision of unctuous grilled meats and crisp slaws and relishes, salads a curation of area farms, and soups and stews redolent of pulses and good olive oil. House breads and cookies are noteworthy, and chorizo, chops, and porchetta are highlights to go along with shelves stocked for thoughtful shopping.

    Redhot Ranch (Ashland Location)-- Redhot Ranch builds on the best tradition of Chicago hot dog stands – natural casing dogs, crisp hand-cut fries, deft handling of condiments and customers – with addictive, homemade fried shrimp, and a signature griddled burger that compares favorably with the offerings of both the chef-driven pubs and most coveted national chains. The crisp-edged, well-seasoned cheeseburgers are one of the city’s great values and true delights.

    Spicy Thai Lao-- Spicy Thai Lao takes the taste buds by storm, its sour and crisp and herbal sensations creating paths in your brain that force your body to travel south from any part of the city. Take the turmeric-tinged eggrolls with scratch peanut-studded dipping sauce. Are these the best in town? Fresh som tum and other salads bring a nuclear-level heat if you request it, and the contrasting textures in the beef pad tamin can’t be replicated anywhere else.

    Sportsman's Club-- Even in a cozy space, Sportsman’s Club expands the horizons of what a great neighborhood bar can be. They retain great talent, with a knowledgeable team preparing an ever-rotating menu of four perfectly balanced cocktails and amari along with their signature ode to bourbon, and equally happy to sling a High Life and whiskey shot in the comfortable surrounds. The menu is secondary only to the gathering, where thoughtful music, friendly games, and an open mind to community causes carry the day.

    Taza Bakery-- Taza Bakery is a portal to the Middle East; the sun rises in everything coming out of their ovens, from stellar flatbreads to substantial samoun to fragrant spinach pies. As good as they are with doughs, they excel with spreads, from herbaceous zaatar to the sweet roasted flavors of muhammara and lemon-drenched crumbles of soujouk sausage. Shawerma is beautifully charred and moist, and pairs so well with fresh-squeezed juices, yogurt, and honey-rich kanafeh. Whether carryout or dine-in under the gaze of the bakers, Taza is freshly savored.

    Wells Brothers Italian Bar and Restaurant-- Wells Brothers has a crust, sausage, and welcome that is collectively so good Chicagoans cross the border by carloads to embrace it. Start with a caramelized house sausage and tangy-crisp giardiniera – order it well-done if you like, though they may give you the business – and you will understand the allure of the “tavern thin” pizza archetype. True Wisconsin mozzarella-blanketed antipasti is a throwback worth the drive, and you might find a game of cribbage as well.
  • Post #2 - March 26th, 2015, 1:36 pm
    Post #2 - March 26th, 2015, 1:36 pm Post #2 - March 26th, 2015, 1:36 pm
    Wow, take a few minutes and check out this awesome collection. Photos are great and this post will make any lunch you're now eating in your office seem so sad.

    Turkob, your efforts are appreciated! Thank you. I've eaten at Mana Food Bar and can't wait to return, but lots of new places to explore too. Nice work.
  • Post #3 - September 21st, 2015, 5:40 pm
    Post #3 - September 21st, 2015, 5:40 pm Post #3 - September 21st, 2015, 5:40 pm
    Quick question, are there any major differences between the Ashland Ave and Western Ave locations of Red Hot Ranch? I thought the menu was the same between both locations, but maybe there are some minor differences I didn't realize(beyond say, if one location is open later than the other).

    I always love looking at the GNR lists, that LTH publishes every year. One day, I'll finally get to Jimmy Jamm's for myself! That's been on my mental list of food places to try, for too many years. *sigh*
  • Post #4 - September 21st, 2015, 5:51 pm
    Post #4 - September 21st, 2015, 5:51 pm Post #4 - September 21st, 2015, 5:51 pm
    dumpstermcnuggets wrote:Quick question, are there any major differences between the Ashland Ave and Western Ave locations of Red Hot Ranch? I thought the menu was the same between both locations, but maybe there are some minor differences I didn't realize(beyond say, if one location is open later than the other).

    I always love looking at the GNR lists, that LTH publishes every year. One day, I'll finally get to Jimmy Jamm's for myself! That's been on my mental list of food places to try, for too many years. *sigh*


    HUGE difference. While the dogs, shrimp and fries are the same at both places, only the Ashland Ave location has burgers.

    Both are GNRs in their own right.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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