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Chow near McCormick Place, and beyond...

Chow near McCormick Place, and beyond...
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  • Chow near McCormick Place, and beyond...

    Post #1 - August 13th, 2004, 5:02 pm
    Post #1 - August 13th, 2004, 5:02 pm Post #1 - August 13th, 2004, 5:02 pm
    Lakeside Technology Center, previously owned by the Carlyle Group of Bush Sr etc fame, is a 1.1 million square foot complex just south of the McCormick Place Hyatt. Thousands of websites and other businesses have their servers here, and every major ISP and telecom provider has a presence here, as well.

    There are a few hardships to endure while working in the 'cage': it's extremely noisy, it takes 5 handscans and two security desks to get to the equipment, and the air conditioning keeps the area at a balmy 55 degrees. The worst, though, is the complete wasteland for eating that is the eastern end of Cermak.

    When I'm not driving here, I'm pretty much limited to Chef Luciano's.

    Chef Gupta is still doing well by the place. The fried chicken is tasty, the chicken caesar salad is helped along by a very good garlicky dressing and roasted chicken breast, and the linguini with pesto is far better than you'd expect.

    The potato wedges, unfortunately, are hit-or-miss. It's a shame, because when they're on, they're fantastic, but lately some of the batches have had far too much caraway seed in the batter, leaving a really overwhelming taste.

    It's not particularly cheap, either. The linguini is $11, the chicken caesar is $7.50, and a large lemonade is $2.50. It's very good, however, and I've been known to get a craving for the salad. Don't miss the fried chicken, either.


    On the other end of the spectrum is Jim's. It's not very close to the cage, so I can go there when I have a car only. But for $3 I can get a polish, fries, and a root beer, and it's every bit as satisfying as a meal at Luciano's.


    And in the middle is Chinatown. A little too far to walk (if I want to be there and back in under an hour), but a short bus ride away. Phoenix Dumpling House provides excellent siu loong bao and spicy fried chicken wings, along with the rest of the PDH menu, and is fairly fast and inexpensive, to boot.

    I haven't tried Fitzee's, a rib place nearby, though. It has a big aquarium smoker and an exhaust vent on top, but only once have I gone by and both seen an open sign and smelled ribs smoking. I'd be curious if anyone has been there.

    I'd love recommendations on other places in the area. If there are any.

    Jim's Original Hot Dog
    700 W O Brien St
    Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 733-7820

    Chef Luciano
    48 E Cermak Rd
    Chicago, IL 60616
    (312) 326-0062

    Phoenix Restaurant (and phoenix dumpling house)
    2131 S Archer Ave
    Chicago, IL 60616
    (312) 328-0848

    Lakeside Technology Center
    350 E Cermak Rd
    Chicago, IL 60616
    (312) 567-0900
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #2 - August 14th, 2004, 5:36 am
    Post #2 - August 14th, 2004, 5:36 am Post #2 - August 14th, 2004, 5:36 am
    Ed:

    The cafe housed in the building with the Vietnam veterans' art museum might be worth checking out. I haven't eaten there but have stopped in a couple of times with Amata and Lucantonius to get something to drink and get a snack for the little guy. It's not too far from the 'cage' -- corner of 19th and Indiana -- and when the weather is nice, the little courtyard where the cafe has outdoor tables set up and also the park right next door are beautiful spaces. The park, with its gardens, bunnies, trees and fountains might be a good place to take refuge from the techno world of the cage. There are no benches in the park itself but there are spots where one can sit, e.g., around the main fountain.

    Even if the food at the cafe is just passable, I would be inclined to have lunch there: the place itself is very nourishing, albeit at a spiritual level.

    Antonius
    Last edited by Antonius on August 17th, 2004, 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #3 - August 14th, 2004, 9:25 am
    Post #3 - August 14th, 2004, 9:25 am Post #3 - August 14th, 2004, 9:25 am
    Addenda to Previous Post:

    The name of the cafe I mentioned above, with corrected address, is:

    Cae� Society
    1801 South Indiana
    Chicago 60616
    312-842-4210

    They claim on their menu to be open seven days a week, from 7 or 8 in the morning until 6 in the evening but I would call and check to be sure. Amata tried to stop by there on a Monday recently and it was closed. They offer hot and cold sandwiches, soups, salads, omelets, lasagna and some Mexican items.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #4 - August 17th, 2004, 1:46 am
    Post #4 - August 17th, 2004, 1:46 am Post #4 - August 17th, 2004, 1:46 am
    I haven't tried Fitzee's, a rib place nearby, though. It has a big aquarium smoker and an exhaust vent on top, but only once have I gone by and both seen an open sign and smelled ribs smoking. I'd be curious if anyone has been there.

    I'd love recommendations on other places in the area. If there are any.

    I've been to Fitzee's once, about the sixth stop on a barbecue tour last February. We only tried the tips and weren't terribly impressed. Not much flavor and kind of rubbery texture. Sauce was standard Chicago sweet. Still, I wouldn't completely write it off as a place to try for lunch. If I recall, they have a moderately extensive menu (by southside barbecue standards) so some things are probably better. They even have a table in back you could eat at, a rarity at most southside barbecue places.

    Fitzee's Serious Ribs and Chicken
    2130 S Indiana Av
    Chicago
    312-674-1775

    Another possibly interesting spot very close to McCormick Place is Bon Appetit, an African restaurant. I haven't eaten there but noticed it's still around. You'd better call to be sure though (shades were drawn, possibly because of sun). Looking forward to a report.

    Bon Appetit
    "Homemade Delicious African Cuisine"
    2333 S Michigan Av
    Chicago
    312-326-3079
  • Post #5 - August 18th, 2004, 10:30 am
    Post #5 - August 18th, 2004, 10:30 am Post #5 - August 18th, 2004, 10:30 am
    I've lived in the South Loop for SEVEN LONG YEARS in a food wilderness. Still waiting for the demographics to hit a critical mass so the restaurateurs will feel safer about planting their flag around here. With high rises sprouting like mushrooms in the past year it probably won't be too long now - but I've been saying that for the past five years.

    South City Tavern opened a couple of months ago. They serve lunch and dinner. It's a Roger Greenfield place (Bar Louie, etc.) so wasn't overly excited about it, but anything is welcome. Pretty ambitious menu, wanders over a lot of terrain. But there's quite a bit of Cajun/Creole/Southern influence on the menu - looks like Greenfield is going back to his roots on where he made his first pile of $$$. Ate there a week after it opened and it was just ok.

    Went back for the first time last night and was very impressed - the kitchen has made a lot of strides. Wife and I started with cornbread appetizer, sizable portion comes in a small black iron skillet. Comes to the table hot out of the oven, topped with an big ice cream scoop full of whipped butter. You have to dig in immediately unless you want to whole scoop to melt and cover the whole thing - tempting, but the mental calorie meter is spinning off the charts already. Great cornbread, baked to a nice crunchy crust on top but very moist, tender and slightly sweet inside. The butter is a nice touch.

    The gumbo was much better this time than previous visit. Thickened with a nice dark brown roux, silky and peppery with lots of meat and okra. Came together very well. I've had better but it was very good.

    They have a menu item called "Southern Inspiration" - chef's choice. Last night it was an open-faced thinly shaved roast beef sandwich. Served on top of thin slices of sourdough, covered in brown gravy. Meat and three veg, which were mashed potatoes, collard greens and a mustardy cole slaw. Wow, the roast beef dish was awesome. Melt in your mouth tender and juicy, very flavorful and the gravy was homemade. Mashed were just ok, but the greens and slaw were excellent. Very generous portions, two of us digging away at the this dish couldn't polish it off.

    Waiter was very enthusiastic about the food, which you don't see that often. Chef is from Detroit, which was kind of surprising - but I know there's a big Kentucky/Tennessee population around there which would explain the deft touch. Waiter says he can do magic with ribs, slowcooked in a smoker and homemade BBQ sauce - will have to try them next time. He says the pulled pork is also pretty damn good, and all the sandwiches are worth trying.

    Gioco's been around for awhile thank God. They also serve lunch. They have an excellent Grilled Sausage, Beans & Tuscan Cabbage dish that they only serve at lunch, and the prices are definitley much more reasonable at that time.

    And you've got Harold's right across the street from Luciano's. So it's not totally hopeless around there at lunchtime.

    South City Tavern
    1530 S. State
    312-567-1400

    Gioco
    1312 S. Wabash Ave.
    312-939-3870

    Harold's Chicken Shack
    2111 S. Wabash Ave.
    312-326-5575
  • Post #6 - August 18th, 2004, 10:38 am
    Post #6 - August 18th, 2004, 10:38 am Post #6 - August 18th, 2004, 10:38 am
    Antonius wrote:Even if the food at the cafe is just passable


    My wife and a friend ate there recently, and this was her assessment, for what it's worth. Does seem to be quite a pleasant space, though.

    Just noticed last night, Ed, that the place is on restaurants.com (40% off, by the way, with promo code 83500), which oddly describes it, if I recall correctly, as specializing in burritos and vegetarian sandwiches with everything 95% homemade.
  • Post #7 - August 18th, 2004, 7:05 pm
    Post #7 - August 18th, 2004, 7:05 pm Post #7 - August 18th, 2004, 7:05 pm
    Some updates:

    I left for a late lunch at about 2pm today, and there was tons of smoke pouring out of Fitzee's, making the area smell wonderful. I didn't head in, though, but it's possible they don't start smoking until 1 or 2pm in order to have fresh ribs for the dinner hour. I may try stopping in Friday after work (I'm going to be in Bucktown on Thurs).

    I headed instead to Manny's and had an excellent Pastrami sandwich, pickle, and potato pancake. It's not cheap, but it was very filling and very satisfying, if not nearly as drool-worthy as Langer's.

    -ed

    Fitzee's Serious Ribs & Chicken
    2130 S Indiana Ave
    Chicago, IL 60616
    (312) 674-1775

    Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli
    1141 S Jefferson St
    Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 939-2855
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #8 - August 18th, 2004, 7:34 pm
    Post #8 - August 18th, 2004, 7:34 pm Post #8 - August 18th, 2004, 7:34 pm
    Hi Ed:

    I'd like to re-emphasize the advice from Antonius to call ahead to Cafe Society (312-842-4210; 18th and Indiana) to confirm they are open, if you are interested in trying them one of these days. Lucantonius and I were at the park around Clarke House (aka "bunny house") today as we often are, and wanted to get a snack at Cafe Society around 5:20. They were closed, with no indication of their hours posted. A neighbor walking his dogs said that they usually close "by 3" [late lunchers beware!] but on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday they stay open for dinner "weather permitting."

    I can't imagine how they can build up business if potential customers don't know when or whether they are open.
  • Post #9 - September 13th, 2004, 4:52 pm
    Post #9 - September 13th, 2004, 4:52 pm Post #9 - September 13th, 2004, 4:52 pm
    Revisited South City Tavern after the Bears game, and need to print a retraction of a prior rave. Had a silver- dollar- sized $9 crabcake (not cakes) as appetizer. Ribs were mediocre, pulled pork sandwich was po boy style with lettuce and tomato - wrong, wrong, wrong, and on top of that the pork had the consistency of boiled meat. Must have been sitting in a bbq sauce bath for a couple days.

    Maybe regular chef had Sunday off or has quit, but this was nothing like the meal I had a month ago. 'Tis pity.
  • Post #10 - November 24th, 2004, 9:17 am
    Post #10 - November 24th, 2004, 9:17 am Post #10 - November 24th, 2004, 9:17 am
    Hey Ed, are you still working sometimes at McCormick Place? I drive through that area regularly and thought I'd post a couple updates.

    A sushi "lounge", Triad, has opened on Indiana just north of Cullerton. According to Metromix they are not open for lunch, but perhaps you could hit them for a post work snack. (Karaoke after 11 pm, if you are working really late. :) )

    A casual-looking place, which will surely be open for lunch, is nearly ready to open on State north of Cullerton, between the Bank One branch and the Subway. I believe it will be called Palaggi's.

    Fitzee's barbecue has been having serious problems due to the demolition of the building immediately to the south. (The owner began demolition before the Landmark Commission could consider preserving the building, by the way.) An article in the Chicago Journal a couple months ago reported that Fitzee's water supply had been cut off for a while. After that I saw Fitzee's had posted small signs announcing specials on the Cermak Road side of the scaffolding of the demolition site. But now the building on the corner is nearly gone. I hope Fitzee's can survive.

    Again, I emphasize that I haven't gotten out of my car at these places much less eaten at them. Just drive-by scouting...

    Triad
    1933 S. Indiana Ave.
    312-225-8833
    (from Metromix:) Hours: 5 p.m.-1 a.m., Tuesday-Saturday; 5 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday; closed Monday

    Fitzee's Serious Ribs and Chicken
    2130 S Indiana Av
    Chicago
    312-674-1775
  • Post #11 - November 24th, 2004, 11:16 am
    Post #11 - November 24th, 2004, 11:16 am Post #11 - November 24th, 2004, 11:16 am
    Amata wrote:Hey Ed, are you still working sometimes at McCormick Place? I drive through that area regularly and thought I'd post a couple updates.

    A sushi "lounge", Triad, has opened on Indiana just north of Cullerton. According to Metromix they are not open for lunch, but perhaps you could hit them for a post work snack. (Karaoke after 11 pm, if you are working really late. :) )

    A casual-looking place, which will surely be open for lunch, is nearly ready to open on State north of Cullerton, between the Bank One branch and the Subway. I believe it will be called Palaggi's.

    Fitzee's barbecue has been having serious problems due to the demolition of the building immediately to the south. (The owner began demolition before the Landmark Commission could consider preserving the building, by the way.) An article in the Chicago Journal a couple months ago reported that Fitzee's water supply had been cut off for a while. After that I saw Fitzee's had posted small signs announcing specials on the Cermak Road side of the scaffolding of the demolition site. But now the building on the corner is nearly gone. I hope Fitzee's can survive.

    Again, I emphasize that I haven't gotten out of my car at these places much less eaten at them. Just drive-by scouting...

    Triad
    1933 S. Indiana Ave.
    312-225-8833
    (from Metromix:) Hours: 5 p.m.-1 a.m., Tuesday-Saturday; 5 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday; closed Monday

    Fitzee's Serious Ribs and Chicken
    2130 S Indiana Av
    Chicago
    312-674-1775


    Thanks for the updates :) I don't work there as much lately, but I'm due to have a week in the cage soon. I also noticed that they'd halted demolition on that building for a long time because of permit problems, which I suppose means they didn't consult the landmark commission.

    I only smelled smoke coming out of fitzee's starting at ~1pm.. they're open before then, but it might be last night's leftovers. And now who knows if they'll be open at all.

    The thing I miss most of all while not working there (and I don't miss much) is being able to jet to Manny's for lunch. My wicker park office isn't nearly as convenient to it, and there's no good pastrami to be had near here, it seems.

    -ed
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #12 - August 3rd, 2007, 1:23 pm
    Post #12 - August 3rd, 2007, 1:23 pm Post #12 - August 3rd, 2007, 1:23 pm
    Hi Friends,

    I'm helping to plan a small event/happy hour in November for people attending a trade show at McCormick Place.

    I'd like to find a green, eco-friendly, or organic establishment (partly or in whole) to have the party at that's close to the trade show. I know my options are limited, so that's why I'm asking for your advice.

    I might just end up having it at Butterfly Social Club, which is likely the best option in Chicago--just not at close to McCormick Place as I'd like.

    Thanks so much!
  • Post #13 - August 3rd, 2007, 1:28 pm
    Post #13 - August 3rd, 2007, 1:28 pm Post #13 - August 3rd, 2007, 1:28 pm
    How do you define "close to McCormick Place"? There isn't much close to the convention center period, much less anything green or organic.
  • Post #14 - August 6th, 2007, 9:02 am
    Post #14 - August 6th, 2007, 9:02 am Post #14 - August 6th, 2007, 9:02 am
    That's exactly my point! The obvious ideas are SLoop and Chinatown. Farther than that is fine, but not, say, Heartland Cafe.

    Thanks.
  • Post #15 - August 6th, 2007, 3:11 pm
    Post #15 - August 6th, 2007, 3:11 pm Post #15 - August 6th, 2007, 3:11 pm
    May St. Cafe on Cermak (not to be confused with May St. Market on Grand) isn't "green" in the eco/organic sense, but I know the chef is a big supporter of local farmers and the City Farm Initiantive and he usually has an oddball, seasonal dish or two on the menu. It's a "Latin fusion" menu.

    The restaurant is very West Elm catalogue (nice, but a tad sterile compared to it previous decor), and unfortunately located across from a giant smoke-spewing industrial plant (another strike for eco), but it could be close to what you're looking for--the chef has a side catering business, and could probably work with you on getting more organic stuff for a special menu.

    May St. Cafe
    1146 W Cermak Rd
    Chicago, IL 60608
    (312) 421-4442
  • Post #16 - September 1st, 2007, 12:49 pm
    Post #16 - September 1st, 2007, 12:49 pm Post #16 - September 1st, 2007, 12:49 pm
    Out of town friends will be staying at the Hyatt McCormick Place and we are taking them to dinner on a Sunday night in September. I am looking for a "Chicago" place to go with a budget of about $50 each, less is ok too.
    We took the same couple to Greek Town last year, so something different would be good.
    Taylor street comes to mind and I know there are good places just west of Greek Town.
    Thanks for your suggestions.
    Jamie G
  • Post #17 - September 1st, 2007, 1:48 pm
    Post #17 - September 1st, 2007, 1:48 pm Post #17 - September 1st, 2007, 1:48 pm
    I would take them to Cuatro. They have "Latin fusion cuisine", combining Cuban and other cuisines from Latin America. (Check out the menu on their website using the link below.) Delicious (as well as unusual) food, very lively and fun atmosphere (this is a nice place, not a "hole in the wall"), and should fit within your budget. And it's just a few blocks from their hotel, easily walkable. Open 10-10 on Sundays. On a Sunday evening, you should be able to find free parking on the street without any problem, too.

    cuatro restaurant
    2030 south wabash avenue
    chicago, illinois 60616
    312 842 8856
  • Post #18 - September 1st, 2007, 2:25 pm
    Post #18 - September 1st, 2007, 2:25 pm Post #18 - September 1st, 2007, 2:25 pm
    I second Cuatro. Get the ceviches (especially the vegetarian).

    Other perennial near-McC suggestion: Lao Sze Chuan in Chinatown.
  • Post #19 - September 2nd, 2007, 1:02 pm
    Post #19 - September 2nd, 2007, 1:02 pm Post #19 - September 2nd, 2007, 1:02 pm
    Cuatro is a good choice, but you also might want to try Timo, Butter, Gioco, Oysy. All are good.
    I know you gave a price, but food interests?
    Are these people foodies are they comfort food eaters?
    Do you want to expose them to the bubble aournd the hotel or explore Chicago?
    Let us know. Always happy to help:)
  • Post #20 - September 2nd, 2007, 5:53 pm
    Post #20 - September 2nd, 2007, 5:53 pm Post #20 - September 2nd, 2007, 5:53 pm
    Thanks for the additional suggestions. The dinner is more social than food oriented but a good resturant experience will be a plus.
    We are not at all restricted to the the McCormick bubble as we will be picking them up in a car at the hotel. While there is no specific type of food, I would like to show them something Chicago and maybe a little different. They live in South Carolina and travel a good bit. This Chicago trip is a business trip they make annually.
    I thought Taylor street would be a possible or the newer places west of the loop. I don't get into the city for dinner often and don't know the good places.
    Thanks for any other suggestions if this opens things up a bit.
    Jamie G
  • Post #21 - March 9th, 2010, 11:16 pm
    Post #21 - March 9th, 2010, 11:16 pm Post #21 - March 9th, 2010, 11:16 pm
    We are attending the international House Ware Show Sunday and Monday.
    Sunday we’ll be attending all the festivities the show offers.
    Monday I’m hopping the train solo and meeting up with a few old friends (chefs) to say hello and then I get to launch on my own for a few hours. (After 12:00 or so)
    I feel the need to eat and drink some local fair and may drag an out of town'r buddy from the show along for the experience.
    If you’ all have any suggestions, please, help herd the lost lamb! (baaaaa!)

    Oh yeah, I’m in no big hurry to get back to the northern ‘burbs until 7’ish…

    Thanks!

    Kyle
    Do it right the first time, once.
  • Post #22 - March 9th, 2010, 11:31 pm
    Post #22 - March 9th, 2010, 11:31 pm Post #22 - March 9th, 2010, 11:31 pm
    Cuatro is still there, a five-minute walk from McCormick Place; it's open Sundays, but closed on Mondays. Chinatown is about 3/4 mile away; if you enjoy Szechuan food, I recommend Double Li and Lao Sze Chuan. Any further than that, and you're taking a cab or car or CTA, in which case the entire city is at your disposal.

    Note that your post got merged into an existing topic about food around McCormick Place.
  • Post #23 - March 10th, 2010, 12:00 am
    Post #23 - March 10th, 2010, 12:00 am Post #23 - March 10th, 2010, 12:00 am
    Thanks!
    I'm glad I get several hours to toy around as I don't get to visit down town on fun too often.
    I do plan to do more explorations this year though. Heck the train lands in my back yard.
    I have to admit I am getting worked up for the weekend already!
    There isn't too much I won't eat so the sky's the limit for me.
    It can be high or low scale, not too fussy, just good eats, cold "something" warm company. Happy hour is always a bonus too! :)

    Yeah, I got redirected.......I'm a guy.....I'm learning...........sorry 'bout that...

    Kyle
    Do it right the first time, once.
  • Post #24 - March 10th, 2010, 11:22 pm
    Post #24 - March 10th, 2010, 11:22 pm Post #24 - March 10th, 2010, 11:22 pm
    I copied these suggestions down for the weekend. They are over 3 years old tho...
    We'll have to see who's around unless someone may care to update in the next day or two.
    Thanks kids!
    Do it right the first time, once.

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