Relive This Year’s Picnic

When the community was young, those of us who were part of it felt a sense of discovery whenever we interacted closely with one another.

Yes, everyone knew we were interested in restaurant dining. But it quickly became apparent (through the Cooking & Shopping forum) that was abundant with terrific bakers, beverage innovators, cooks, home brewers, picklers and pitmasters. Even the more modest cooks were quite discerning about where they shopped for baked goods and carry-out food.

So, to create an opportunity for sampling each other’s creations and unique food sources, birthed an egalitarian all-for-one-and-one-for-all picnic. Everyone brings a dish, effectively helping to host the event and make it unique. A picnic permit and piñata are paid for through a few dollars tacked on to the price of the Holiday Party.

The LTHForum Annual Picnic is a gift that keeps on giving. Come, sit down, and eat your food!

Click Here to read about the 2013 Picnic which was held on Sunday 9/22/13 at LaBaugh Woods.

Thanks to Catherine Lambrecht (Cathy2) for writing this page.


Homepage Archive

Here is an archive of our recent Homepage Articles.

Home Cookin' 4: A Conversation with Steve Zaransky

By Alan Lake (Jazzfood)


Alan Lake: Let’s go back to early Steve food memories.   Steve Zaransky: My dad was in the hotel business, which gave me a lot of exposure - but really, the earliest memories with food were of my mom cooking. I would sit on this little chair in front of the oven window watching choux pastry rise. Like it was a TV. I just couldn’t believe that this was happening in the oven in front of me. I was five or six and totally into watching this. My mom’s a great cook; she cranked out great dinners on a daily basis. She was a stay-at-home mom, who cooked full dinners for the family every night. That formed the memories for what she still cooks today.

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Home Cookin' 4: A Conversation with Ronnie Suburban

By Alan Lake (Jazzfood)


Alan Lake: Give me some background into your food illness. What started you on your path? Ronnie Suburban: My dad was a deli man. His first job, when he was 14 - you know when Jews were still on the South Side of Chicago - he was in high school and had a job working at a deli. He loved it! And before that, my grandfather was a kosher butcher. He had a shop on 77th and Jeffery. So it was in the family on that side. My dad wasn’t a particularly well-versed guy with food, but what he loved, he loved to share. I remember certain sandwiches he would make, or certain things he would cook for us...I mean, he had a limited repertoire but certain things obviously meant something more to him.

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Eating and The Beautiful Game: Top-Notch U.K.-Style Scarfing for Soccer

By Kari Lloyd (apopquizkid)

arsenalfootballfans It’s often been said that America and the U.K. are two nations divided by a common language. The Brits say “football,” we Americans say “soccer.” We say “tomato,” they say… er… “tomato.” Though a worldwide passion since the Stone Age, U.S. sports fans have only begun to embrace “the beautiful game” called soccer, particularly the teams of the English Premier League. The origins of modern-day soccer are said to have sprouted up in England in the 1800s, and the eating traditions surrounding the game are almost as deep and rich as the history of the game itself. While we here in the U.S. tend to stick with our wings and hot dogs no matter what sport we’re viewing, soccer games are a good opportunity to bask in a cultural exchange of sorts.

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Jewels from the Garden: The Story Behind Carl's Glass Gems

By Katje Sabin (mamagotcha)

The picture that started it all.
In May of 2012, the above photo of an ear of corn featuring astonishingly psychedelic colors made the rounds on the Internet. "NOT PHOTOSHOPPED!" blared the blogs. Being a rainbow aficionado myself, I briefly toyed with the idea of tracking down the seeds of this marvelous grain so I could grow it, but I didn't yet have a dedicated garden space. Besides, it wasn't yet commercially available.
These arrived in a plain, unmarked envelope.
Later that year, I dug out three little 4'x4' garden boxes in my backyard, with permission from my landlord, and started dreaming about what to grow in it. The tiny amount of the fabulous corn seed available for the year was already sold out from the only company legitimately selling it, but I decided to take my chances with an eBay seller. Finally I had my hands on a tiny Ziploc baggie filled with a few dozen nondescript nuggets of what looked like run-of-the-mill Indian corn. The whole episode had a slightly...ahem...seedy feel to it. I really had no idea where this corn had come from. The seller was new, and I wondered whether I'd let myself be ripped off, but there were no more seeds to be found and I decided to take the gamble. I planted them in May of 2013 and crossed my fingers.

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Italian Journal: A Tale of Two Classes

By Jay Martini (jnm123)

image1city For my 30th wedding anniversary, I wanted to prove that there was more to the planet than New York City or Las Vegas. I wanted to bust preconceptions and welcome the unexpected. So my wife and I did Italy - or, more specifically, as much of Italy as one can do in eight days. For years, I had been regaled with stories from friends and business colleagues about the history, the paintings, the cathedrals, the sculptures, but mostly the food. The food!  My goodness, the way they went on about what they consumed over there, I enviously began to think that some new series of tastes and flavors had been discovered. And while I thought I was a pretty decent cook of all things Italian, I had always wondered what was lost in the translation from there to here. So, we wanted the focus of the trip to be a couple of cooking classes. After exploring websites and finding guided culinary adventures online, my wife and I eventually decided - with a certain amount of trepidation - to go it alone. We chose, for our first class, the exotic semi-tropical island of Sicily. And then we chose a second class in Chianti, the better to experience diverse regional cooking within the same country.

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In a pickle: What's up with green relish?

By Katje Sabin (mamagotcha)

katjerelish When I first landed on the Northwest Side four years ago, my sister quickly planned a trip to visit Chicago for the first time. And one of the ways she and I get our bearings in a new place is to dig in to the traditional foods of the area. So, naturally, our first foray into my new hometown's offerings included a pilgrimage to Superdawg. There was also much sampling of pizza, Italian beef, giardiniera, and — Chicago being the largest Polish-populated city outside of Warsaw — a healthy dose of pierogies and paczki. But the one item she chose to make room for in her luggage on the return trip? A jar of the neon-green Chicago-style sweet relish that had adorned her hot dog.

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The biscuit rose de Reims: A traditional French treat

By David Hammond (David Hammond)

Rose biscuit, courtesy David Hammond(1)

Some food items are so particular to a region that they’ve become edible icons representing a tradition and a way of life - points of personal identification for residents, almost as sacred as a national flag. One of these, out of France, is the beautifully-colored biscuit rose de Reims, or rose biscuit. Rose biscuits have been produced in Reims, France, since 1691. Once, dozens of bakeries made them, but production took predictable hits during World Wars I and II. Now, the only remaining producer of rose biscuits in Reims is Maison Fossier.

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In Search of the Jim Shoe

By Peter Engler (Rene G)

intro-shoosign People eat differently on the South Side. If you don't believe that, try to find a Mother in Law, Big Baby, or Freddy north of Madison Street. Another sandwich, also likely unfamiliar to most Northsiders, is currently spreading around the South Side and beyond. Ten or fifteen years ago I found a menu from a South Side sub shop slipped into my front gate. It listed all the familiar local treats: subs stuffed with beef (either "roast" or "corn"); gyros (usually pronounced GUY-ro); and super tacos (ground beef, lettuce, and tomatoes, all folded into a pita). But there was also a sandwich I'd never heard of then: the Jim Shoe. In the next few years I would notice that name on menus or window signs of other sub shops. Clearly the Jim Shoe wasn't found at only one or two places. After I had completed an initial investigation into the Mother-in-Law (a tamale with chili, usually served on a hot dog bun), I decided to take on the Jim Shoe. Where did it originate? How did it get that peculiar name? Little did I know that after nearly a decade and dozens of Shoes, I'd still be asking those same questions.

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Our Story

We at come here because we love food. We love to eat, we love to cook, we love to discuss food – and we believe that by sharing our experiences and knowledge we will all eat better. Those of us who have been here a long time have seen ample evidence of the truth of this.

We also come here because we like to meet for meals. Most of us prefer the perfect little hole-in-the-wall shack that serves unusual (to us) cuisine, prepared and explained by the owner and cook, often while his/her kids are doing their homework at the table in back. That does not mean we do not enjoy fine dining – we certainly do. But our first love is finding original, delicious experiences that take us to new places, even if we physically remain in Chicago. We actively seek out new food, new neighborhoods, new countries, new cultures.

We engage with our food by understanding how it is grown, how it is made, what went into it, and where it came from. To that end, we really like places where the people producing the food will engage with us and share what they know.

And whether you’re an explorer who always wants to be first to try the new tripe taco in Humboldt Park, or the person who prefers to visit the taqueria after you get word from someone you trust, we welcome you.

We encourage you to join our discussion.

Our focus is, first and foremost, what’s on the plate. And if there’s a dish you wish to investigate, there’s probably someone here who knows all about it – where it came from, how it’s been modified, and how it relates to other dishes and traditions. You might even find that a discussion about it has taken place already.

We are not a place where people come to glamorize what they eat, attack others about their tastes or thoughts, complain about service (much) or make grabs at attention. But we are interested, and we are thorough. If you choose to post on and share your experiences and opinions, you’ll be asked to explain what you ate and why you feel how you feel. We like context, because it helps us to understand where you’re coming from and what your contributions to our community will be.

It’s this that differentiates us from other, more anonymous sites – and makes the community what it is.

How It All Began was founded in 2004 by a bunch of Chicago refugees from another food discussion site, Chowhound. We took issue with some of Chowhound’s more restrictive policies, and decided to strike out on our own. From the beginning, was meant to be inclusive and open, despite our members’ strong – and often disparate – opinions about food.

One night in 2004, about 14 people met for dinner at Little Three Happiness, the café in Chicago’s Chinatown that also gave us our name. The result of that meeting was We all agreed to move our posts here, and these 14 people became the new site’s moderators. None of us knew what to expect going forward, but we knew we would continue to share our thoughts and break bread together.

Then, in 2006, the Great Neighborhood Restaurant Program was started to create a crowd-sourced guide to what we think are some of the best places to eat in and around Chicago. It is a crazy, random, eclectic, idiosyncratic and delicious mix of places.

While the food world – and the whole world – has changed a lot around us, has remained an active and thriving community, evolving along with it. We’ve explored slow food, local food, farmers markets and much more as the city’s culinary offerings have exploded. Today, Chicago-based food explorers have more choice, quality, and information than ever, and reflects that too. We even discuss eating healthy at times, though most of us share the belief that healthy food can and should still be delicious.

Naturally, over time the group running the site has changed. It has always been a labor of love, run by a central core of volunteers and often funded by them as well. At this point, most of the founders have left their day-to-day roles at, but still participate in the conversation. Other members have left Chicago, but remained attached to this community.

In 2011, the site was acquired by the present owners, three long-time members (see Meet the Team). Their intent was simple – respect the culture of the site, update its look and feel to make it more attractive and welcoming, and put the site on a firm financial footing by selectively attracting simpatico sponsors and advertisers to underwrite it. With the release of this updated site in July, 2013, we are getting close to achieving those goals.

Although we could not have foreseen the path would take when we started it almost a decade ago, one thing hasn’t changed. We are still explorers, on a mission to discover food and promote it to the world. And whatever success and influence this site has achieved comes from our simple formula: Shop, cook, and eat well; then, please come and tell us all about it.

Join us!

Meet the Team


David Hammond (David Hammond) is a corporate communications writer/consultant and a founder/lead moderator of Hammond writes weekly food and travel columns for the Chicago Sun-Times and Wednesday Journal and produces radio segments for “Eight Forty-Eight” and “Worldview” (Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ 91.5FM). He also contributes to Chicago Collection, Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune, The Local Beet website, Reforma (Mexico City), Timeout Chicago, Where Magazine and the WildJunket blog.

Catherine Lambrecht (Cathy2) is a founder and lead moderator of In addition to initiating LTH’s holiday party and annual picnic, she boasts a list of accomplishments any foodie would envy. She founded the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance, acted as program chair of the Chicago Foodways Roundtable of Culinary Historians of Chicago, and has performed duties as president of both the Illinois Mycological Society and the Highland Park Historical Society. She is also proud to have been a Master Gardener, a Master Food Preserver and Vice Chair of the Advisory Council for the University of Illinois Extension at Grayslake, as well as a Vice President of the Lake County Extension Foundation.


Dominic Armato (Dmnkly) is extremely jealous of most of you. A member of since ’05, he now lives halfway across the country in Phoenix, Ariz., and is appropriately charged with overseeing the Beyond Chicagoland forum. So while Dominic laments his distance, he’s extremely jazzed to still be able to contribute to the forum that did so much to shape his food appreciation, in the niche that seems most appropriate. Beyond the keyboard, he helps operate a family packaging business, does his best on a daily basis to mold his two kids into fine, upstanding youngsters with excellent palates, and occasionally finds himself in a recording studio portraying a popular wannabe pirate (it’s a long story…just Google him). He’s both honored and humbled to be an LTH mod, and hopes he can give back just a fraction of what the community has given to him.

Matthew Dean (Santander), moderator, had a culinary awakening in the city of Santander, Spain, while conducting archaeological fieldwork; since then, saffron, smoked paprika, squid ink and lemon peel have flavored many of his experiences. Dubbed “The Pizza Professor” by Chicago Sun-Times journalist Mike Nagrant, he came by his knowledge honestly, having grown up around Calabrese cuisine and experienced it from basement ovens to the Taste of Melrose Park. Matt is a longtime Great Neighborhood Restaurants committee member and enjoyer of late-night LTH dinners. He works at The University of Chicago and is a professional singer (, among others), producing interfaith concert events in his spare time. His young Oak Park-based family is sustained largely by Freddy’s Pizzeria and Cemitas Puebla.

Mary Godlewski (The GP), a Chicago resident born and raised in Oak Park, learned much from her parents about food. Her parents had a catering business on the side, and her father especially was not afraid to try new foods – if a client group’s guest speaker was from West Africa, he’d cook a West African meal. Seeking out good food has been a family tradition: on their way to the grocery store in upstate New York to get dinner fixings, she and her father just had to stop at the hot dog cart first. And when Mary studied in France in college, she and a friend went on a quest to find the best chocolate éclair in Rennes. Mary’s screen name stands for the “Godlewski Planner,” because she has a tendency to organize activities and mentally keep track of others’ calendars – a skill/curse that makes her a perfect office manager in real life, and a fine choice to take on a more public role for, her comfortable online home. Her father would be proud.

Darren Lubotsky’s (Darren72) Chicago food roots run deep. His great-great grandfather’s first occupation when he arrived in America was as a horseradish grater at the Maxwell Street Market. Darren’s interest in sharing his love of food and cooking began early. By age 10 he had hosted several underground breakfasts for his family, preparing delicacies such as cottage cheese pancakes, French toast, and a fusion of oatmeal, mustard, and peanut butter that was deemed to be ahead of its time. Later, he changed careers – he is now an economics professor – but still moonlights at home as an amateur pitmaster, bread baker and coffee roaster. Darren has been a member of since 2006 and is in his rookie year as a moderator. He credits LTH for helping him find countless hidden restaurant gems and make some great friends along the way. He lives in Andersonville with his wife, Beth, and his incomparable Airedale, Walter.


Helen Lee (nukegirl) is an editor and social media junkie who has been writing about Chicago and its restaurant scene since 2008. She learned to love food from a mother who used chopsticks as her only kitchen tool and a father who enjoyed traveling around Kansas searching for the best fried chicken. She would love nothing more than to go visit every single GNR. Her work has appeared in numerous blogs and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune syndicated network, Chicago Windy City Guide, and Hungry? Chicago (2009). She lives in the north suburbs with her eight-year-old son.


When Ron Kaplan (ronnie_suburban) isn’t eating, cooking, photographing food or writing about it, he’s busy at work selling all-natural ingredients to various segments of the food industry. The son of a South-side deli man – and grandson of a Kosher butcher – he’s been getting his grub on since before he could walk. Living for two years in New Orleans in the early ‘80s further reinforced his unending love for all things culinary. His Internet-food connection began in 2001 when he stumbled upon It was obsession at first sight. After a multi-year stint there as both a host and manager, he turned his focus to, where he’s been a member since May 2004. In 2008 he was named an LTH moderator and was also dubbed “The Food Geek” by Chicago Magazine. He’s currently a member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America and the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and is a certified Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. He lives in north suburban Chicago with his wife and son.

Matt Miller (milz50) The new co-owner of LTH Forum. His bio is coming soon.



Q. What the heck does LTH stand for?
Q. What can I find here?
Q. How do I use the search function?
Q. How do I quickly find some “can’t miss” places?
Q. What are’s guidelines for posting content?
Q. What’s the best way to get good restaurant recommendations from the community?
Q. How do I start a new thread?
Q. Can I edit my posts?
Q. How do I create a link/quote someone/add images?
Q. What else should I know before I get started?

Q. What the heck does LTH stand for?

One night in 2004, around 14 people met for dinner at Little Three Happiness, a cafe in Chicago’s Chinatown, to begin a chat site focused on food. This restaurant also gave our site its name. For more about what it all means, check out Our Story.

Q. What can I find here?

Well, it wouldn’t be much fun if we just told you. Exploring the site and making discoveries is one of its joys. But basically, is a Chicago-based chat site focused on all things culinary. The site encompasses forums that discuss food, drink, gardening, cooking, professional issues, where to eat outside the Chicago area, and local events. You can also find our list of Great Neighborhood Restaurants and Resources, featuring restaurants our membership has felt are deserving of recognition. You do not have to become a member to look around, but you should if you want to post.

Q. How do I use the search function?

You can find a search button at the top of each page. When you click on that button, it shows you a search box. If you put text in there, you are using Google to search all information on Below that box is a link to the internal board search. This is what you should use if you just want to search forum topics.

Once you have your search results, or any time you are looking at a list of post topics, you can preview the first post in that topic by holding your cursor over the topic.

Q. How do I quickly find some “can’t miss” places?

We suggest the Great Neighborhood Restaurants section of our site.

Q. What are’s guidelines for posting content?

Be civil. Be relevant.

That, in a nutshell, is the posting policy. No obscenity, no going off-topic, no shilling (if you’re associated with a restaurant or business you’re discussing, disclose it, please). And be excellent to one another. For details, please visit the Posting Guidelines.

Please note that some sections of also contain their own specific guidelines on posting types of content. For reference, use these links:

Tips and Guidelines for Event Planners and Attendees
Posting Recipes
Read before posting about health code violations or other violations of law

Q. What’s the best way to get good restaurant recommendations from the community?

If you’re looking for the answer to an inquiry, try to be as specific as possible in your question so that you get answers within your parameters. Thinking about the following questions might be helpful:

  • What are your food preferences (and dislikes), especially in terms of cuisine and restaurant ambiance?
  • What is your budget in general terms (but remember “moderately” priced means different things to different people)?
  • Where will you be staying and what transportation do you have?
  • What is the size of your party? (are you alone, do you need a restaurant for 30?)
  • What decor or vibe do you prefer? (Loud, quiet, romantic, child-friendly)
  • Are you coming for any special occasion? (Bachelorette weekend, College visit)
  • Do you have particular time constraints? (Breakfast, Brunch, Drinks, All-nighters)
  • Does anyone in your party have any dietary restrictions? Is anyone vegetarian, or do they have allergies?
  • Would you feel uncomfortable in any neighborhood or type of restaurant? This may be particularly important in terms of selecting cocktail lounges, bars, or taverns.
  • If a stranger was visiting your town and wanted information, what would you wish to know to help him/her choose?

When you have provided the information, wait for responses to flow in and be prepared to pick through differing opinions.

Q. How do I start a new thread?

Before you start a new thread, use the search engine to check whether a thread already exists on the restaurant or topic you’d like to discuss. Even if the last post about a particular restaurant was in 2006, we prefer that you add to that thread rather than starting a new one. Adding to existing threads makes it easier for other users to easily find everything that has been posted about a topic.

To start a new thread, first choose the appropriate forum from the Board Index, such as Eating Out in Chicagoland or Something to Drink. Go to that forum and then click “New Topic” on the left side of the page. The first thing you’ll do is enter a title for the thread in the box that says “Subject.” Choose a title that will be descriptive enough to let readers know what the thread is about. A thread on a particular restaurant should have the name of the restaurant and perhaps a few descriptive words, like “Nha Hang Viet Nam – Vietnamese on Argyle.” Finally, when you start a new thread about a restaurant, your initial post should contain the contact information for the place – usually, this is listed at the end of your text.

Q. Can I edit my posts?

Yes. This feature is available on every post. Please don’t abuse this power; make meaningful, useful, and minor edits to your existing posts. Keep continuity in mind and do not remove large portions of content. Also, keep in mind that when you edit, other readers are not necessarily notified of what’s been updated. Please err on the side of adding to a thread, rather than editing a post. Any posts that are altered or removed using the “Edit” feature can and may be restored at the moderators’ discretion.

Q. How do I create a link/quote someone/add images?

For information on how to do something in one of your posts, visit the New Look and Operation thread. You can also check our Reference section or our Site Chat board, both of which are listed under Resources, if you’re still confused.

Q. How do I send a private message to someone? What can I send?

You need to be a registered member of in order to send private messages. The Private Message system built into is a courtesy intended to facilitate certain minor forms of communication between participants that would not be of interest to the full community.

It is not intended to:

  • Enable people to attack others out of sight of the moderators or the community, in a way that would not be allowed on the public boards
  • Enable non-participants to be part of the community, while denying their knowledge and input to the whole

Every aspect of the community at is an outgrowth of the public boards. Participation in any other aspect assumes, in good faith, willing contribution to the board’s primary function.

We have the ability to monitor misuse of the private messaging system, and reserve the right to take action to restrict or terminate privileges as we see fit when we observe activity contrary to the civility and spirit of as a whole.

Q. What else should I know before I get started? is a community. Even though much of our conversation is online, this site was never intended to be purely virtual. We like to eat and we like to gather and we especially like to do both together. And we hope you do too! Please scan the events board to see where and when LTHers are gathering, and (pretty) please join us. Don’t be intimidated because some folks already know each other – there are new faces at each and every gathering.

New to the Site?

If you’ve never been here before, you might be wondering what to look for and where to start. First of all, is a rich and deep resource for all who love food, whether they’ve lived in Chicago for decades or have just moved here. With thousands of members, hundreds of thousands of posts, and years of history encompassed within this site, it can seem intimidating to get involved. But it isn’t. Our members have a vast collective knowledge of what Chicago has to offer, and they’re pretty friendly and willing to share. can help you find the best places to eat, or locate sources for food and equipment to prepare your own meals. But it excels at spotlighting neighborhood, specialty, ethnic, authentic and inexpensive cuisine. So think of the site as a starting point for finding smaller, local restaurants that will really give you a sense of Chicago culture.

To begin, you can jump right into our forums and see what people are talking about within a number of categories. Or you can utilize the search engine, if you want to find informal reviews for a particular restaurant or find a specific type of cuisine. Or, if you’re open to new and stellar eating experiences, examine the Great Neighborhood Restaurants, a diverse set of restaurants in the area that our members love. Visit our Complete List of Great Neighborhood Restaurants to get started. There’s a Google map of them as well.

If you are inspired to post, please start with our FAQ and familiarize yourself with our Posting Guidelines. To make an inquiry, be as specific as possible about what you are looking for. We encourage everyone to join up and become a member – participate, and enjoy.

But basically, be topical and be courteous. This is a community, and like the city of Chicago,’s strength comes from each member’s differences – but this can only work if we respect each other and draw from one another’s experiences in a constructive and affirming way.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Welcome to!

Great Neighborhood Restaurants & Resources

The Great Neighborhood Restaurants and Resources are a crazy mish-mash of great places, nominated by members of and chosen by all of us. They started as an answer to the one question we always get – “Can you tell us what places you love?” and have grown to become a full list of spots we love and are happy to recommend to anyone. These are destinations all over Chicagoland, restaurants to try if you want to get a true sense of the depth and breadth of the food scene in our city.

Sure, each GNR has great food – or, in the case of a resource, great products to offer. However, some of them are uniformly great, while others have one or two can’t-miss specialties surrounded by other things that are not so special. So be sure to read the notes about any GNR you are considering; that way, you’ll know why it is a GNR and what we love about it.

The list is more skewed toward little neighborhood joints than fancy-schmancy gourmet spots, but there are some of each –  and the distinctions between them get more and more blurred with each year that passes. So pick a place or two or twenty, try them out, and let us know what you think. And maybe next year you can help us choose the new and renewed GNRs.

[lthbutton link=”″] Visit The GNR Forum [/lthbutton]

Great Neighborhood Restaurants & Resources Google Map

View Great Neighborhood Restaurants in a larger map

Visitors to Chicago

Beyond Pizza, Hot Dogs and Beef

Visiting Chicago?If you’re a visitor to Chicago, ready to explore our myriad tourist attractions and experience the culinary excitement the city has to offer, you probably envision a jaunt to Gino’s East or Pizzeria Uno for deep-dish pizza – a stop at a hot dog stand to get a Chicago-style dog – a side trip for an authentic Italian beef sandwich – or a more elegant visit to a steakhouse like Gene & Georgetti. And if you limited yourself to these famous Windy City traditions, you’d absolutely enjoy some great food and good times in our toddlin’ town. But you’d be missing out.

Chicago has so much more to offer the tourist who is interested in local cuisine. A rich history of immigration has enriched and strengthened the cultural connections that bind the city together, and made the Windy City a vaunted destination for ethnic cuisine, from Mexican, Polish and Italian foods to Soul, Ethiopian and Vietnamese eats. If you’re looking for “real” Chicago, getting past the big downtown names and into the neighborhoods is a must. Enter The Eating Out in Chicagoland forum is a great place to start, or if you’re looking to just cut to the chase, our Great Neighborhood Restaurants & Resources is a list of favorites that is sure to please.

This board is made up of locals as well as folks who are new to the area. We not only know our food, we have a vast collective knowledge of what Chicago has to offer and where to find it. If you just don’t know where to start, or if you want recommendations from people who love to eat here, this is the place to go. And if you like to vet recommendations before following them, you can take a look at the discussions and you can see who likes each place and why they like it. So if your idea of soul food heaven is a place with great fried chicken and delicious giblets and greens, you can find it.

Utilize the search engine, if you want to know about a specific type of cuisine or find more information on a particular restaurant. Or look at the newest posts and threads, to see what’s trending and what’s tried and true. Please remember to be courteous and follow the posting guidelines when you want to participate in the discussion (and we want you to participate!) . This is a community, and like Chicago,’s strength comes from each member’s differences – but this can only work if we respect each other and draw from one another’s experiences in a constructive and affirming way.

Whether you choose to participate in the discussion or just use our collective wisdom to eat much better, know that this is the right place to go to start your culinary adventure. Welcome to and Chicago!