City Stories

Chicago List: Food & Drinks

A girl’s gotta eat, amiright? Chicago, I am learning, is known in some circles for its food scene, home to a slew of Michelin-starred establishments, and a “restaurant row” in the West Loop where more than one Master Chef has set up shop. I’m not sure all that is in the budget, but there are plenty of spots I need to get out to for a bite, a drink or both.

Eataly Chicago – Have you noticed a trend where I compare Chicago experiences to NYC ones? I can’t help it! Checking out Eataly wouldn’t just be doing something like what I did in New York – it’s doing exactly what I did in New York, as this Mario Batali-backed Italian mecca now has its own Chicago outpost. Part market, part cafe, part beer garden, part retail store and cooking school, experiencing Eataly is an event in and of itself, one I’d gladly have again. And again.

Brown Trout / Fountainhead / Insert Local Option Here – I love the neighborhood I landed in. I do not love my lengthy commute to my office in the West Loop, but all is forgiven when I get back to my own little corner of the city, a neighborhood rife with parks and shops and restaurants – lots and lots of restaurants. I’ve made it to many, but there are always more. Brown Trout and Fountainhead are high on my list, as is pretty much every spot I pass every day. 

Ethiopian – Spending years in Indianapolis, I got used to the idea that world cuisine existed, if on a small scale. Looking for Thai? There’s one of those in the city, sure. Since living in the largest metropolis in the country, I’ve been spoiled by the plethora of dining options from all over the planet. One I’ve never conquered is the communal, hands-on experience of Ethiopian, a cuisine Chicago has adopted as one of many diverse options available no matter what neighborhood you’re in. This list is a bit dated, but a good start nonetheless for this culinary adventure.

The Violet Hour – One could consider The Violet Hour a speakeasy, but I don’t think anything this well-appointed hideaway is doing is meant to make it unapproachable or exclusive. Yes, they’ve got house rules – I could see how that would keep some revelers away. And yet, those same rules seem pretty reasonable to me, all the better to enjoy their craft cocktails with fantastic names like “Sideshow on the Mainstage,” “Juliet and Romeo,” and “Easy with Eyes Closed.” 

Rainbo Club – Cheap drinks, good people watching. Sign me up.