Cheryl’s Chicago Restaurant Picks Chicago is where shredded wheat, Cracker Jacks, Aunt Jemima pancakes, and the hamburger were introduced during the World’s Fair in 1893. Today it has become a city full of fine restaurants, ethnic eateries, and hip cafes with organic/locally grown foods. I have not been fortunate enough to dine at all ... Features
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Features  |   September 01, 2008
Cheryl’s Chicago Restaurant Picks
Author Notes
  • Cheryl Russell, director of conventions and meetings, can be reached at crussell@asha.org.
    Cheryl Russell, director of conventions and meetings, can be reached at crussell@asha.org.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Features
Features   |   September 01, 2008
Cheryl’s Chicago Restaurant Picks
The ASHA Leader, September 2008, Vol. 13, 37. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR5.13122008.37
The ASHA Leader, September 2008, Vol. 13, 37. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR5.13122008.37
Chicago is where shredded wheat, Cracker Jacks, Aunt Jemima pancakes, and the hamburger were introduced during the World’s Fair in 1893. Today it has become a city full of fine restaurants, ethnic eateries, and hip cafes with organic/locally grown foods.
I have not been fortunate enough to dine at all the restaurants listed; however, my friend Mark Theis, executive vice president of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, has provided some of his favorites.
Following are some restaurants ranging from fine dining to casual eateries. I hope you can find time to enjoy a good meal during the ASHA Convention!
Charlie Trotter’s
816 W. ArmitageAve.; 773-248-6228
At Charlie Trotter’s, recommended by Mark, be prepared to spend your savings and time, relaxing and enjoying more than three hours of dining. A variety of menus offer fresh seasonal foods in small courses—but be aware that with the wine pairings, your bill can get very high. I read one review that listed dinner for two at $600, but reported that the food and wine were great!
Table 52
52 W. Elm St.; 312-573-4000
Chef Art Smith (Oprah’s personal chef for 10 years) opened this restaurant in what was once a carriage house before the 1871 Chicago fire. With only about 13 tables, the restaurant books quickly, so be sure to make your reservations early. The refined Southern menu includes dishes such as squash onion casserole, chicken gumbo, an array of soul food (including house-pickled green tomato slices), three-cheese macaroni—and parmesan cheese biscuits served as you are seated!
Tru
676 N. St. Claire St.; 312-202-0001
Rated one of the top 40 U.S. restaurants, this modern, chic restaurant offers a three-course, prix fixe menu at $95 (more items can be added). Tru also has a special lounge with à la carte menu. The menu—French with a twist—offers dishes such as black truffle risotto with fava beans and lobster. Tru offers a few late-night reservations, subject to availability, for its $25 three-course dessert-tasting menu.
Follia
953 W. Fulton Market; 312-243-2888
The owner of this authentic Italian restaurant is from a Milan fashion family; the restaurant décor includes stylishly dressed mannequins and art and fashion by local college students. The frequently changing menu includes wonderful thin-crust pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens and rich homemade desserts.
Grand Lux Café
600 N. Michigan Ave. (entrance on Ontario Street); 312-276-2500
Located on the Magnificent Mile (an easy stop after shopping), Grand Lux does not take reservations; we waited about 10 minutes for a table. The reasonably priced menu includes classic American and European dishes of generous portions. You could share a dish and save room for one of Gran Lux’s fresh-baked desserts, such as molten chocolate cake or warm chocolate-chip pecan cookies.
Green Zebra
1460 W. Chicago Ave.; 312-243-7100
This restaurant is highly recommended by Mark and others. It is vegetarian with some fish dishes. A $55/person chef’s tasting menu includes four dishes and a dessert. If more than one guest in a party orders the chef’s tasting menu, all receive different items, allowing everyone to sample a greater variety of dishes.
Mercat a la Planxa
638 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-765-0524
Mercat, located in the Blackstone Hotel next to the Chicago Hilton, is a delightful restaurant with excellent service. The tapas are inventive and wonderful. Chef José Garoes recently taped an Iron Chef challenge for the Food Network, scheduled to air in the fall. A group of six or more may order the chef’s selection of the evening, with a great sampling of meats, vegetables, cheeses, and salads.
Park Grill at Millennium Park
11 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-521-PARK
In the warmer months, the Park Grill has outdoor seating; in November there will be ice skating. Although the restaurant has low ceilings and is a bit crowded, the food was good and service excellent. The American menu includes a few creative items, such as peppercorn-crusted kobe burger on a pretzel bun.
Webber Grill
539 N. State St.; 312-467-9696
This reasonably priced, casual steak/burger restaurant, owned by the folks who manufacture the outdoor grill, is fun for a group. Slow-smoked barbecued pork, turkey, and brisket platters are the main courses.
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