During daylight hours, this anchor of the Warehouse District party scene masquerades as a simple bar and restaurant. But on any weekend, the place becomes a holding pen for a unique cross section of clubbers, from gel-headed fratsters to hip-hoppers to suited execs.
Besides offering the usual takeout options, this storefront pizza palace supplies the eats for Hotz Café, next doors vintage tavern, thereby solving the problem of how to entertain your buds when the apartments a mess and the beer is all gone. For a touch of class, a buttery half-head of roasted garlic sits in the center of all the thick-crusted specialty pizzas. Ribs, chicken and salads are available too, along with bar noshes like fried pickles and wings.
As at the other Dave's locations, the decor inside this cosmic sub shop is a shrine to the 60s, full of rock references, hippie music, and good vibrations. The overstuffed subs rock too, built from top-notch ingredients piled inside a crisp-crusted Italian roll. The place is packed at lunch, carryout is strongly recommended and if you are pressed for time, calling ahead would be a grand idea.
Part of a no-frills Illinois chain, the region's first Jimmy John's specializes in plump, fresh, and remarkably inexpensive subs and giant club sandwiches, including several options for vegetarians. And in a tip o' the hat to downtown's remaining workers, JJ's delivers.
A little bit glam, a little bit retro, and entirely fun-loving, this handsome, possibly haunted martini bar brings plenty of flair to downtowns burgeoning entertainment district. Full dinner menu, from upscale noshes to desserts, is also available. Open Friday and Saturday only.
Mexican homecooking can be made palatable to the American masses yearning to breathe fire. The enchiladas, burritos, mole, and hand-clapped tacos translate across the brick city, but each dining room reflects a different neighborhood.
Veteran chef Brandt Evans' Public Square restaurant is a breath of fresh air for downtowners, with a spare decor, an urbane vibe, and rustically refined menus built from local, sustainable ingredients. A stickler for details, Evans pays equal attention to every element of a dish. He does, however, leave room for whimsy, as evidenced by the occasional odd ingredient and deconstructed arrangement. Full bar.
The lights are low and the vibe is friendly inside this snug neighborhood tavern, a recently remodeled gem where the kitchen belts out tasty riffs on all-American bar food, including fresh-ground burgers, zesty fried calamari, and saucy, spicy chicken wings. Besides a solid collection of artisanal brews, the bar serves up inventive cocktails — some with a seasonal twist. Come summer, the secluded patio is the place to be.
Small, bright, and filled with colorful wall murals depicting exotic landscapes, this Arabic restaurant offers a big menu of Lebanese standards, including excellent versions of such mezes as hummus, baba ghannouj and tabbouleh. Plenty of vegetarian options, too.
Made-from-scratch soups are dispatched from this tiny walk-up soup house across from the West Side Market. With 10 great soups daily, finding the right bowl is child’s play.
A welcome alternative to fast-food lunches, this funky downtown noodle house and juice bar combines fresh flavors and speedy counter service with a casual college-town vibe, for a dining "experience" as unique as it is inexpensive. That's probably why the lines are sometimes out the door. Go, and feel good.
Vincenza's serves what we'll wager is downtown's best pizza: massive wedges of savory goodness, fragrant with tasty ingredients. We are especially partial to the veggie-stuffed pizza, with mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, and essence of garlic; for a change of pace, try the to-die-for hot and crusty veggie sub. Counter service and plenty of tables in a clean, efficiently operated space that opens onto the Colonial Arcade.
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