Spring Break 2016: Where to eat in Chicago on spring break (or anytime)

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By: Marshall V. King
mking@flavor574.com

Marshall V. King/Flavor574

Spring break means Florida for some, Chicago for others.

Readers of Flavor 574 and Dining A La King had some suggestions for their favorites in Chicago, particularly during spring break.

Numerous readers suggested Little Goat or Girl and The Goat. The first is a high-end diner and the second is the fine dining tapas restaurant. Both feature goat, but more than that they’re fun, and Chef Stephanie Izard of Top Chef fame delivers great experiences as well as amazing food. Call for reservations or get there and wait. If you want to eat at Girl and the Goat, you can go right at opening and often get a table.

Joseph Hilliard has pie on his mind. He suggested Hoosier Mama Pie Shop and Bang Bang Pie Shop. Joe’s daughter, Emily, is a great pie baker and author of the blog nothinginthehouse.com, so I think he knows good pie. I look forward to trying them.

Sadie LaPonsie, who actually lives in Chicago, offered some great advice. She said, “If you get into the neighborhoods (some super accessible by public transit, and kids usually think the train is fun), there’s good cheap ethnic food options – Argyle Street for Vietnamese, Chinatown of course, Indian on Devon, Ethiopian up in Edgewater.”

Friend Vonda Litwiller suggested Big and Little’s in River North. Haven’t been, but it’s now on my list.

Michelle Milne also lived in Chicago for a time and has some great suggestions, some of which LaPonsie seconded. “Toni Pattiserie across from the Chicago Cultural Center (which you should visit as well, if you never have – free, amazing architecture at the top, cool exhibits… ). Kuma’s Corner for amazing burgers and waffle fries (and biker bar atmosphere). Hopleaf in Andersonville for mussels and all kinds of other goodies. In terms of kids, Eleven City Diner is a fun Jewish deli/diner with good eats south of the loop (and they have great bloody mary’s, although not for the kids). Portillos is a fun hot dog place. Dao Thai is good (and cheap), with cool atmosphere near the MCA. LOTS of good brunch places all over the city.”

Milne is right about the cultural center. It’s a stop for me nearly every time I get to Chicago.

Several people suggested The Purple Pig. It’s a Mediterranean place that has Italian and other cuisines right along Michigan Avenue. It’s got some great food.

If you want lower-brow, Billy Goat Tavern is below the street level nearby. Rocky Enfield, a great eater, suggested that one.

The Cheesecake Factory, which is a marvel of a restaurant for the size of its menu and the portions, is a favorite of many readers and there are locations around the city. Natisha Woods, who owns and operates Noa Noa Wood Grill & Sushi Bar in Warsaw, said, “Davanti in River North with the kids. Scott and I did a food tour years ago, this was one of the 8 places we stopped. The kids request it every time we go! Reasonably priced, you can be dressed for a night out, or casual with kids.”

Here’s the full Facebook post with all the comments.

To the folks who flee to Chicago during spring break: Where do you go to eat? Where do you take your kids to eat? And please don’t just say Hard Rock Cafe.

Posted by Marshall King on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

This list from readers is a great one. Chime in with more in the comments or on social media. And wherever you are, enjoy spring, even if you’re not somewhere warm.

Marshall V. King is food columnist for Flavor 574 and community editor for The Elkhart Truth. You can reach him at 574-296-5805, mking@flavor574.com, and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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