Category Archives: Illinois

Billy Goat Tavern – Chicago, Illinois

The genesis of the idiomatic expression “got your goat” which means “to greatly annoy someone” is in dispute with sources attributing it to both the United States and England.  The American version has it that horse trainers would put a goat in a racing horse’s

Al’s #1 Beef – Chicago, Illinois

Assume the position!  It’s been called the “Chicago Lean,” the “Italian Stance” and simply “The Stance.”   It’s  the time-tested, traditional art and science of eating Italian beef sandwiches, a Chicago specialty.  Trust me, it’s not the same as eating an ordinary sandwich.  If you

David Burke’s Primehouse – Chicago, Illinois

By day, my friend James Sorenham was an architect of his business group’s data warehouse and business intelligence strategies.  By night and on weekends, James was a gentleman farmer tending to a small herd at his Broke Again ranch outside Portland, Oregon.  James took immense

The Purple Pig – Chicago, Illinois

Poet Carl Sandburg bestowed the nickname “hog butcher for the world” upon the great city of Chicago at a time when the city was the epicenter for meatpacking in the United States. Companies such as Oscar Mayer, Swift and Armour operated large plants in the

Frontera Grill – Chicago, Illinois

Not everyone has the relentless drive and impassioned fortitude to parlay their most ardent desires and zealous fervor into a wildly successful thematic venture, but then not everyone is Rick Bayless, America’s Mexican chef and restaurateur nonpareil. His single-minded passion for the Mexican culinary experience

Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Bolingbrook, Illinois

Portillo’s story is the story of the American dream, a rags to riches saga that began with a single hot dog stand opening in 1963. That single investment has blossomed into a multi-million per year chain with six different concepts and more than 40 restaurants

Gale Street Inn – Mundelein, Illinois

It took 47 years and one visit to the Gale Street Inn to understand why sailing vessels are ascribed the feminine gender. According to a placard on a wall at the Gale Street Inn, a nautical themed restaurant in the Northwest Chicago suburb of Mundelein,

Johnnie’s Beef – Arlington Heights, Illinois

If you think Chicagoland politics are a contentious topic, try debating which restaurant serves up the best Italian Beef Sandwich in the “City of Big Shoulders.” Opinions don’t necessarily vary that widely as there are just a handful of restaurants which have truly distinguished themselves

Apple Haus – Long Grove, Illinois (CLOSED)

In grade school back in the 1960s, such characters as Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed filled my mind with wonder and awe as I learned to determine fact from fiction (a process I still employ when listening to  nauseating political commercials which pollute the airwaves). 

Bacchus Nibbles – Kildeer, Illinois

In Roman mythology, Bacchus was known as the god of wine and ecstasy. A youthful and handsome god with flowing tresses usually depicted wearing wine leaves or ivy on his head, he represented both the intoxicating and the beneficial influences of wine. Bacchanalian festivals, typified

Hackney’s – Lake Zurich, Illinois (CLOSED)

The second city doesn’t take a back seat to anyone when it comes to burgers and if you have to hire a hackney (carriage or automobile) to get to Hackney’s, by all means do so. Hackney’s, a family tavern with a history dating back to

Siegelman’s Restaurant Deli – Arlington Heights, Illinois (CLOSED: 2011)

Who would have thought that a nondescript restaurant in a nondescript shopping center would feature food beyond description–food for which you run out of adjectives and synonyms for delicious (let’s see: savory, scrumptious, yummy, tasty, mouth-watering, appetizing, delectable, luscious)? In Siegelman’s, the quintessential Jewish deli,

Swedish Bakery – Chicago, Illinois (CLOSED on February 28, 2017)

In New Mexico, which is very proud of its “tri-cultural” heritage, the contributions of Native Americans, Hispanics and Anglo-Americans are manifest in its languages, architecture, cuisine and cultural events. While New Mexico has certainly not shunned multi-culturalism, the lack of concentrated communities of residents from

Weber Grill – Wheeling, Illinois

In 1952, George Stephen invented the original Weber kettle grill and with his innovative design, sparked a backyard revolution. As a result, the XY chromosome compliment was no longer a handicap (or more accurately, an excuse) for men throughout the world when it came to

Topolobampo – Chicago, Illinois

A quote attributed to Marcel Marceau, the French mime famous for his sad-faced clown, aptly describes my attempts at describing a meal at Topolobampo: “Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words.” Life’s vicissitudes often include moments which move you