Great food and drink part of summer’s fun in this communityJune 7, 2013
By Susan Fong
A key part of summer fun is a great meal, a delectable treat, or a refreshing beverage. A variety of delights await you in this community, which offers some of Chicagoland’s finest culinary experiences and food and drink shopping.
Bake for Me! 4305 S. Halsted St. (773) 624-9900, www.bakeforme.com, hours: Mon. through Fri. 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., closed Sun.; and 321 N. Clark St., (312) 644-7750, hours: Mon. through Fri. 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sat. and Sun. closed. Bake for Me! has become an area favorite for cakes, breakfast, and lunch. Cakes are its specialty. Started in 1993, this bakery has grown to include several different retail store locations. Whatever the occasion, Bake for Me! custom cakes offer many choices of layers, fillings, frosting, icing, and sizes. There are great offerings for special occasions like weddings. Assistance with a Bake for Me! wedding cake is available, with a specialist on site. Bake for Me! offers seasonally appropriate monthly special cakes, along with myriad handmade pastries and cookies, perfected with only the finest ingredients. Catering service includes breakfast, lunch, dessert, and snack trays.
Burger Baron, 1381 W. Grand Ave., (312) 773-3285, fax (312) 733-0488, www.burgerbaron.net. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed Sun. With 30 years of experience in the food business, Burger Baron was born out of a passion to serve good food at a price that would not break the bank. Burger Baron takes pride in its food and service, and constantly adapts its menu items to meet the customers’ needs. The restaurant offers affordability, quality, and service. Breakfast is served daily until 11 a.m. Some of the everyday specials include the ½ lb. burger, Chicago-style hotdogs, gyros sandwiches, Italian beef, and ½ Greek chicken. Soups change daily. One reason for the affordable prices is partnerships with vendors such as Red Hot Chicago and Grecian Delight. The website also is constantly being updated with daily specials and internet-only coupons. Check out the website and print the coupon for 10% off.
Chicago Curry House, 899 S. Plymouth Ct., (312) 362-9999, fax (312) 362-0799, www.curryhouseonline.com. Open every day including holidays. Hours: Luncheon buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner from 3 to 10 p.m. Zagat-rated Chicago Curry House introduces diners to a variety of tastes from Nepal and India. There is an all-you-can-eat brunch/buffet every day. The menu recipes are authentic, simple, natural, and low fat. Favorite entrees include specialty dinners under $18 such as chicken tikka masala, tandoori lamb, and other tandoori entrees, as well as a variety of breads including a cheese naan. Try Chicago Curry House’s extensive dessert menu featuring items such as gullab jammune (fried milk pastry dumplings in saffron syrup, served hot) and rassmalai (flat, round cottage cheese poached in milk and garnished with pistachios). The restaurant is the perfect place for romantic dining. Chicago Curry House offers a party service, a full bar, carry out and delivery service, and catering.
The Coffee Alley, 1152 W. Taylor St., (773) 663-4650, www.thecoffeealley.com. Hours: Mon. through Thurs. 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri. 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Opened in Dec. 2012, The Coffee Alley was conceived by Sara and Bill Roberts. With a street alley décor situated in an 1887 building, the owner wanted to establish a haven for the University of Illinois at Chicago/Taylor Street community that would blend with the historic values of Little Italy. The menu includes a selection of specialty coffee drinks, dark roasted with a smooth flavor, originating from La Colombe in Philadelphia. There also is a selection of pastries, hand-crafted paninis, and pot pies. The paninis are specially created by Sara, who hails from Venezuela. One of The Coffee Alley’s favorites is the “Chicago Fire,” which features prosciutto, mozzarella, and fresh tomato and pesto sauce, and the newly added “Pilsen,” which features turkey, tomato, guacamole, bacon, and jalapenos. Four flavors of gelato are available every day.
Cold Stone Creamery, 1613 S. Halsted St., (312) 226-2800. Hours: Sun. through Thurs., 11 a.m. through 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For 25 years, Cold Stone Creamery has served the finest ice cream, cakes, smoothies, shakes, and novelties. Its staff is highly trained in a creatively playful approach to serving ice cream. Cold Stone Creamery personalizes your ice cream experience, whether it’s a scoop in a waffle or cup or a shake. The “Sinless” smoothies start at 110 calories and are made with fruit. At the other end of the spectrum is the “Lifestyle” smoothie. Lifestyle smoothies are considered a healthy meal replacement for customers who lead active lifestyles. As an alternative to signature or custom cakes, Cold Stone Creamery offers ice cream novelties that include a selection of cupcakes as well as personalized ice cream sandwiches. Cold Stone Creamery also does catering and offers many of its specialties for carry-out.
Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer Ave., (312) 326-3443, www.conniespizza.com. Coupons and specials on Facebook and Twitter. Hours: Tues. through Thurs. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sun. and Mon. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. “Great Pizza and Good Times” is the slogan at Connie’s. Since 1963, Connie’s has offered a selection of pizzas, Italian entrees, salads, and sandwiches. This year is Connie’s 50th anniversary. Connie’s excels in catering packages for social events including holidays, weddings, or business. Customers can chose from the preset catering menu, or create their own combinations. The main dining room at the Archer Avenue location seats more than 400, with two private dining rooms seating 250 and 150. A new bar area features flat-screen televisions for events and sports. Pickup, delivery, online ordering, and dine in are available. Parking is free; shuttle service available to various events.
Damenzo’s Banquets, 741 S. Western Ave., (312) 421-5065, www.damenzospizza.com. For more than 25 years, personal and corporate events and parties have been a “cut above” when celebrated at Damenzo’s Banquets. The venue on Western Avenue accommodates up to 175 persons for lunches, dinners, and receptions. Southern Italian menu items as at Damenzo’s Pizza and Restaurant (see below) are offered to banquet hosts and hostesses as choices. Damenzo’s Banquets has earned a reputation for its reasonable prices. The cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres (choice of four from a list of seven) package can include either a bar with beers, wines, and well drinks, or a premium brands and bottle beer bar package. The family-style menu is offered as table service or buffet. Banquet offerings include a choice from among nine items as an appetizer for lunch, and two choices for dinner. Call to discover their course options. Specialty, individually-plated main courses also are available.
Damenzo’s Pizza & Restaurant, 2324 W. Taylor St., (312) 421-1142, www.damenzospizza.com. Hours: Sun. through Thurs. 10 a.m. to midnight, Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. to midnight. Since 1985, Damenzo’s has grown considerably in regional recognition. People come from all over to try the huge slices of pizza, pizza puffs (calzones), and Italian beef sandwiches that are staple menu items. Damenzo’s has recently expanded its menu to include a variety of deli menu items, including sandwiches made with a choice of panini, focaccia, and ciabatta breads. Also at Damenzo’s is an assortment of salads and made-to order fresh pasta dishes. Beyond the myriad choices of pizza—regular, pan, and stuffed with a wide variety of topping choices—is an extensive lunch and dinner menu featuring Southern Italian cuisine. Enjoy the summer weather in Damenzo’s, shared with Papi’s next door.
DePasada Restaurant, 1517 W. Taylor St., (312) 243-6441, fax (312) 243-6277. Hours: Sun. through Thurs 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 7 a.m. to midnight. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. DePasada is a family-owned and run restaurant with a homefriendly ambience and staff.
DePasada Restaurant opened its first location at 1108 N. Ashland Ave. more than 35 years ago and its Taylor Street-University of Illinois at Chicago location more than 12 years ago. Both are neighborhood favorites. With long-held family recipes, DePasada is well-known for its charcoal broiled steak and chile rellenos. Favorite vegetarian items include delicious tacos, burritos, and tostadas. For dessert, don’t forget to try the flan and tres leches cake (three milk cake). Accompany your meal with a Mexican drink, such as Jarritos or Mexican Coca-Cola. The atmosphere in this restaurant will make you feel at home. Deliveries are made after 2 p.m.
The Drum & Monkey, 1435 W. Taylor St., (312) 563-1874, www.thedrumandmonkey.com. Hours: Sun. through Fri. 11a.m to 2 a.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. The Drum & Monkey evokes the friendly tradition of its Glasgow namesake in Scotland. The location also is used as a set for the television show Chicago Fire. Check out Drum & Monkey’s daily food and drink specials. Favorites include Friday all-you-can eat fish and chips, and reuben and pork cutlet sandwiches. Drum & Monkey offers appetizers and happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Mon. through Fri. Drum & Monkey provides a wide beer selection that includes craft domestic, European, and Irish favorites. Specials include a “mini trio” of a cheeseburger and buffalo chicken with fries, for $7. Chili made with Guinness is $5. The atmosphere is eclectic, with Tuesday karaoke nights. Look for the shuffleboard and free wi-fi. All are welcome.
Eppel’s Restaurant, 554 W Roosevelt Rd, (312) 922-2206 or (312) 922-6118, fax (312) 596-1202, www. eppelsrestaurant.com. Hours: Mon. through Sun. 4:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Originally located in the old Maxwell Street Market, Eppel’s Restaurant remains for many of its breakfast and lunch patrons a wonderful recollection of the old Maxwell Street Market days. Currently Eppel’s is located between Canal and Desplaines Streets in the Roosevelt Road shopping district. The restaurant is highly recommended for its banana and apple foster pancake as well as its baconstuffed waffle. These items were featured on the Chicago’s Best television show by Brittney Payton, making it an even more popular for breakfast. Its extensive menu offers new items as well as comforting favorites such as ham off the bone, catfish, seafood, steaks, and chops. All entrees at Eppel’s are accompanied by a bowl of its signature soup or mixed salad. Carry out orders are available.
Ferrara Bakery, 2210 W. Taylor St, (312) 666-2200, www.ferrarabakery.com. Follow on Facebook and Twitter. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sat. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Since its founding in 1908, The “Original” Ferrara Inc. has featured the highest quality of cannoli, pastries, wedding cakes, cookies, and cakes for all occasions. Third-generation Ferrara’s family members continue to proudly carry on the traditions set in place by founders Salvatore and Serafina Ferrara. A wide variety of authentic Italian pastries, coming in full size and miniature, make for wonderful wedding sweet tables as well as all other occasions. Ferrara Bakery also offers a full- service espresso bar and an extensive selection of items for luncheon, take-out, and catering. Luncheon is offered Monday through Friday, while catering is offered seven days a week. Selections include pasta, salad, sandwiches, and pizza.
Fontano’s Subs, 1058 W. Polk St., (312) 421-4474, fax (312) 421-1224, www.fontanossubs.com. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fontano’s Subs was opened 1932 by Neal Fontano’s grandfather James as grocery store on southwest corner of Polk and Carpenter Streets. Neal’s father, Aniello, expanded the store by adding a deli service in late 1960s, moving across the street to Fontano’s current site to meet the needs of the then-new University of Illinois at Chicago community. This family business has been a neighborhood fixture for the last 80 years. The deli/store seats about 20 people and offers a wide variety of Italian and American sandwiches such as turkey breast, homemade meatballs, and Italian sausages that are made on site. On weekends, Fontano’s offers an open mike to those who want to showcase their musical talents or simply jam for a couple of hours. Delivery service is offered throughout the day.
Greek Islands, 200 S. Halsted St., (312)782-9855, fax (312) 454-0937, www.greekislands.net. Hours: Sun. through Thurs. 11 a.m. to midnight, Fri. and Sat 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Since 1971, the same owners have continued fulfilling their founding principles of great food, great service, and value. They select and ship to their restaurants from Greece the highest quality extra virgin olive oil, superior wines, the best cheeses, herbs, and seafood. Here is the place which truly has something for everyone; whether you want to focus on appetizers or entrees, you can dine in, carry-out, or have your meal catered. Greek Islands has a large menu of hot and cold appetizers, soups, and salads. The restaurant also offers half-size portions of regular entrees like the moussaka, for those with smaller appetites. Traditional favorites include an array of lamb dishes, roasted in tomato sauce or with artichokes. Greek Islands has free valet parking and now has outdoor seating.
Holiday Grill and Bar, 740 W. Randolph St. (312) 207-0924, www.holidaygrillandbar.com. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 8 a.m. through 9 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., closed Sun. Holiday Grill and Bar is family owned and has been open since 1979. Serving breakfast all day, this neighborhood restaurant remains one of the constants in the ever changing West Loop landscape. With a large choice of sandwiches and homemade burgers of pure 1/3 pound angus beef, all of Holiday’s food is comfort food at its best, with daily specials for lunch and dinner. All entrees include soup of the day or garden salad, baked or homemade mashed potatoes, and bread. There are daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner specials. Holiday is a great place to meet for a Chicago Bulls or Chicago Blackhawks game during basketball and hockey season, or for before and after other United Center events. There are daily drink specials, including microbrews, ales, and mixed drinks.
Little Joe’s Circle Lounge, 1041 W. Taylor St., (312) 829-5888, fax (312) 829-0261, www.littlejoespub.com. Kitchen hours: Mon. through Sat. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Bar hours: Mon. through Sat. 5 p.m. to curfew. Closed on Sun. Established in 1946, Little Joe’s is operated by the third generation of the Assenato family, with Peter Michael and Little Joe Assenato as hosts. The family is known for its old school Italianstyle hospitality. The clientele at Little Joe’s is diverse. The setting is a comfortable, eclectic blend of rustic, contemporary, and Victorian details with four plasma televisions and a Touch Tone jukebox and dartboard. While simple, the fare is well prepared finger food with an Italian accent, made in Jackie Mckillip’s kitchen. Little Joe’s offers many specially-priced drinks and $6 Pabst Blue Ribbon pitchers. There is a full bar. On Tuesday and Wednesday there is a pub quiz. On Saturdays, karaoke is featured. On the last Thursday of each month, Little Joe’s features local Jazz bands.
Mangia Fresca, 2556 S. Archer Ave., (312) 225-7100, www.mangiafresca.com. Follow Mangia Fresca on Facebook, Twitter, Scoops, WGN-Chicago’s Best, and Urbanspoon. Hours: Daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mangia Fresca is owned and operated by the Impallaria family. Mangia Fresca’s staff says, “pick a pasta, pick a sauce, you’re the boss.” You can top off your pasta with fresh spinach, broccoli, Italian sausage, grilled chicken, meatballs, and/or salmon. Mangia Fresca also is known for its breaded steaks, as well as a variety of brick oven pizzas. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with breakfast items served all day long. Lunch includes soups, salads, panini, and an assortment of homemade sandwiches. Entrees include eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, and ravioli, among the Italian favorites. Dessert choices include homemade cannoli, chocolate-covered bananas, and spumoni. Delivery and on-line orders are offered. Mangia Fresca also caters any party or special events.
Nana Organic, 3267 S. Halsted St., (312) 929-2486, www.nanaorganic.com. Hours: breakfast and lunch Sun. through Sat., 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., dinner Wed. through Sun., 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Nana is a family-owned and operated organic restaurant offering choices for those who are not only passionate about great tasting food, but who also are passionate about where their food comes from. This farm-to-table concept restaurant partners with more than 30 local farms, orchards, artisan craftsmen, breweries, and other suppliers committed to healthy food., Nana features a changing seasonal menu based on the organic and sustainable ingredients their local growers are harvesting. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner service as well as a weekend brunch. Additionally, there is a full bar with happy hour specials starting in June. Nana has a quaint outdoor patio and service for private events and catering.
Nepal House, 1301 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 922-0601, fax (312) 922- 0601, www.nepalhouseonline.com. Hours: Sun. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The restaurant opened on March 1, and the owner is pleased diners enjoy his other restaurants in Highwood and Chicago Curry House in the South Loop. Nepal House brings a generous sampling of Nepali cuisine, influenced by Nepal’s neighbors of Tibet, Pakistan, India, and Bhutan. Its menu features an array of classics, including dishes like momo (dumplings with sauces), traditional Nepali thalis (meal combinations), dal-bhat (rice and lentils) and gundruk (slightly fermented and dried vegetables). The restaurant carries many Nepali north and south dishes including tandoor favorites like roti, naan, and chicken, as well as many curries. Nepal House prides itself on its fresh ingredients and healthy cooking techniques. With its romantic Nepali decor, music, and attentive service, Nepal House offers a complete dining experience. Catering or event service is available.
Oliver’s Café, 451 W. 31st St., reservations (312) 791-1230, catering and private parties, (312) 791-1233, www.oliverscafe.com. Follow also on Facebook. Hours: Tues. through Sat. 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. With more than 30 years of fine dining experience, Chef Oliver Valenzuela and his wife, Marcy, run this 38-seat restaurant in the heart of Bridgeport. This intimate American bistro specializes in high-end meats and seafoods. The quality is much lauded and the prices are affordable at this BYOB restaurant. The eclectic menu changes every two weeks. Starters include hot appetizers, soups, and salads. Entrees can range from cinnamon braised beef tenderloin to lobster ravioli with grilled shrimp. Sunday brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and offers items ranging from a granola brunch bowl or mascarpone French toast to lunch items such as angus burgers, heirloom tomato chicken bruschetta, and indoor watercress endive with grilled shrimp. The owners say this is a restaurant for a true foodlover’s dream.
Palace Grill, 1408 W. Madison St., (312) 226-9529, fax (312) 226-0633. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. A classic diner, the Palace Grill, has been a West Loop fixture since 1938. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Palace Grill boasts a legacy that transcends owner George Lemperis’ outsized personality. His daughter Christina recently joined to carry on the tradition. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Pat Bruno voted the Palace Grill as the best Chicago breakfast restaurant with its famous Denver omelets and hash browns or skirt steak and eggs. Palace Grill also is open for lunch and dinner (liquor available). The diner has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Blackhawks TV, Windy City Live, the Sandwich King, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Chicago’s Best, and most recently NHL 36. The restaurant has a warm and friendly family atmosphere. Enjoy the newly remodeled dogfriendly outdoor patio.
Papi’s Tacos, 2324 W. Taylor St. (312) 829-3001. The owner of Papi’s Tacos shares retail and kitchen space with his other restaurant, Damenzo’s Pizza. A great economical eatery with real Mexican food, Papi’s offers tacos, tortas, and tostadas as well as toasted burritos. Dinners are in the $7.29 to $10.50 range. Try new items such as Mexican pork chops, chicken, and rib tips. Vegetarian offerings are available. Hours: Mon. through Sat. 9 a.m.to midnight, and Sun. 10 a.m. to midnight. Don’t forget to enjoy the summer by enjoying their patio shared with Damenzo’s on Taylor next door.
Pompei on Taylor, 1531 W. Taylor St., (312) 421-5179, www.pompeiUSA.com, follow on Facebook and Twitter. Hours: Mon. through Sat. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pompei has an additional location that features table service at 8801 W. 143rd St., Orland Park (708) 403-8900. Founded by Luigi Davino in 1909, Pompei on Taylor St. now is a third generation family business offering a comprehensive selection of hot, gourmetquality Italian dishes. The 225-seat eatery accommodates up to 90 people in its private party areas. Most popular at Pompei are its pizza with various toppings and the “pizza strudel”—an original creation. Myriad other choices include pastas, salads, daily specials, fresh bread, and homemade desserts. Pompei offers express catering for delivery or pickup. Pompeii also provides private banquet seating at both locations.
Salerno’s Restaurant, 1201 W. Grand Ave., (312) 666-3444, fax (312) 666-5158. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sun. noon to 10 p.m. Salerno’s other locations are in Oak Park and Bolingbrook, and Michael Salerno’s is in Glenview. Salerno’s was founded in 1966. The location on Grand Avenue features appetizers, thin- and thick-crust pizza, a wide selection of pasta dishes, veal, chicken, seafood, and southern Italian specialties including eggplant parmigiana and giambotta calabrese—a stew-like entrée with sausage, boneless chicken, and pork loin in a light red sauce. Extensive selections of salads, soups, sandwiches, and sides also are featured. Among the many homemade desserts are homemade gelato, tiramisu, and cannoli. Private dining rooms are offered at Salerno’s Chicago and Oak Park locations, seating from 20 to 75 persons. Catering also is available. Salerno’s also delivers. Parking is free.
Scafuri Bakery, 1337 W. Taylor St., (312) 733-8881, email@example.com, www.scafuribakery.com. Look for Scafuri Bakery on Facebook and Twitter. Hours: 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tues. through Sun. 3pm Tuesday through Sunday. Scafuri Bakery is back. When it closed in 2007 after almost a hundred years in business upon Annette Mategrano’s retirement at the age of 90, her great-niece Michelle Digiovanni-Harold wanted nothing more than to see it return. After years of planning and renovations, she was able to restore the bakery to the neighborhood. The bakery is run by Digiovanni’s niece, Kelly Lynch. Scafuri Bakery serves the old favorites: pizza, turnovers, strudels, and donuts, along with fresh breads, specialty cakes, Italian cookies, and pastries. The new, cozy space has tables, couches, and a full espresso and coffee bar. Scafuri also offers a small cafe menu of sandwiches and breakfast toasts.
Standing Room Only (SRO), 610 S. Dearborn St. (312) 360-1776, www.standingroomonly.com. Hours: Mon. through. Fri. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Brothers Tom and Dino Bezanes have just celebrated their 20th anniversary with SRO, which opened on March 1, 1993. Known for its top-notch fast service, SRO cooks with only the highest quality of ingredients for their turkey and beef burgers and chicken sandwiches, using freshly ground turkey and angus meat respectively as well as fresh chicken breasts. Vegetarians and vegans will find many options, such as the black bean and veggie burgers and falafel. SRO is a favorite hangout of wellknown Chicagoans, be they athletes, politicians, actors or just everyday SRO fans. SRO has something for everyone. Chicago memorabilia abounds. SRO also has an outdoor café. Although the establishment is called Standing Room Only, the owners say “Don’t worry; there are plenty of seats!”
Stax Café, 1401 W. Taylor St., (312) 733-9871, fax (312) 733-9872, www.staxcafe.com, Hours: Mon. through Fri. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and weekends 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Recommended by the Michelin Guide and a 2012 and 2013 honoree of the Local Eats guide, Stax Café stands by its motto: “Real breakfast done right.” This restaurant also has been rated as one of the best for food and service quality by Chicago best restaurant guides on the internet. Breakfast is always served, and lunch items are developed from the breakfast selection profile. All items are classically and simply prepared using only the finest and freshest ingredients. All egg choices include five different kinds of homemade bread, and even the presentation varies from the conventional. There also is a strong juice culture at Stax—only fresh-squeezed juices are served. Intelligentsia coffee is provided, with free refills. Specialty espresso- based coffee selections also are available. On weekdays, guests are welcome to linger.
Sweet Maple Café, 1339 W. Taylor St., (312) 243-8908, www.sweetmaplecafe.com, follow on Facebook. Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. open daily except for major holidays. With a 1940s-era ambience, Sweet Maple Café serves breakfast during all open hours. All selections are made the old-fashioned way, from scratch with fresh ingredients. Try Sweet Maple’s must-have “Not-So-Plain” buttermilk pancakes with succulent slices of ham off the bone. Look for a range of egg specialties such as the Taylor Street omelet with Italian sausage or country scrambles such as the 18th Street with spicy chorizo sausage and queso fresco. Sweet Maple’s recently expanded lunch menu offers popular items like the smoked turkey club, but also has added a new selection of signature grilled cheese sandwiches. Try the Etruscan grilled cheese sandwich with fontina and mozzarella cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and black olive tapenade on buttery slices of D’Amato’s bread.
Zaytune, 3129 S. Morgan St., (773) 254-6300, www.zaytunegrill.com. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days per week. At Zaytune, the food is Mediterranean at its best, and freshest in the Lebanese and Middle Eastern tradition. The restaurant offers dine-in, carry-out, and catering options. All the food is cooked fresh daily, from appetizers to full-course meals. At this fullservice restaurant, everything is made in-house, from breads to desserts. Many vegetarian and vegan options are available, such as the new fava bean stew served with tomatoes or roasted red pepper hummus. All meats are seasoned and prepared in-house. Roasted lamb is a favorite. With a smaller menu Zaytune is able to maintain the freshness. The shwarmas are mouthwatering. The restaurant’s commitment to a tradition of fresh daily home cooking and warm Mediterranean hospitality has earned it recognition on WGN’s Chicago’s Best and in Time Out Magazine, and Zaytune was listed as one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in the Reader.