Food and drink from local establishments contribute to summer fun
June 6, 2014

By Dolly Duplantier

A good meal, a delicious snack, and a refreshing beverage make for a great summertime experience. This community offers some of Chicagoland’s finest culinary experiences and food and drink shopping, adding to your fun all summer long.

Graduation and other specialty cakes are available at Bake for Me!

BAKED GOODS

Bake for Me!, 4305 S. Halsted St., (773) 624-9900, and 321 N. Clark St., (312) 644-7750, www.bakeforme.com. Bake for Me! is downtown Chicago’s and south Halsted Street’s best bakery for cakes, as well as your source for convenient catering for breakfast, lunch, receptions, graduation parties, and summer barbecues. The family owned bakery has two locations, plus the affiliated Racine Bakery at 6216 S. Archer Ave.

Whatever the occasion, the bakery’s custom cakes offer many different options, including your choice of layers, fillings, frosting, icing, shapes, and sizes. In addition, Bake for Me! can personalize signature cakes and cookies with messages and photo images. Place your order now for graduation parties. Bake for Me! is proud to offer monthly featured cakes, providing new cake ideas on a regular basis.

The bakery’s pastries, cookies, and cupcakes are hand-made using only the finest ingredients. All products can be viewed and ordered online. Hours: Halsted St. location—Mon. through Fri. 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sat. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Clark St. location—Mon. through Fri. 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Ferrara Bakery 2210 W. Taylor St., (312) 666-2200, Facebook, www.ferrarabakery.com. Since 1908, family-owned Ferrara Bakery has used only the freshest and purest ingredients in making their delicious cakes, pastries, cookies, and specialty cannoli.

The bakery is known for its signature fresh strawberry, custard, and cannoli filled cakes. Ferrara also offers a variety of other cakes. Authentic Italian cookies include both butter and traditional varieties. Biscotti, miniature pastry, and cookie trays also are available. Ferrara offers an extensive selection of hot and cold luncheon items for dining in or takeout Monday through Friday. The bakery now has in-house cured and smoked pastrami.

Let Ferrara cater your next event with deli sandwiches, soups, fresh salads, entrees, and pan pizza. Entrees include eggplant parmesan, lasagna, and pasta dishes. Place your order now for graduation and summer parties. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sat. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sun.10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Scafuri Bakery 1337 W. Taylor St., (312) 733-8881, www.scafuribakery.com, Facebook, Twitter. Scafuri Bakery has been an integral part of the community since 1904. The family legacy continues today with Scafuri’s fresh-baked breads, pastries, specialty cakes, cookies, and pies. Scafuri’s café menu includes panini, salads, quiche, breakfast sandwiches, and breakfast toast—a tantalizing combination of ricotta, fresh fruit, honey, and walnuts.

The bakery also offers a delicious assortment of authentic Italian sandwiches such as caprese (pesto, mozzarella, tomatoes, balsamic, and arugula), porchetta (roasted pork loin, pickled onions, garlic aioli, and greens), and sopressata (parmesan, giardiniera, and arugula).

Pizza by the slice and pan pizza are also available. Stop in for a fresh brewed cup of coffee, iced coffee, latte or refreshing iced tea. Let Scafuri create a special cake for your graduation celebration or summer party. Every other month, enjoy jazz music as you dance to the 12th Street Ramblers while savoring delicious food and coffee. Check the website for dates and times. Scafuri can also host private events, including cake and cookie decorating classes upon request. Hours: Tues. through Sun. 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Salerno’s Pizza & Pasta serves homemade Southern Italian favorites made with the freshest ingredients. (Photo by Troy T Heinzeroth)

PLACES TO EAT

Chicago Curry House (Indian and Nepali Restaurant), 899 S. Plymouth Ct., (312) 362-9999, www.curryhouseonline.com. Enjoy a variety of tastes from the different regions of Nepal and India. The award-winning and Zagat-rated Chicago Curry House offers an extensive menu of natural, low-fat, and authentic recipes prepared from the freshest chicken, lamb, seafood, and vegetables.

Mouth-watering tandoori dishes come highly recommended, including the award-winning chicken wings marinated overnight in the Nepalese popular trio of spices—ginger, garlic, and cumin. Desserts include an abundant selection of delicious, traditional treats including gulab jamun (golden fried dumplings of milk pastry soaked in sweet saffron syrup).

With an impressive wine list from around the world, Chicago Curry House is a great place to take a date. Can’t decide what to order? Take advantage of the restaurant’s all you can eat buffet with more than 22 delicious items. Bring the dishes of Nepal and India home or to your next event. Chicago Curry House offers catering for office, home, and special events. Hours: Open daily 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Buffet 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Damenzo’s Banquets, 741 S. Western Ave., (312) 421-5065, www.damenzospizza.com. Looking for a great place for your next event? For more than 25 years, Damenzo’s Banquets has been known for its Southern Italian specialties. An ideal destination for personal and corporate events, the beautifully decorated restaurant accommodates up to 175 people for lunch, dinner, and receptions.

Damenzo’s customizes your menu with an affordable budget. Its family-style menu offers table service or buffet. Banquet offerings comprise a choice of nine different appetizers, including fried ravioli and antipasto; three different soups; and four salads. Damenzo’s offers nine types of pasta, ranging from mostaccioli to lasagna. Nine main courses include specialties such as chicken Parmesan, Italian beef, and veal marsala. Choose one of five desserts, including tiramisu. Specialty, individually plated main courses such as filet mignon and surf and turf also are available. Packages include fresh bread, extra virgin olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, soft drinks, coffee, and hot tea. Cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres include a bar with beers, wines, and well drinks, or a premium- brands and bottle-beer bar package.

Damenzo’s Pizza & Restaurant, 2324 W. Taylor St., (312) 421-1142, www.damenzospizza.com. Since 1985, this family-owned pizzeria and restaurant has offered amazing made-to-order regular, pan, and stuffed pizzas with only the freshest ingredients and toppings on their signature crusts. Damenzo’s also is known for its huge slices of pizza, pizza puffs (calzones), and Italian beef sandwiches. The menu includes sandwiches made with a choice of panini, focaccia, and ciabatta breads, as well as an assortment of salads and made-to-order fresh pasta dishes. The extensive lunch and dinner menu features delicious Southern Italian cuisine, in addition to an equally impressive variety of Mexican dishes including breakfast items, appetizers, flautas, gorditas, burritos, tacos, and dinner entrees. Damenzo’s beautiful outdoor patio is now open for summer. Hours: Sun. through Thurs. 10 a.m. to midnight, and Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Enjoy the “taste of home” blueberry pancakes at Sweet Maple Café. (Photo by Rachel Valentino)
DePasada Restaurant, 1517 W. Taylor St., (312) 243-6441, fax (312) 243-6277. For almost 40 years, DePasada has served up authentic Mexican dishes made with longheld family recipes. A neighborhood favorite, the restaurant features a friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere will make you feel right at home. The family-owned restaurant 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). Enjoy your meal with a Mexican drink, such as Jarritos or Mexican Coca-Cola.

DePasada staff appreciate their loyal customers for their patronage and pledge to continue the high standards on which the restaurant was founded. Delivery is available after 2 p.m. Take-out is available all day. 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.

Eppel’s Restaurant, 554 W. Roosevelt Rd., (312) 922-2206 or (312) 922-6118, fax (312) 596-1202, www.eppelsrestaurant.com. 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 bacon-stuffed waffle. These items were featured on the WGN-TV Channel 9 Chicago’s Best television show with Brittney Payton, making it even more popular for breakfast. Eppel’s 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 the restaurant’s signature soup or mixed salad. Carryout orders are available. Hours: Mon. through Sun. 4:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open all holidays, except for Christmas.

Jut’s @ Pompei 1529 W. Taylor St., (312) 421-5698, www.pompeiUSA.com, Follow on Facebook and Twitter. Located next door to and affiliated with Pompei on Taylor, Jut’s @ Pompei offers an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, including omelets, pancakes, waffles, and crepes.
The Jut’s omelet features Italian sausage, mozzarella, tomato, zucchini, and onion, while the delicious Caprese omelet comes with mozzarella and basil. There’s also a build-your-own omelet option. Pancakes are served plain or with strawberries, bananas, or chocolate chips. Thick, fluffy waffles come plain or with a choice of fruit, Nutella, or mascarpone. Jut’s also offers French toast and a variety of fruit-filled crepes. The yogurt banana split, a Jut’s specialty, is served with seasonal fruit, banana, and granola. Sides include biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and seasonal fruit. The expanded lunch menu also offers burgers, specialty sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups. Ask about their daily breakfast and luncheon specials. Jut’s features al fresco dining in the summer with the only retractable skylight roof in the area. Carry-out and delivery are available. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nepal House (Indian and Nepali Restaurant) 1301 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 922-0601, www.nepalhouse- online.com. Experience the joys of multination dining at Nepal House. Featuring an array of classic Nepali and Indian dishes, the restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients and the most healthful cooking techniques. Nepal House offers the highest quality dishes, including “momo” (dumplings with sauce), traditional Nepali “thalis” (meal combinations), “dal-bhaat” (rice and lentils), and “gundruk” (slightly-fermented and dried vegetables).

The menu also includes many North and South Indian dishes featuring Tandoor-oven items such as roti, naan, and chicken, as well as many curries. Sample more than 15 different menu items during the all you can eat buffet, Tues. through Sun., 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nepal House provides a unique cultural experience, combining delicious food with romantic Nepali-influenced decor, music, and a courteous and attentive staff. Nepal House offers take-out, delivery, and catering for private parties, fundraising, and corporate dinners. Hours: Daily lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., dinner 4:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Reservations are accepted.

Pompei on Taylor 1531 W. Taylor St., (312) 421-5179, www.pompeiUSA.com. Follow on Facebook and Twitter. Founded by Luigi Davino in 1909, and expanded by Ralph Davino in the 1980s, Pompei on Taylor St. now is a third generation family business offering a comprehensive selection of authentic, gourmet-quality Italian dishes. The 225-seat eatery accommodates private groups of up to 90 people in its La Stanza di Pompei party room, 60 in the new Jut’s party area, and 40 in the Café. Pompei is known for its pizza with various toppings. Pompei’s signature “pizza strudel” (an original creation) comes in 11 different varieties, including heart healthy, Pompei Italiano, and turkey stuffing.

The extensive menu also includes house made pastas, a delicious variety of salads, seasonal daily specials, house made bread, and Pompei’s very own desserts featuring tiramisu, cannoli, and gelato. Pompei has an abundance of “al fresco” dining options and also offers catering service for delivery or pickup. Place your order now for graduation celebrations, team banquets, and summer parties. Hours: Mon. through Sat. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Salerno’s Pizza & Pasta, 1201 W. Grand Ave., (312) 666-3444, www.salernospizza.com. Established in 1966, Salerno’s family-owned pizzeria has helped put Chicago on the map as having the best pizza in the country. Salerno’s staffers pride themselves on quality Italian dishes made with the freshest ingredients. The Italian eatery focuses on serving homemade Southern Italian favorites. The Salerno’s menu has it all—chicken, veal, meat, and seafood entrees, as well as a variety of pasta dishes, salads, soups, sandwiches, and desserts. House specialties include homemade lasagna, manicotti, gnocchi, and baked stuffed shells. Salerno’s famous pizza comes with a thick or thin crust and is made with the freshest ingredients. Salerno’s catering is the perfect solution for corporate and family events. Choose from appetizers, salads, and pasta to chicken and veal by the pan. House specialties include calamari, sausage and peppers, eggplant parmesan, and Italian beef. Half pans serve eight to ten people. Full pans serve 15-to-20. Hours: Mon. through Fri. 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun. noon to 10 p.m.

Sweet Maple Café, 1339 W. Taylor St., (312) 243-8908, www.sweetmaplecafe.com, Facebook. With a 1940s-era ambience, the Michelin Guide-recommended Sweet Maple Café serves breakfast during all open hours. Patrons know their dining experience is more than breakfast–it’s an authentic “taste of home.” 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 including 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 such as the smoked turkey club, as well as its selection of signature grilled cheese sandwiches. Try the Etruscan grilled cheese sandwich with fontina and mozzarella cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and black olive tapenade on buttery slices of D’Amato’s bread. The café offers take-out and catering for any daytime event. Gift cards are available. Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., open daily except for major holidays.

SPECIALTIES AND TREATS

Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating (SSHE), South Loop/West Loop and surrounding areas (312) 697-1042, North Loop and surrounding areas (312) 337-3438, e-mail mike@old-coral.com, www.seattlesutton.com. Founded by Seattle Sutton, RN, BSN, in 1985, this time-saving and convenient national program helps with weight loss and other health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. SSHE prepares thousands of healthy, tasty meals weekly for people wishing to lose weight or maintain their weight loss without the need to plan, shop, or cook. Unlike other weight-loss meal programs, SSHE provides freshly prepared meals with fresh fruits, salads, and vegetables. Each meal is portion and calorie controlled, including attention to fat, cholesterol, and sodium content. There are no trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or monosodium glutamate (MSG). Choose from 1,200 or 2,000- calorie meal plans, as well as a 1,500-calorie vegetarian plan. Menus are rotated every five weeks, ensuring no repeat of meals. Meals can be picked up or delivered twice each week with delivery available for home or office.