SUMMERTIME OUTDOOR DINING & TREATS — Local eateries add to outdoor summer-time enjoyment
June 1, 2018

Photo by Christopher Valentino
Enjoy the garden sidewalk cafe this summer at Hawkeye’s Bar & Grill or stop inside and enjoy sports on 24 high-definition screens while enjoying daily drink specials.

By Marie Balice-Ward

Don’t get overheated in the kitchen this summer. Go to some of the local restaurants and enjoy the sidewalk cafes, outdoor eating, and tasty treats that make summertime even more fun.

Bake for Me! 4305 S. Halsted St., (773) 624-9900; and 303 E. Wacker Dr., (312) 228-9676,

Bake for Me! is one of downtown Chicago’s and south Halsted Street’s best bakeries for cakes as well as your source for convenient catering for breakfast, lunch, receptions, and holiday parties. The family-owned bakery has three locations, including the affiliated Racine Bakery at 6216 S. Archer Ave.

Summer lunches can be enjoyed at the Bake for Me! outdoor patio. Whatever the occasion, the bakery’s custom cakes offer many different options, including your choice of layers, fillings, frosting, icing, and sizes. In addition, Bake for Me! can personalize signature cakes and cookies with messages and photo images. 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 Bake for Me! 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. and east Wacker Dr. location, Mon. through Fri. 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bridgeport Coffeehouse, 3101 S. Morgan St., (773) 247-9950; 1021 S. Delano Ct. West, (312) 588-1633; 5030 S. Cornell Ave., (773) 947-0348,

Bridgeport Coffeehouse roasts and serves directly imported fine coffees. In addition to the Bridgeport location, Bridgeport Coffeehouses can be found in Hyde Park and the South Loop at the Roosevelt Collection complex.

The fresh roasting method greatly enhances the flavor of coffee. Bridgeport Coffeehouse uses a fluid-bed roasting facility, so the beans are roasted in air that moves instead of metal that can burn. This means that the coffee served at Bridgeport Coffeehouse features a more sophisticated experience in every cup.

For professional roasters, Bridgeport Coffeehouse offers green bean resources based on its direct relationships with coffee farmers around the world.  Hours for each of the Bridgeport Coffeehouse three locations can be found online.

Photo by Christopher Valentino
Carm’s Beef and Italian Ice offers many homemade food selections and a variety 11 Italian Ice flavors. Enjoy the outdoor seating or dine inside.

Carm’s Beef and Italian Ice, 1057 W. Polk St., (312) 738-1046.

Carm’s serves the community, including University of Illinois at Chicago students and employees alike. The business was started in 1929 by James and Mary Fontano as a grocery store and featured homemade Italian ice in the summer months. In the early 1960s, when the UIC campus was built, the grocery store moved across the street and the fast food business opened, and was named Carm’s Beef and Italian Ice, after the founders’ youngest child, Carmella.

Carm’s today is run by Steve Devivo, who is a third-generation owner and has expanded the Italian ice flavors to 11, featuring the top five all natural flavors of lemon, cantaloupe, mango, pineapple, and chocolate. The food and sandwiches at Carm’s include many homemade selections. The favorites are the beef sandwich, made with Carm’s in-house homemade peppers, and the meatball sandwich, as well as hot dogs, and burgers. For the last four years, Carm’s has featured Jose’s authentic tacos and burritos.

Hours for the summer months are Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Food is also served on Sat. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Italian ice is available until 9:30 p.m. Mon. through Sat.  Carm’s is closed on Sun. 

Eppel’s Restaurant, 554 W. Roosevelt Rd., (312) 922-2206 or (312) 922-6118, fax (312) 596-1202,

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. Look for outdoor seating on Eppel’s brand new patio. 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 featuring Brittney Payton, making Eppel’s 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: daily, 4:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. including all holidays.

Hawkeye’s Bar & Grill, 1458 W. Taylor St., (312) 326-3951. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

A long-time establishment in the heart of the Taylor Street Little Italy area, Hawkeye’s offers myriad choices on its signature menu as well as a fully-stocked bar with daily drink specials. Patrons can enjoy Direct TV on Hawkeye’s 24 high-definition screens as well as a DJ adding to the festive atmosphere. Among the menu selections are more than 20 “share-ables”  which include nachos, chicken tenders, bang-bang shrimp, egg rolls, flatbreads, sliders and homemade, thin-crust pizza.

Hawkeye’s menu continues with six choices of “big plates,” seven crafted burgers, “hand-helds” such as sandwiches with pulled pork, chicken panini, po’boy wrap, BBQ meatloaf, and grilled salmon. In addition, diners can choose “greens” – seven choices of salads as well as a selection of chilis and soups.  There is also a weekend brunch that offers an assortment of egg, vegetable, and meat dishes as well as sides and “non-traditional” fare.

There is free parking, a garden sidewalk café, as well as shuttle service to local events.  Hours: Sun. through Fri., 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sat., 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.  Kitchen hours are: Mon., Tues., Wed., and Thurs. from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Fri. and Sat., 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Photo by Christopher Valentino
Mario’s Italian Lemonade is a landmark destination in Chicago. Stop by and enjoy 20 different flavors of Italian Ice, along with seeds, nuts and candies.

Mario’s Italian Lemonade, 1068 W. Taylor St.

There are more than 20 flavors of Italian ices to be enjoyed at Mario’s Italian Lemonade. Most of the flavors are also enhanced with chunks of real fruit. In addition to lemon, other flavors include pomegranate, mango, peach, and honeydew, to name but a few of the most favorite.

Mario’s Italian Lemonade is a landmark destination for Chicagoans and visitors alike. A popular summer and warm weather treat in the heart of the Taylor Street Little Italy area, Mario’s Italian Lemonade was founded in 1954.  The founders were Mario and Dorothy DiPaolo, and today it is owned by Mario and Maria DiPaolo, following and expanding on the tradition of Italian ices. 

At Mario’s Italian Lemonade fresh lupini beans (a yellow legume seed traditionally enjoyed as a pickled snack), seeds, nuts, and candies are also offered. Hours: 10 a.m. to midnight. Mario’s Italian Lemonade opened for the year on May 1 and will operate through through mid-September.

Pompei on Taylor, 1531 W. Taylor St., (312) 421-5179,, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

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 hot, gourmet-quality Italian dishes made from three generations of Napolitano family recipes. Only the freshest ingredients are used to prepare Pompei’s made-to-order salads, soups, hand-rolled pizza, classic hand-cut Italian pastas, and desserts.

Pompei’s signature pizza strudels come in 11 different varieties, including heart healthy, Pompei Italiano, and chicken parmesan. Homemade desserts include tiramisu, cannoli, and gelato, as well as time-honored holiday treats. Pom-pei offers dine-in, delivery, and catering for delivery or pickup. Pompei also provides on-line ordering and large group reservations. The 225-seat eatery accommodates private groups of up to 90 people in its La Stanza di Pompei party room, 60 in the Jut’s party area, and 40 in the café. The restaurant is handicapped accessible. Dining al fresco is available, weather permitting.

There is plenty of parking available. Hours: Mon. through Sat. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Kitchen closes 30 minutes prior to closing time.

Tapas Valencia, 1530 S. State St., (312) 842-4444,,

Located in Chicago’s South Loop since 2009, Tapas Valencia offers cre-ative Spanish tapas, unique cocktails, and a lively atmosphere with walls adorned in colorful mosaic artwork inspired by the great Spanish artists Joan Miro and Antoni Gaudí. Whether you’re dining with friends and family, exploring on a first date, or planning your next big event, Tapas Valencia is the perfect backdrop for any occasion.

Tapas Valencia carries on the tradition of great food and service that was started in 1990 at the original location, Mesón Sabika, in Naperville. Visit Tapas Valencia for dinner Monday through Friday, lunch and dinner (with Spanish entertainment) on Saturdays, and/or Sunday brunch and dinner on Sundays. And, there are drink specials throughout the week. Hours: Mon. through Thurs. 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fri. 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sat. noon to 11 p.m., and Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.