Let me first say that we don’t get out too much these days, but when we do decide to get out for a date night, we try to make it nice (who got that Housewife Dorinda reference?!). We get all dolled up, hit the town, and home by 9pm :). These restaurants below not only have incredible food, but the atmosphere make great date night spots or perfect of towners. So here are the places I would make dinner reservations right now in Chicago.
My parents grew up going to The Berghoff in downtown Chicago. Most Chicagoan’s probably have. I used to go as a kid, but the last time I was there, I was in high school. In fact, I thought for the longest time it was closed. Recently, I had the opportunity to dine and tour the restaurant and was so impressed. Not only because of the history, but the revival of the menu. The Berghoff is known for their German food like Weiner Schnitzel’s, bratwursts and giant Bavarian pretzels. Of course, those dishes are legendary, but there are new additions to the menu that are more modern and appealing to a younger generation. More contemporary dishes that even include certified gluten-free options. But first, let me tell you about the history and how it all began.
The Berghoff has been around since 1898, and is rich in Chicago history. Herman Berghoff posted right outside the Chicago’s World Fair in 1893, similar to a pop-up cafe. His success from that, is how he made enough money to bring his family to Chicago and open his cafe.
End of Prohibition- 1935 (Photo Courtesy of The Berghoff)
During the prohibition, the bar remained opened by selling a “Near Beer” which contained less than 0.5% alcohol. This made it possible for Herman to sell and stay open. After prohibition ended, The Berghoff was issued Chicago’s first Liquor License. Chicago has honored this every year and they will always receive the first license.
The Berghoff had a separate men’s only bar until 1969, when Gloria Steinem demanded service and this ended the male-only streak.
Now for the food. We sampled a lot of everything, some classic dishes and contemporary ones. I also had the opportunity to meet Chef Matt and Chef Javier. Their love for not only the food, but their passion for working at the restaurant shined through. They have been at the restaurant for years and are dedicated to making great food. Chef Matt went into detail on how everything is made in house. With a bakery and 4 kitchens in the 50,000 square feet space, everything is made on site. That is something unique and many Chicago restaurants can’t claim. To take a closer look at the behind the scenes in the bakery, look here.
With all that being said, my top 3 dishes are:
3. Red Velvet Cake- I am not usually one for dessert or sweets in general, but this red velvet cake is fluffy with the right amount of sweetness. Served with a side of vanilla ice cream, this dessert will make anyone go out of their way to dine here.
2. Braised Short Ribs- This is fantastic. Melts in your mouth good. Served with a side of mashed potatoes and topped with fried onions. The textures are just right. Perfect comfort food during the cooler months.
1.Butternut Squash Lasagna- Layered with diced butternut squash and Manchego, then topped with grilled asparagus and glazed walnuts, it is outstanding. The combination of the sweetness from the squash with the cheese is perfect. It is light enough to eat year-round and vegetarians should go crazy over it. Definitely a stand out dish.
The Berghoff is also known for Oktoberfest. This runs from September 7th- October 7th. With live music and food specials, it will put you in the mood for the fall festivities ahead.
Whether you are from Chicago or here to visit, The Berghoff is a must stop for great food and some Chicago history.
I was recently invited to a Christmas in July event hosted by Texas Tourism at Raised Bar in the Renaissance Hotel. The event was for Chicagoans to learn about different cities to vacation in Texas during our cold, bitter months. I got a chance to talk to representatives from different cities and learn more about each one. We ate, drank wine, decorated Texas cookies and I got to thinking I may just need a trip down to Texas. Read more at Travels & City Adventures
There are a few things that can get me out of the house during winter hibernation or away from my summer Netflix and Chill; pizza, wine and maybe a manicure. If I’m desperate enough.
There are so many good places in Chicago to eat a good slice, but I can’t stand deep dish. Except, maybe when I’m hungover. Or pregnant. One of those happens more than the other. But really, I’m a thin crust kind of girl. I have narrowed it down to just three, but there are so many more options in the city. Read more at CGL Food
I am not going to lie, I haven’t been to Navy Pier in years. Actually, most Chicagoans I know haven’t been either. There really hasn’t been much of a reason to go. It’s crowded, has overpriced food and drink options and hasn’t been updated for awhile. But for Mother’s Day, my parents and in-laws wanted to see the Rolling Stone Exhibit, which is currently at the pier until July 30th.
This massive, interactive exhibit is the largest at nearly 18,000 square feet. It includes rare artifacts that cannot be found anywhere else. In fact, many of them come from the band’s personal collection. There are over 500 items which include costumes, tour posters, and equipment to name a few. Throughout the exhibit, you can listen to audio of band interviews and music. The best part of the exhibit was the grand finale, which is the backstage-to-onstage 3D concert experience, which truly feels like you are at a Rolling Stones concert (this might be the only non-child friendly part about the exhibit).
After the exhibit, we walked around and got some drinks at Tiny Tavern. I have to say, Navy Pier has really made some great improvements. I remember when the pier just had a food court when you could get McDonalds, Churros or Garrett’s Popcorn. Now there are some really great spots to hit up. Porkchop BBQ, Frankie’s Pizza, Goddess and the Baker and Tiny Tavern just to name a few. For a complete list of all the food options, check out their site Navy Pier Food.
From the updated food options, new and improved Ferris wheel, the Rolling Stone Exhibit, or just to walk around, there are so many things to do. Whether you are from Chicago or an out-of-towner, Navy Pier is definitely worth checking out. It has come a long way from what it used to be. You could easily spend a few hours eating and drinking a while taking in the views of the city and lake.