Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
5 River North
Most families visiting Chicago will find themselves heading for dinner in River
North at least once during their stay. The city's hot spot for family dining, River
North offers an ever-growing, something-for-everyone array of restaurants—
from fast food to theme and chain restaurants (plus some of the most fashion-
able dining destinations, so parents might want to hire a sitter one night and
return for “date night”). Whether you seek a quick dog or burger, a casual
French meal, or contemporary American fine dining, River North has it all.
Brasserie Jo ALSATIAN/FRENCH Brasserie Jo, the casual dining destina-
tion from partnership Jean Joho (whose upscale Everest restaurant is one of the city's
longtime gourmet destinations) and Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, is a popu-
lar spot for convivial meals of robust fare in a Parisian, retro-chic setting. It's big and
bustling enough to welcome kids, and once you explain that a croque-monsieur is
really a toasted ham and cheese, your kids will find something wonderful on the
menu. For the adults, following in the tradition of the classic Alsatian brasserie
(meaning “brewery”), Brasserie Jo makes a malty house brew, and diners are wel-
come for a quick stop-in snack with a glass of wine or a full five-course meal.
You can order a hearty Alsatian choucroute, but the menu focuses more on
casual French classics: Favorites include onion soup, mussels marinière, salade
niçoise, croque-monsieur, and steak frites. One house specialty is the “famous
shrimp bag,” a phyllo pastry filled with shrimp, mushrooms, and herb rice gar-
nished with lobster sauce. Save room for the delightfully decadent crepes mag-
nifique, which live up to their name with an amazing alchemy of thin crepes,
bananas, and chocolate. Or bypass the dessert menu and indulge in the bounti-
ful “cheese chariot.”
59 W. Hubbard St. (between Dearborn and Clark sts.). & 312/595-0800. Kids' menu,
high chairs, boosters. Reservations recommended. Main courses $12-$26; kids' menu $7-$9. AE, DC, DISC,
MC, V. Mon-Fri 5:30-10pm; Sat 5-11pm; Sun 5-10pm. Subway/El: Red Line to Grand, or Brown Line to Mer-
chandise Mart.
Harry Caray's AMERICAN/ITALIAN A shrine to the legendary Cubs
play-by-play announcer, this landmark building near the Chicago River is a
repository for the staggering collection of baseball memorabilia that Harry
amassed, and it covers almost every square inch of the place. Even the bar is a
nod to baseball: At 60 feet, 6 inches long, it's the distance from the pitcher's
mound to home plate.
But you don't have to be a baseball lover to appreciate Harry's. The dining
rooms have an old-Chicago feel that is comfortable and familiar, with high tin
ceilings, exposed brick walls, and red-checked tablecloths. It would be easy to
lump Harry's with other celebrity restaurants, but as one reviewer pointed out,
the food is better than it has to be. The portions are enormous; unless you want
leftovers for days, plan to share. Main-course offerings run from traditional
items such as pastas with red sauce to chicken Vesuvio, veal, and a variety of
seafood choices. Harry's is also a good place to order big plates of meat: dry-aged
steaks, lamb, veal, and pork chops. And from the list of side dishes, be sure to
order the signature Vesuvio potatoes. The desserts are rich and decadent.
33 W. Kinzie St. (at Dearborn St.). & 312/828-0966. Kids' menu, high chairs. Main
courses $11-$33; kids' menu around $7. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm; Mon-Thurs
5-10:30pm; Fri-Sat 5-11pm; Sun noon-4pm (lunch bar only) and 4-10pm. Subway/El: Brown Line to Mer-
chandise Mart, or Red Line to Grand.
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