A First: Restaurant Week in West Lakeview

With “local” and “independent” fast becoming endangered species, the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the neighborhood’s first-ever Restaurant Week, an event designed to counter the trend. From March 22 to March 28, sixteen local restaurants will be offering special prix-fixe menus priced from $10 to $40. It’s both a good deal for diners and an opportunity for participating restaurants to grow their customer base.

“This is all about local restaurants, about the places where diners eat on a regular basis,” Carissa Marconet, the manager of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, explains. She adds, “A lot of the people who live in the area are relative newcomers. For residents and non-residents alike, it's an opportunity to explore the community's restaurants."

While some of the participating restaurants menu a few entrees in the $30s, the price point for most tops out in the $20s. Even so, a several course prix-fixe for $30 represents a considerable saving, and in a crowded restaurant scene, nothing sells like a bargain.

At Grassroots, for example, the three course prix-fixe is $30. All three of the featured entrees normally sell for $24, and one-the caramelized salmon- is the restaurant’s best seller. Add steak frites done with a 14-day dry aged hangar steak and pork tenderloin partnered with savory bread pudding and an apple bourbon relish, and the menu is hard to fault.

grassroots-steak-frites-14-day-dry-aged-kaminsky-family-farms-1011-1For the event to be a success, the participating restaurants have to offer both quality and diversity. A local favorite, Sam & George’s S&G Restaurant has been feeding the neighborhood for 60 years. The restaurant's voluminous menu, complete with lengthy descriptions, is a something-for-everyone classic, featuring everything from egg skillets to sandwiches, salads and entrees. For Restaurant Week, S&G is featuring a three-course dinner for $14.95. First up is a choice of soup or salad followed by Grecian-style chicken and baklava cheesecake.

Corridor Brewery, on the other hand, is new to the neighborhood. In addition to the brew pub's made-on-site beers, chef Ryan Henderson cooks with pork from Slagel Farms, prosciutto from La Quercia, flour from The Mill at Janie’s Farm in Ashkum, Illinois and veggies from local producers. For Restaurant Week, the Corridor's $30 menu is designed for two people. Along with two beers, it includes Gulf shrimp ceviche and al pastor pizza topped with house made sausage.

corridor-brewery_restaurant-week-menu1Southport Grocery & Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and brunch. The eggs are organic and cage-free, the jellies and condiments are made especially for the restaurant, the baked goods are made in-house, and a turmeric almond milk latte (turmeric, cinnamon, local honey, almond milk) is currently on the seasonal drink menu. If you have time, both the "super gooey" bread pudding pancake served with vanilla anglaise and cinnamon butter and the gluten-free cupcake pancake partnered with vanilla butter and pure maple syrup, are well worth the 20-minute wait time. Sample both for $10 during Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week menu at Southport Grocery and Cafe

Restaurant Week menu at Southport Grocery and Cafe

For a complete list of the participating restaurants, Restaurant Week menus,  and information about public transportation, check out the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce website:


Small Bites: March 7

3 Greens Market

Should you need a restaurant scene update, check out 3 Greens Market, Brendan Sodikoff's venue on Hubbard Street. From the comfy couches to the right-sized laptop tables and the separate coffee kiosk, it's a  great place to work, socialize and eat. There's an extensive hot and cold buffet, but the real draw is the Au Cheval burger.

The Au Cheval burger, as any up-to-date burger enthusiast will attest, is a two-patty burger. Each patty weighs in at 4-ounces. With four surfaces, as opposed to two, the burger delivers even more of the flavorful crumblies that accumulate as the burger cooks.

In short, the Au Cheval is a flavorful burger, especially if you sample it unadorned: no cheese, no onions, no hot sauce, no catsup, no BBQ sauce, no mushrooms, no mustard, no eggs, and no avocado.

Try it, and then let us know what you think.

354 W. Hubbard Street, 312.888.9195


Plateia Mediterranean Kitchen

There are a lot of good Greek restaurants in the Chicago area. They're usually large and a little noisy, but it's the kind of noise that makes guests feel like they're at a party where everyone is having a good time.

Plateia gets thumbs up both for ambiance and for food. I had a miserable pork chop the last time I was at a Greek restaurant. It was tough and tasteless, a bad combination if you're describing your dinner. So, on purpose, I ordered the skewers (kalamakia)-one pork and one chicken ($13). Definitely good.

9860 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Des Plaines 847.296.2230 


Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge

Koi Evanston is celebrating its 15th anniversary for 15 days. From March 1 - March 15, every guest who dines at Koi will receive an envelope containing a certificate for a complimentary appetizer, maki roll, entrée or bottle of wine. The server will open the envelope the next time the guest dines at Koi.

Koi, 624 Davis Street, Evanston 847.866.6969


Vanille Patisserie

Vanille Patisserie  is celebrating National Macaron Day on Wednesday, March 20 with proceeds supporting Special Olympics Chicago.  Vanille will also donate 10 percent of all in-store and online sales of any product to Special Olympics Chicago, a nonprofit organization offering athletic training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Vanille Patisserie has stores at 2108 N. Clark Street, 3423 N. Broadway, 5229 S.Harper Court and in the French Market, 131 N. Clinton.


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