Marriott Chicago Midway

1 10 2009
  • 6520 S. Cicero Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60638
  • (708)594-5500
  • Website
Marriott Chicago Midway on South Cicero in Chicago

Marriott Chicago Midway on South Cicero in Chicago

Well, our big day is finally here.  If you haven’t figured it out over the last couple days, September 26, 2009 is the day J and I got married. 

Everyone told us the planning process would be stressful.  In a way, it was, but we decided right away that we didn’t want to drag it out a year.  The longer the engagement goes, the more you have to think about.  We didn’t want that.  I proposed in May.  We’re married in September.  We got the fall wedding we both wanted even though it took me so long to man up and buy the ring. 

When it came time to pick a venue, we both knew we wanted it in Chicago.  We really only had two criteria.  It had to be a hotel (we didn’t want people to have to drive anywhere) and it had to offer or let us bring in a “late night snack (more on that later).

At first, I had my heart set on the Hilton on 94th & Cicero in Oak Lawn.  They have a top floor banquet room with a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline.  J called them…they STILL haven’t called us back. 

I went to work one Saturday and J sat on the computer looking at venues. She came across the Marriott Chicago Midway and instantly fell in love.  They had all their prices listed in a .pdf file on their website and the pictures of the place were beautiful.  J put in a call right away and was told she would get a call first thing Monday morning….and she did. Read the rest of this entry »





Ann Sather Restaurant – W. Belmont, Chicago

27 09 2009
  • 909 W. Belmont Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60657
  • (773) 348-2378
  • Website
  • Menu
Ann Sather Restaurant on West Belmont in Chicago.

Ann Sather Restaurant on West Belmont in Chicago.

Every wedding has to have a good story.  When I was the best man in brother’s wedding, we went golfing at 6 AM before the ceremony.  He damn near flipped a golf cart.  The grass was still wet from the morning dew and he was going a little too fast looking for his bar.  He slammed on the breaks and turned the wheel.  He did a pretty good donut and got a couple wheels off the ground, but it stayed upright. 

For my wedding, my brother and I got the bright idea to run to Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood to get cinnamon rolls for the morning.  Not a bad idea…except rush hour had just begun. 

My mom called to see if they had any rolls left.  The lady who answered the phone said they had three dozen left, but they were closing in 50 minutes so we had to get there before then.  Sounded like a challenge that we were about to take. 

Ann Sather’s has four locations in Chicago.  They’re a “Swedish” breakfast place.  They also have pretty good cinnamon rolls.  I don’t remember which show it was, but I saw it on the Food Network.  The rolls looked good on TV, so I had no reason to assume they weren’t going to be good in person. 

The restaurant we chose was the location on West Belmont just east of North Clark Street.  Our hotel was on the extreme south side of Chicago near Midway Airport.  For those of you not familiar with the city, Belmont and Clark is on the far north side.  It was only 14 miles, but even on a good day, that’s a half hour drive….and it wasn’t a good day. Read the rest of this entry »





The Original Maxwell Street Station – S. Cicero, Chicago

27 09 2009
  • 6659 S. Cicero Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60638
  • (773) 581-3500
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
The Original Maxwell Street Station on South Cicero in Chicago.

The Original Maxwell Street Station on South Cicero in Chicago.

My brother loves Chicago Style hot dogs.  You would think that someone who lives so close to Chicago would have access to a Chicago style dog, but you’d be wrong.  Where he lives, just an hour south of the city, no one does them right.

My whole family packed up and headed north for the weekend.  Once we got checked into our hotel, we went looking for lunch.  We went for a walk.  There was a little shack right across the street from our hotel that had everything we wanted.

The Original Maxwell Street Station on the corner of South Cicero and West Marquette Road is one of a handful in Chicago.  The building is very tiny and is really the kind of place I love.  There is very little seating inside the bright yellow building.  There are no tables.  Just a counter that overlooks the kitchen with a few bar stools.  Since we had my one year old niece, my brother decided that wasn’t a good idea.  The only other option is a couple picnic tables right outside.   Again, it was very close to the very busy Cicero Avenue and that made him a little nervous.

It just so happened that the special for the day was 2 Chicago Style Dogs and 2 Fries.  That was perfect.  My brother wanted two dogs and I would take one of the fries.  My dad did the same and my mom took the other order of fries from his order.  They both got the dogs without the tomato wedges that are common on Chicago dogs.  What my brother really likes is the sprout peppers and the poppy seed bun. Read the rest of this entry »





Kuma’s Corner – Chicago, IL

24 09 2009
  • 2900 W. Belmont Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60618
  • (773) 604-8769
  • Website
  • Menu
Kumas Corner on W. Belmont on Chicagos northside.

Kuma's Corner on W. Belmont on Chicago's northside.

 We finally made plans to make the trip the north side of Chicago.  We had to pick up the first of three out-of-town bridesmaids who flew in early to stay with another friend who lived in Bucktown.  We offered just to pick her up at her friend’s place because it was only a ten minute drive to West Belmont and I’d finally get to chow down on Illinois’ best burger.

Kuma’s Corner is on the corner of West Belmont Avenue and North Francisco Avenue in Chicago’s Avondale Neighborhood.  It’s an old corner building that doesn’t look like it should house such a popular restaurant.  The door was open and there were people spilling out when we drove by.  Like most of these neighborhood places, there is no specific parking.  You’re own your own to find something along the street.  Read the rest of this entry »





Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria – South Loop, Chicago

7 09 2009
  • 805 S. State Street
  • Chicago, IL 60605
  • (312) 786-1000
  • Website
  • Menu
Lou Malnatis Pizzeria on South State Street in Chicago.

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria on South State Street in Chicago.

No one in the world does pizza like Chicago.  As far as Chicago deep-dish goes, there are three major players.  Giordano’s, Gino’s East, and Lou Malnati’s.  It’s hard to pick a favorite.  They all have their qualities that make them unique.  Whenever I’m pressed for an answer, I sort of stumble around and try my best not to answer the question.  I like all three.

You’ve seen me write about Lou Malnati’s before.  J’s mom has sent me some frozen pizza’s from Malnati’s mail order business.  Other than that, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a Malnati’s pizza. 

After we left US Cellular Field, we headed downtown to get some pizza.  There are several Lou Malnati’s in Chicago.  The original is in Lincolnwood, but there are multiple locations in the city.  I didn’t choose the one closest to US Cellular.  I wanted to go downtown and give my friends, and my dad, a chance to see more of the city. 

The Malnati’s I chose is on South State Street at East 8th Street.  After a little GPS mishap (it was trying to send us to Indiana when I knew the pizzeria was in the South Loop), we found a parking garage right next to the shop.  It was about 6:30 when we opened the door to find a rather large crowd waiting.  Not a good sign.  My buddy found the hostess who told us it would be about two hours.  We put our names in then went for a beer. Read the rest of this entry »





South Loop Club – Chicago

7 09 2009
  • 1 E. Balbo Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60605
  • (312) 427-2787
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
The South Loop Club on East Balbo Avenue in Chicago

The South Loop Club on East Balbo Avenue in Chicago

After we left US Cellular Field, our plan was to go out for pizza.  That was the plan, anyway.  The game went pretty quick, so we stayed in the parking lot drinking until a guy in a golf cart came around and kicked us out.  We made our way to the pizza joint and found out there was a two hour wait, so we put our name on the list and went looking for a bar. 

The first bar we came to was the South Loop Club on the corner of State Street and Balbo Avenue.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside and since we’re a bunch of country boys, a bar that doesn’t look like much is exactly what we were looking for. 

The South Loop Club is a typical dive bar only it’s in downtown Chicago.  We had been drinking quite a bit and half the guys had to find a bathroom.  On our way in, we saw a sign that said “No Public Restrooms,” so we turned around and left.  One of the guys went back in to see if that meant there were no public restrooms at all or there were no public restrooms for non-patrons.  Turned out to be the latter, so we went back in and found a table. Read the rest of this entry »





US Cellular Field – Chicago

7 09 2009
  • 333 W. 35th Street
  • Chicago, IL 60616
  • (312) 674-1000
  • Website
US Cellular Field on W. 35th Street in Chicago.

US Cellular Field on W. 35th Street in Chicago.

Most guys use their bachelor party as an excuse to go to a strip club.  Most of my friends fit into that generalization as well.  Strip clubs aren’t really my thing, so when my brother asked what I wanted to do for my bachelor party, I didn’t hesitate and said I wanted to go to a White Sox game. 

US Celluar Field is on West 35th Street on Chicago’s south side.  No one I know actually calls the place US Celluar Field.  Most people refer to it simply as “The Cell.”  The old timers still call it “Comiskey” (the original name was Comiskey Park named after the old park and owner Charles Comiskey).  The Chicago media likes to use the name “US Comiskular” (combining US Cellular and Comiksey).

The “new” Comiskey Park was opened in 1991.  They were a year too early.  New Comiskey was built as the ball park of the future.  It had clean lines.  A symmetrical shape and it was quite sterile.  There was really no character.  One year later, when Camden Yards opened, Comiskey’s futuristic styling was already a thing of the past.  The retro look is what actually took off and every ballpark since then has been designed after the success of Camden….not Comiskey. Read the rest of this entry »





Wings Around The World – Chicago

7 09 2009
  • 510 E. 75th Street
  • Chicago, IL 60616
  • (773) 483-9120
  • Website
  • Menu
Wings Around the World on E. 75th in Chicago.

Wings Around the World on E. 75th in Chicago.

Back in May when J and I got engaged, the first thing out of my brother’s mouth was, “Where do you want to do the Bachelor Party?”  I chose a baseball game.  I knew right away what I wanted to do. 

Like every other time that I go somewhere with a group of people, my goal is to bring as much local flavor to the party as possible.  We decided on pizza for after the game, but we needed some tailgate food.  BBQ was thrown around as was hitting up a bar near the park, but I eventually found a wing joint not too far away that got rave reviews on Yelp.com and Google.  It had been voted best wings in Chicago and I believe I saw the place on a Travel Channel show (although I can’t remember which one).

Wings Around the World is on 75th Street at South Eberhart Avenue.  It’s strictly a carry-out place with a small store front along the commercial district in this particular neighborhood.  My brother called on Friday to see if we needed to pre-order since we were putting in a pretty large order.  The guy he talked to said no, just call right at noon when they open. 

I was already at J’s parents, so the van of guys picked me up a little after noon in the south suburbs.  Bad news whenI got in the car.  My buddy K had been calling non-stop since noon and there was no answer.  I grabbed my brother’s Iphone and started looking for a backup plan.  Read the rest of this entry »





Honky Tonk BBQ – Chicago

16 06 2009
  • 1213 W. 18th Street
  • Chicago, IL 60608
  • (312) 226-7427
  • Website
  • Menu
Honky Tonk BBQ in Chicagos Pilsen neighborhood.

Honky Tonk BBQ in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood.

Since we were in the wedding planning mood, J and I decided to practice for our honeymoon by going out for BBQ….guess where we’re going for the honeymoon 😉 )  Last week, I put a post on Chow.com asking for a good place to eat before a White Sox game.  One of the places suggested was a BBQ place a few miles north of The Cell.  Unfortunately, the game is at 3:00 but the restaurant doesn’t open until four.  I showed the website to J and she suggested we go for dinner one night.

Honky Tonk BBQ is on 18th Street near Racine Avenue in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.  We happened to luck out and the one parking meter directly in front of the restaurant was open, so we pulled in and fed the meter.  The restaurant is in a very unassuming building that looks like it’s the back side of the grocery store on the corner.  The door looks more like a service door than the main entrance, but the address was right and there was an “open” sign lighted in a window, so we assumed the door was right.  The steps up are pretty steep and the last step is a doozy if you’re not paying attention.

The restaurant is divided into two rooms.  There’s a few tables and a take out window when you walk in.  To the left right is another dining room that is a little bit larger with more tables.  We weren’t quite sure of procedure.  I went to the window and picked up a paper menu, but J noticed the menus on the table.  Someone in the kitchen told us to take a seat and a waitress would be right with us. Read the rest of this entry »





Rosie’s Drive-In – Oak Lawn, IL

15 06 2009
  • 10235 S. Cicero Avenue
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60453
  • (708) 636-7717
  • Website
  • Menu
Rosies Drive-In on South Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

Rosie's Drive-In on South Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

I’ve been in the Chicago area for three days now.  I’ve had two pizzas, but no Italian beef.  J and her mom got up to go do some wedding planning that I didn’t need to be there for, so I slept in.  When I got up, I was hungry.  I wanted an Italian beef…..bad.   J’s parents have recommended a little place just around the corner.  They have Italian beef and it was close, so that’s where I went.

Rosie’s Drive-In is on South Cicero Street at 103rd in Oak Lawn.  It’s not a Drive-In in the traditional sense.  There are no speakers in the parking lot and no car hops.  It is a small building that does most of it’s business with carry-out and drive thru. 

Since I hate drive thrus, I chose to park my car and go inside.  To my surprise, there was seating inside the building.  I didn’t think it looked very big from the outside, but there are a handful of tables so you can actually sit an eat.  Since J’s parents live right around the corner, I chose to take my sandwich with me.  Read the rest of this entry »