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 »

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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 »





Nicky’s Carry-Out, Crestwood, IL

14 09 2009
  • 14001 Cicero Avenue
  • Crestwood, IL 60445
  • (708) 388-4626
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Nickys Carry-Out in Crestwood, IL

Nicky's Carry-Out in Crestwood, IL

Months before I started dating J, I was sent up to Chicago to shoot a high school basketball game at St. Xavier University on the south side.  I didn’t know then that I’d be spending so much time on the south side of Chicago and when I got off the Interstate on Cicero Avenue, my first order of business was finding some place to get an Italian beef. 

The first place I came across was Nicky’s Carry-Out in Crestwood, so I stopped and got a beef.  I didn’t know it at the time, but there was a Portillo’s right down the street.  If I had known that, I probably would have waited, but I’m sort of glad I didn’t. 

I haven’t been back to Nicky’s since then even though we do drive by it quite a bit on our way to J’s parents’ house.  On my last trip home by myself, I had to make a stop at J’s parents on the way back to Lansing to pick up some things we forgot on our last trip home. 

I left my parents in kind of a rush because I slept much later than I had intended.  After a quick stop at my brother’s, I headed towards Chicago….hungry.  I could have stopped at Portillo’s, but since I was by myself, I decided to stop at Nicky’s to see if it was what I remembered now that I’ve been formally introduced to Chicago cuisine. 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 »