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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, July 24

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miss ellen / June 6, 2005 8:07 PM

hannah's bretzel!

Shasta MacNasty / June 6, 2005 8:39 PM

Ellen! Long time no see! BEST place to grab a (relatively) cheap drink and free pizza after work is Venice Cafe on Wacker and Jackon. Nikki is the best barterner, Bill is just nice to look at. :) Lisa and Laura and some of the best servers around. Very popular after work joint ( pizza!) especially on Friday's.

As far as a Loop lunch, we mostly order in because we're so busy at work. By FAR, our favorite place to order from is Pat's Pizza on Clark St. Some of the best thin crust pizza I've had. I recommend getting extra sauce...but that's just me. :)

miss ellen / June 6, 2005 8:54 PM

oh my, pat's is our "working through dinner time" saviour! we've been making WAY TOO many call's to pat's lately, but we gotta keep it on the DL. fastest delivery around.

good call on the pat's 'za. thin crust is so good, we've never tried anything else...

still at work, peace sister!

Nicole / June 6, 2005 9:27 PM

Bring your own lunch and eat it in Millenium Park!

Jenny / June 6, 2005 9:31 PM

Okay I know I am going to get a million emails on this one but seriously guys the Popeyes Chicken on Wabash between Lake and Randolh is a real hidden gem. I don't know if they use special grease to fry there dirty cajun birds but they have some of the best fried chicky I have ever tasted. I recomend the mild variety with a side of red beans and rice and a buttermilk biscuit. Heaven my darlings! You can even request a packet of honey to put on your biscuit or anything else you can think of (naughty, naughty) there are some hotties behind the counter oiled up and everything. Dig in!

Ray / June 6, 2005 11:00 PM

There is no substitute for the original Heaven on Seven, seventh floor of the Garfield Building.

Leah / June 6, 2005 11:16 PM

Now that I'm temping in the loop again, I'm trying to remember my favorites. Bacci Pizza (two C's, not Baci the sandwich joint.) La Cocina on Wells next to another good one Tokyo Lunch Box.

After work it was always Monk's or Elephant & Castle. But there is that one hotel on Washington with a free wine happy hour and they don't check for hotel keys.

C-Note / June 7, 2005 12:08 AM

Union Park Lounge, Racine & Jackson. Specials alla time, good lunchtime drinks... nice staff... good menu, lots of cops, so you're safe, right?

pang / June 7, 2005 5:51 AM

huge confession time...I have a soft spot for the Exchequer on Wabash between Adams and Jackson. It's a classic bar with a restaurant. There is nothing glam, trendy or healthy about that place, but boy, if you want a grilled cheese, fish & chips or just some sort of grease, it's the place to get your fixin's.

And we just discovered Pat's Pizza too. Where have you been all of my life? So good!

Steve / June 7, 2005 8:09 AM

I like the Exchequer, but I LOVE Miller's!

Erica / June 7, 2005 8:25 AM

I love Singha -- this thai place on Kinzie and Clark -- so much that I order delivery now that our office has moved far away. Truth be told, I just really love thai food.

Best place for an after-work drink would be Billy Goat on lower Michigan or J. Randolph's Bar and Grill at Randolph and Michigan. J. Randolph was the first bar my husband and I passed after he proposed to me, so we went there for a celebratory drink, so maybe the explains my partiality.

Veronica #2 / June 7, 2005 8:53 AM

i was always really partial to cosi

but i dont work in the loop anymore. i miss the tall buildings.

Amy / June 7, 2005 9:07 AM

I second the comments on Cosi and Cafe Bacci, both great for soup & salad.
I am also a fan of the salad bar at MacKellys on Adams & Wabash, which has a great selection of fruits, veggies, meats and cheeses.

benny / June 7, 2005 9:07 AM

Tokyo Lunchbox on Van Buren and Wells is the way to go. I try to have them make rolls fresh - they're noticably better that way.

kendra / June 7, 2005 9:14 AM

how about the cultural center on washington? you can bring your lunch (or buy semi-pricey charlie trotter's sandwiches and really tasty sweets) & listen to free music in their cafe! tuesdays & fridays @ 12:15:

kendra / June 7, 2005 9:15 AM


mel / June 7, 2005 9:28 AM

Monk's Pub (on Lake, across the river from the Merch. Mart) has a real British-style veggie burger... Something I haven't had or been able to find anywhere!

salty / June 7, 2005 9:55 AM

I second Hannah's Bretzel!

I went there on... ok a *weekend*, but, anyway, the owner was there, and he was pointing out his 2 year old daughter Hannah to us. I thought he was just some crazy guy, and didn't realize he owned the place. ha ha ha

Damn fine pretzels, and a great organic salad. Mmm. Hot pretzels.

John H / June 7, 2005 9:57 AM

Italian Village. They had a butternut squash raviolli on the lunch menu that was simply the best meatless pasta I've ever had. The bar is first class as well. Maybe the clientle is a little stiff but substance trumps style any day.

elena / June 7, 2005 10:02 AM

I second Hanna's Brezel -- their pretzel's are surprisingly fresh and you can even get them heated up and with butter (a classic!). But does anyone know the name of that mysterious and very good little Indian place on Lake? It is in the basement and there is only a very small sign inside the glass doors on street level. But they make their naan fresh and they have a selection of 6 or 7 dishes a day (it is cafeteria-style, like Zaiqa) that they serve on china plates of assorted patterns. It is inexpensive and delicious.

Y A J / June 7, 2005 10:11 AM

Another vote for Heaven on Seven. Hot & spicy cajun food helps me get over the mid-day slump. What, you haven't been yet? SHish, don't tell anyone, just go soon. (Anyone notice their crawfish wandering around Millenium Park last year??? Security chased them off - wish I had seen that!)

My other favorite is To Pho Cafe - fresh, healthy Vietnamese right on Wabash. It's also great to stop by for to-go food before the symphony in the park.

miss ellen / June 7, 2005 10:23 AM

elena, that indian place is located right near monk's @ approx. lake & wells, right?

if so, i really must check it out! i've always wondered about that place & i'm staffed at a client's office right near there (225 wacker). thanks for the tip.

Tequila Red / June 7, 2005 11:03 AM

Goodwin's (175 N Franklin) has scrumdelicious, super fresh sandwiches. Vegetarians: do not miss the Madison, a $5 taste of heaven.

The lunch lines can get pretty long but they go fast. You can also call and order ahead.

MC High Life / June 7, 2005 11:11 AM

As far as bars go, you can't go wrong with Cal's or the Sky-Ride lounge. Cheap as hell drinks. Both located in the south loop.

e_five / June 7, 2005 12:47 PM

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Miller's Pub on Wabash, which could qualify under both the lunch and bar nominations. Love the egg lemon soup.

Boni Vino Pizza on Van Buren has a big, affordable menu of Italian food and a very old school Chicago atmosphere.

Y A J / June 7, 2005 12:49 PM

I'm searching for the Indian place on Lake. I just wandered up and down the street with no luck. Does anyone know the name or the address? Is it an urban myth?

libby / June 7, 2005 12:57 PM

i don't work in the loop anymore but i used to hit ceres in the board of trade for the strongest drinks with to-go cup potential quite often, plus they boast the nicest waitress - the gal with the red hair.

cgs / June 7, 2005 1:02 PM

Chicken Planet rocks. I like the half chicken with mashed for six bucks. Fifteen feet of grill space covered with chickens.

Jackson between State and Dearborn.

Amy / June 7, 2005 1:09 PM

For lunch, Brian's on Lake, btw Wabash & Michigan is good for fresh squeezed juice and sandwiches.

miss ellen / June 7, 2005 1:21 PM

the place i'm thinking of was in the basement of a building that houses some club on the 1st floor. it used to (i don't know if it ever opened) be superbar or something, now it's got a blue logo & it's called wet. i haven't even noticed the sign for the indian place in awhile, but it was just west of monk's pub.....

i'll have to go case the block on my walk back to client's office.

JJZ / June 7, 2005 1:46 PM

Perry's Deli.

curtsy / June 7, 2005 2:32 PM

Hey C-Note, how in hell is Racine and Jackson "in the loop"?! Get a map. Cheers to Cal's, Sky Ride Tap, Miller's Pub, Monk's, and Billy Goat under Mich Ave (not technically in the Loop but a short toss.) Gone (but not forgotten) -- the bar under the escalators in the old Greyhound terminal at Clark & Randolph, Rossi's (on State btw Kinzie & Hubbard), and the Billy Goat on Washington just west of Franklin.

Staci / June 7, 2005 2:36 PM

When I used to work in the loop, I liked to escape for lunch at Bin 36. Their lunch prices aren't too pricey, and they give you a free bottle of water, cup of coffee and cookie on your way out. It's a nice treat. Now that my office is at Columbus and Wacker, I don't really have a favorite. My coworkers and I usually have to fight the conventioners for something in the dreary pedway.

mike / June 7, 2005 3:15 PM

No mention yet of the pub - bar -lounge whatsit in Union Station, so I must. I take occational trips to see friends in Milwaukee by train and I usually try to get to the station an hour or so early to hang out at the bar. I have never had anything but friendly service there. A decent place to strike up a conversation with travelers. You've got to sit at the bar though to expierence it. If your at a table, you're an island.

bill / June 7, 2005 3:17 PM

Fontano's subs near Sears Tower. Absolutely the best.

Michael / June 7, 2005 3:42 PM

Cavanaugh's in the Monodnock Building. Decent chow & the kind of bar you would think you could find in the Loop.

Kirsten / June 7, 2005 3:48 PM

I work by Columbus and Wacker too, 233 N. Michigan, and if you need a quiet getaway, the Urban Kitchen underneath the Hyatt is pretty decent for a sit down place, and not usually crowded.
Otherwise, I also like Sopprafina's and India House on Grand and Dearborn for their lunch buffet, even though it's not technically in the Loop.

B / June 7, 2005 3:58 PM

Trader Vic's is the only bar I frequent downtown. There's a drink special usually Mon-Thurs - watch out for the Zombie on Wednesdays. They can kill.

roderick / June 7, 2005 4:01 PM

I don't have anything to add, except that I work in the same building as Kirsten and miss ellen. Pimpstyle, yo.

And I'll be sampling each and every one of the above mentioned lunchtime places to eat. Yum.

Dragonslayer / June 7, 2005 4:02 PM

Grease, grease and mo' grease at Luke's at Wells and Jackson. Good, big, greasy burgers and they give enough fries for two.

Pretty good authentic Chicago-style hotdog too.

Emerson Dameron / June 7, 2005 4:50 PM

Luke's Pizza is a cheap, somewhat respectable lunch counter near the Sears Tower. I don't have serious problems with Cosi, at least at lunchtime - their lentil soup is fantastic. Burrito Beach and Taco Fresco are acceptable means to an end, but I always feel absurd eating there, considering that I live in Pilsen.

For a drink, I'll usually go with Miller's, if I'm STUCK in the Loop. On one occasion, my erstwhile romantic interest and I were both in such foul moods, we decided we wouldn't make it to the Hungry Brain before a fight broke out. Short story: We went to the bar at the Congress Hotel. Crossed the picket line and everything. Not one of my shinier moments.

redliner_chi / June 7, 2005 5:16 PM

mmm, Heaven on Seven is very good (though it's in the Garland Building, not Garfield), and in that same area we also enjoy the Pittsfield Cafe, with it's "outdoor" seating in the building lobby. Turkey club sandwiches and really good fountain pop and fries. The other good place around there is the Oasis in the back of one of the jewelry malls.

leah / June 7, 2005 5:37 PM

Ooh ooh, I second the Palmer House, but my poison is the Thursday $5 (up from $4 just a few weeks ago) Mai Tai. Is it Thursday yet?

For food in the Loop proper, I like Ada's on Wabash and about Adams? I think. Good grilled cheese and fries, quick and friendly service. I was shocked to learn a close friend of mine hated it. How can you beat a bucket of pickles on yr table? She must have something against buckets of pickles.

FlowFeel / June 7, 2005 7:26 PM

If you are stuck in the Loop get out of it for lunch - yikes - get out of there!

Mister C / June 7, 2005 8:29 PM

I second Ada's, love the pickle vats (and the potato latkes). For after-work drinks with free food, check out the appetizer buffet at La Rosetta on Madison west of Dearborn.

eep / June 8, 2005 9:37 AM

Thanks for all the tips! I just started working in the Loop a little while ago, and I don't know any places at all. Eating out at the Corner Bakery has already lost its charm, and I've only been there once. I'll have to check out everything you all have mentioned.

Blake / June 8, 2005 10:49 AM

The biggest thing I'll miss about working in the Loop is the ever-expanding Chipotle empire.

On a total tangent, do any of you designers, writers or webbies have the skinny on VSA Partners? They have an appealing brand, but I'm nervous about what may lie beneath....

Josh / June 8, 2005 12:14 PM

"That Indian Place" by Monk's Pub is called La Rosh (Sp?) aka La Roach. They use way too much sty-ro-foam but the food is real tasty and a good deal. There's a prayer room in the front and plenty of Bollywood on the teevee too. On the southside of Lake west of Wabash in the basement!

Dilip / June 8, 2005 12:18 PM

I need that list!
All the free food or drink special in the Loop.

There's Nine for free apps in the bar, but that ends pretty early. Trader Vic's at the Palmer Hotel has great drink specials and I think they still have that apps buffet on Fridays.

Anyone hear about a rumored pedway map?? rumored that one of the Apt buildings downtown keeps a few on hand.

Amy / June 8, 2005 7:15 PM

Check this out for a pedway map

And I love Singha's too even though it's River North but that's where I work

Chad / June 20, 2005 3:31 PM

The Indian place is at 209 W. Lake - New Larosh

I also second Goodwin's

Lou / October 26, 2005 12:21 PM

I think New Larosh is gone now. Their sign isn't there and their phone seems to have a problem (disconnected?).

Matt / December 20, 2005 3:28 PM

Have you tried

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