Bridgeport, South Side
I walked up to Johnny O's with the intent to fall in love. I have a serious weakness for old school Chicago stands, especially ones with faded signs and walkup windows. Added to this, Johnny O's specializes in two hard to find Chicago classics: the breaded steak sandwich and the mother-in-law. Very few places serve either, and I've never been anywhere that served both.
If you're in the mood for some gut-busting adventure, this is your sandwich. Just make sure to load it up with some spicy giardiniera, which nobly tries to cut through the grease.
Though the food here is unlike anything I've ever eaten at home, if this is what "homestyle" really means, you can keep your rough cut fries.
You don't have to be a White Sox fan to appreciate Schaller's Pump in Bridgeport, but it sure helps.
Ready for another Chicago sandwich classic? Follow me to the northeast corner of Bridgeport, where a sliver of 26th Street is cut off from the rest of the neighborhood by ten lanes of I-90/94. There you'll find Ricobene's, an enormous quick-service Italian restaurant famous for serving a breaded steak sandwich.
With a name like Mr. Spanky's, you're bound to expect hijinks, especially when the most popular item on the menu is called the Badass B.L.T. ($3.50). But while there is a little bit of that going on, what's most surprising is how compact and well thought out this sandwich is.
Pleasant House Bakery's low profile, white-washed and black-lettered exterior is an anglophile's dream. It gets even better when you walk into the sun-soaked interior, soothing smells wafting through the timeless wood paneled dining room and inviting smiles coming from within the countered kitchen.
Located in the shadow of the Stevenson on a quiet strip of Archer, Bridgeport Bakery is a quietly unassuming spot providing the area with just what its name promises- no more, no less.
Like many of my favorite stands in Chicago, Mr. Spanky's makes little sense and is all the better for it. For example, here you can procure house-made bacon and sausage, freshly prepared salads, and, just to throw the whole thing off, meaty mini-sandwiches served on a "custom made Chinese baked bun."
I almost cried with joy when I unwrapped the cheeseburger at Hamburger Heaven Express and gazed upon the patty's gorgeous blackened crust—clear evidence of a hot griddle. Look at it! I legitimately thought I had found paradise.
I realize that I'm writing about a concession item at U.S. Cellular Field even though I recently went to all the trouble of putting together a list of places to eat before a White Sox game. Thing is, even though I'd eaten earlier in the evening, around the the fifth inning or so I got a little peckish, okay?
Chelsea and Art Jackson, the owners of Pleasant House Bakery are reinventing English food in Chicago. Chelsea answered a few questions about the menu and concept at Pleasant House, the transition to the food truck, and what, exactly, a Royal Pie is.
For the vegetarian diner, Nana Organic has thought of you—rather lovingly, in fact. The menus have lots of thoughtful meatless options to choose from, and many straddle breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner.
A few weeks ago, I examined the offerings around Wrigley Field, which turned out not to be nearly as hard as I'd imagined. But as the last three games have resoundingly proved (go Sox!), there is another baseball team in Chicago that deserves some attention. Here are some great places to eat around U.S. Cellular Field.
Sometimes the whole experience and atmosphere surrounding a meal elevates an otherwise simple sandwich to extraordinary levels of satisfaction. That is definitely the case with the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Bagel Sandwich ($4.95) from Bridgeport Coffee Company.
Every baseball team deserves to have at least one great hot dog stand nearby. The White Sox have two. 35th Street Red Hots is one, but the other is Morrie O'Malley's, a cheery and well lit space, that featuring a menu absolutely brimming with delicious possibilities.
When you mention Maxwell Street, most Chicagoans have one food in mind—a massive Polish sausage in a bun topped with mustard and caramelized onions. Jim's Original is considered the originator of the dish, and it is still the most famous practitioner in the city, but it is definitely not the only one.
Called Farm to Barstool, the video tracks how Pleasant House Bakery's Art Jackson transforms produce from gardens around Bridgeport into fillings for his unbelievable savory pies. The pies are then delivered next door for the hungry patrons at Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar (hence the barstool in the title).
If you've never had proper bangers and mash, one of the great British culinary contributions to the world, head on over to Pleasant House and treat yourself to a plate. Uncommonly juicy, yet not at all greasy, the flavor is mild and subtle. They have a soft snap and just a touch of heat from the white pepper.