The Jerusalem-style of grill is a kind of metal trench which you might mistake for a planter, if it weren't on fire. Burning coals are piled up in it, and then the meats to be grilled are threaded on metal skewers just long enough to rest on the grill directly over the coals.
Claire's Korner, on the west side of Evanston, serves up a cafeteria line of Jamaican classics six days a week. There's just a few seats, so the assumption is you're taking it to go and either way it comes in a styrofoam container.
Pop's is probably not worth making a trek for, but it's a dependable and solid local stand, and I'd be lucky to have one nearby.
What's nice about O'Connor's sausages is that nothing is too out there; he calls his food "blue collar gourmet food," which pretty much sums up an approach of quality with lack of pretension.
Wiener & Still Champion has been on my list since I started writing about fried food, and I finally bit the bullet and braved the Kennedy and Edens the other night to see what all the fuss was about. Since it's such a jaunt for me, I decided to go all out and order every house made fried item, because why the hell not?
Back Alley Burger in La Grange has a super lineup of creative burgers and sides with fab shakes and homemade pie.
Sarkis Cafe is often confused with Sarks in the Park in Lincoln Park, but they aren't the same thing. Sure they serve some similar sandwiches and breakfast all day, but Sarkis doesn't deliver and it's been around forever.
Thai O'Cha in Darien is a hidden gem with all the greatest hits, well-prepared
Feast & Imbibe is an underground restaurant juxtaposing a casual atmosphere with a multi-course tasting menu presented by chef D'Andre Carter and beverage pairings by sommelier Heather Bublick.
Uncle Bub's BBQ in Westmont dishes up tasty smoked meats and superior sides.
Little Joe's in Countryside is a must for Italian beef and hot dogs, topped with shaved celery giardiniera.
Fred's in Burlington, Wisconsin, has one amazing burger and great Parmesan-covered, house-made potato chips, too.
Captain Porky's in Wadsworth goes to great pains to source and serve some of the area's best barbecue and seafood, all under one wood-trimmed roof.
If you haven't been introduced, meet the meatball sub at Freddy's Pizza. It's a monster of a sandwich. Each meatball is the size of a fist and served on a roll as long as a forearm (hey, I didn't have a tape measurer, and my arm was close).
Mrs. T's Pizza in Downers Grove is easily overlooked, but standout mushroom pizza makes it destination-worthy.
Gene & Jude's has been closed since mid-April due to flooding, but there was finally some good news over the weekend, when it announced that it was renovating the space.
Schmaltz is a Jewish deli in Naperville, serving great pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, potato pancakes, homemade soup, noodle kugel and cookies.
Riverside Restaurant is one of a handful of remaining Berwyn area Bohemian restaurants, serving destination-worthy bread dumplings and roast duck.
Chinese Kitchen in Westmont serves authentic fare in an unassuming setting, with standout dishes like fried tofu with jalapenos and salt.
Rand Red Hots is not a copy of Gene & Jude's, Redhot Ranch, or any other minimalist hot dog stand in the area. It's actually unique, which is about as big of a compliment as I could give it.