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Walking around DePaul University's campus, it's possible for a few moments to feel completely separated from the city, which is an impressive feat for a college plopped down right in the middle of Lincoln Park. But the city is always there if you need it, especially when it is time to eat. In fact, restaurant options in the North Side neighborhood are nearly limitless, so I tried to focus on places located in the immediate vicinity.
No matter what style of pizza you crave, from extra thick to paper thin, options abound. In search of classic deep dish? Lou Malnati's is there for you. Want a thick pizza that also happens to have a caramelized cheese exterior? Pequod's is a short walk away. Prefer Chicago's tavern-style thin crust? Pat's Pizza is one of the best purveyors of this style in the city. And if all this Chicago pizza starts to weigh you, Pizzeria Da Nella offers one of the best Neapolitan pies around.
Hot Dog Stands
Though there are no out-right classic stands (the Wiener Circle is a good mile away) the area does sport three excellent and underrated stands. Along with great little burgers, Devil Dawgs serves a collection of great sausages and fresh cut fries. Go with the more unusual hot dog options at Chicago's Dog House, and make sure to get a side of its house-made frips (very thin chips). Branko's stands apart for its friendly old school atmosphere and for its excellent grilled chicken sandwich.
If you have a weakness for thin griddled burgers, Devil Dawgs is your place. If you want something you can really sink your teeth into, Butcher and the Burger allows you to pick out precisely the burger experience you want.
It's no exaggeration to call Floriole one of the best bakeries anywhere. Just about everything I've tried, from the croissants to the mini pizzas, has been great. If it is too packed, get your sweet tooth satiated at Sweet Mandy B's.
At first glance, The Athenian Room looks like every other Greek diner around town. And yes, this is a salad with french fries on top. But those fries happen to be extra crispy and tossed with all kinds of herbs, making them oddly hard to stop eating. This place also happens to be Tina Fey's favorite restaurant in town.
Once again, there are options. Pick your mood and you have an option. Looking for a place to casually dine on expertly made sandwiches? The Bourgeois Pig gets it done. Just looking for a corner deli, preferably one with a family-run vibe and loads of daily specials? Check out Sal's Deli. Speed and convenience your biggest worry? It's hard to think of a faster sandwich making operation than Uncle Sammy's.
This isn't the best 'hood for tacos, but if you're looking for some meat freshly griddled fillings, Allende gets the job done quickly.
Allende Restaurant, 2408 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 (map); 773-477-7114
It's not all frat bars and Old Style specials (not that there there is anything wrong with either of those things). In fact, Barrelhouse Flat offers some of the best cocktails in the whole city, and the food ain't bad either. With walls of flat screen TVs, Barn & Company is an excellent place to watch the game that just so happens to serve some good barbecue to boot.
Have any favorites that didn't make the cut? Because I never attended DePaul, these are just the places that looked best to me as an outsider. But if there are any college bars that should be included, definitely let me know.