Where To Grab Food Near The St. Patrick’s Day ParadeSomehow you ended up downtown for the parade. Here's where to eat nearby.
For better or worse, you're downtown for St. Patrick’s Day, and you have the rest of the day in front of you. Before starting in on the green beer, you should eat something. Here are some great options nearby.
Venteux is an upscale French brasserie inside the Pendry in the Loop. And unlike a lot of other nearby hotel restaurants at similar levels of fancy-ness, Venteux isn’t stuffy. There’s a clubby soundtrack, and a surprising amount of diners who were too young to vote for Obama. The menu is full of solid versions of French classics, like seared foie gras on brioche, steak au poivre, and enough shellfish to warrant its own section of the menu. So if you have out-of-towners visiting, consider meeting them here for dinner or bottomless brunch before taking them around the city for some boozy sightseeing.
You need to know about The Dearborn, an easy-to-like spot with a long American menu that works for a lot of occasions. It’s nice enough for a business dinner, but still casual enough for a post-parade lunch in your finest green t-shirt. Plus, the space is huge, with multiple rooms that work for large groups or couples. Order the pork belly appetizer and any of the salads, then make sure someone gets a cheeseburger—it’s really good.
The Gage is our top choice in the Loop for bar food. The menu is full of elevated classics, like bison tartare, poutine, and entrees like fish and chips. Since this spot is right across from Millenium Park, you can also plan on it being full of tourists. But at least they’re the cool kind of tourists who know where to go for a good meal.
For a break from the crowded Chicago streets, go to Cindy’s. It’s on Michigan Ave on top of the Chicago Athletic Association, and has beautiful views overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. It’s particularly good for groups, with a lot of dishes designed to be shared among three or four people. You’ll probably have to wait for the elevator, but if you could handle the parade, you'll be fine.
Cafecito has one of our favorite sandwiches in the city, and this casual spot is convenient for a quick meal after the parade. Order a Cubano—it’s the best thing here, which is saying something since their other sandwiches, like the ropa vieja, are also very good. Get a cafe con leche too. Cafecito has a few other locations in the city, but the one in the Loop is the best since it’s probably the one within walking distance of your office.
Bereket is a Turkish restaurant that took over a space that used to be a counter-service restaurant. But the food on the long menu should be savored. Everything is housemade–from the fresh bread that starts your meal to the firm manti topped with marinara and yogurt sauce. The tender döner meat in the iskendar pairs wonderfully with its buttery tomato-sauce-soaked croutons, and the flaky baklava will make you wonder “Why don’t I eat more baklava?”
This spot is right on the river and owned by the same people as Beatnik in West Town. And much like the original Beatnik, this place puts a lot of effort into its atmosphere. It’s meant to feel like a lively European cafe (so it can get a little loud), and it has an eclectic menu, with dishes like beet hummus, crab brandade, and curried meatballs. It's small, opens at 3pm, and doesn't take reservations, but give it a shot.