Chicago-style food in Northern suburbs - help! [incl link to Cecil'c SD-Chi Column]

Hi all.

I’m planning a baby-daddy shower for my husband in a few weeks - my sister is throwing me an all-ladies shower, so I thought it’d be fun to send the men out (in a limo!) to celebrate Mr. Smaje’s impending fatherhood.

I’m originally from the Chicagoland area, but have lived outside the state for many years. Mr. Smaje would love to have his baby-daddy shower at a restaurant that serves classic Chicago-style food, but we’re having a tough time nailing down a place. And so I turn to the Dopers for help.

I’d like to find a restaurant within 30 or so minutes of the hip-hoppin’ town of Antioch, IL (about 15 minutes from Gurnee and a stone’s throw from the Wisconsin border). The original plan was to hit up a Gino’s East or Lou Malnati’s, but the ones I found that are within a half-hour’s drive are either not open for lunch on Saturday or are just take-out, not sit-down full-service.

So here are the caveats:

  1. Within 30 minutes drive of Antioch, IL.
  2. Open on Saturdays for lunch.
  3. Must serve alcohol.
  4. Must serve Chicago-style food (preferably deep dish pizza and killer sandwiches).

Worse comes to worst, there’s a Gino’s East in Deerfield (about 45 minutes drive), but I’d like to find something closer.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

Since there’s a whole Straight Dope Chicago forum, let me move this there for you.

twickster, Cafe Society moderator

There has got to be a Portillo’s near you. They serve alcohol and have tables, but I don’t think they have waitress service.

Portillo’s would be at the top of the list, had it not been for the lack of waitress service. And the closest location is about 40 miles away. But thanks for that suggestion!

Hm. There’s this place. But it doesnt’ appear to be sit down, either. You could always try Giordano’s, since there’s one in Gurnee but. . .meh. And I won’t even mention the chain Uno’s (as opposed to the real one downtown).

Wow, you live in the boonies to not be near a Portillo’s!

Have you tried Yelp? You can type in your address and a type of joint and it will give you lots of suggestions. I searched on “Chicago Style” near Antioch, and got:

  • a Giordano’s in Gurnee
  • Uno in Gurnee
  • Lou Malnati’s in Lakewood
  • Chicago Pizza Authority in Round Lake

and a bunch of others. I don’t know how close those are to you, but they sound worth investigating. Good luck!

Any chance of finding a place to order in deep dish ‘zzas? Add italian beef sandwiches too. Perhaps the house of someone who is at the ladies’ party?

You’d save a fortune by buying your own beer too. I’m in Wilmette, but what I know is probably too far to go.

Is there a Barnaby’s Pizza near you? It’s sorta thin pizza, but they are all dark-wood ‘Man caves’

Consider Moretti’s in Fox Lake.

There’s a Portillo’s in Vernon Hills. That’s a little over 20 miles from Antioch.

Congrats, smaje1, Cecil Himself has responded in the Straight Dope - Chicago column this week! See:

There’s actually a Gino’s East (along with several other good restaurants) in Lake Geneva. From the intersection of 59 & 83 it’s about 22-25 miles depending on the way you go. On Google Maps, I plotted west on 59 to 173, then west on 173 to US 12. Took 12 north to where it went to 4-lane divided, but took County H from there to Baker St in Lake Geneva, then two blocks west to Wrigley Drive. Gino’s East is just a little north from there, at the Harbor Shores hotel, 300 Wrigley Drive. That way was about 21.6 miles, while taking 12 up all the way to 50 and then over was about 23.8, and taking 83 to 50 and over was about 25, though it might be the fastest.

I’ll second Moretti’s. Good food, nice place.

Thanks for all of the suggestions! They ended up going to Gino’s East in Deerfield (a long drive, but the vodka and whiskey in the limo made it worth it) and everyone had a great time. My husband was amazed at the Chicago-style pizza (“They put the sauce on top! The sausage was just one huge patty!”).

Glad to know I can turn to the Straight Dope for (almost) all of my problems!