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Sometimes you want to eat well. Sometimes you just miss your grandparents. Petey's is a midwestern-supper-club-style time warp with flashes of Greek-American when the flaming saganaki appears. From the gorgeous neon martini sign at its Oak Lawn location (there's a nonretro outpost in Orland Park) to the blast of garlic bread gusting from the front door, Petey's harkens to a time when men ate their steaks in sport coats, and wedge salads were as big as their wives' bouffants. The food, alas, is seasoned and prepared to suit that era's indiscrimination—congee-consistency Greek lemon soup; huge, industrial-grade steak and chops; textureless rib boilbecue; etc. But the thick burgers are decent, and meals begin with massive complimentary relish trays, heaps of canned beets, and scoops of cottage cheese and macaroni salad, and end with ice cream, rice pudding or Jell-O. The real draw is the lifer waitresses, quick with the "hons" and "sweeties," and the swinging senior set that packs the place on weekends. —Mike Sula
"Jerusalem-style" Middle Eastern restaurant in the former Sheeba space.
CLOSED. Rich, stewy Caribbean food up the street from the Fourth District courthouse.
There's no shortage of good Polish food in the city, but I wouldn't dream of heading to Gary for a Railcats game ($10 or less!) without stopping at Hammond's Cavalier Inn first. A landmark to the northern Indiana Polish community, the Cav was founded in 1949 by the late, beloved Wally Kasprzycki; it's now run by his son Wally Jr. and his mother Mary, who still makes the pierogies twice a week into the wee hours of the morning. Mammoth portions of fried chicken livers, stuffed cabbage, potato pancakes, and Polish sausage, preceded by a gratis trio of bean salad, coleslaw, and cottage cheese, are mostly priced under $10, many closer to $5. And you couldn't find a friendlier spot to dive into them. —Mike Sula
South-suburban gem with lively Cajun fare, large outdoor garden, and live jazz.
Bridgeview might be known as our region's mecca for Middle Eastern food, but I'd rather go to Worth. Following a split from the acclaimed Al Bawadi, the Dyab family—including chef Majed Dyab, a kitchen veteran with decades of experience—opened this outstanding spot three miles south on Harlem. Majed executes a number of unusual dishes including a complimentary eggplant salad and torshi relish tray; piping hot, fried-to-order falafel stuffed with caramelized vegetables; the bracing whipped garlic and potato dip muthawama; fruit cocktails layered with candied nuts, cream, and floral syrups; cheese- and meat-stuffed arayes (kind of like a pita quesadilla); and for the gutsy, a spleen sandwich. The everyday items—smoky baba ganoush, whole-chickpea-studded fateh hummus, orange-scented merguez sausages, and the wood-grilled chickens and kebabs—are pretty special too, made with the kind of love that's evident when a family puts its soul into a menu.
Family-oriented suburban pizza parlor.
Above-average barbecue joint in the south suburbs.
Riverside breakfast-and-lunch spot.
Viewed from the strip mall parking lot next to a combination lottery ticket and Chinese-takeout counter, Cunis Candies has all the charm of a Baskin-Robbins. But the old-timey ice cream parlor, opened by George Askounis in Chicago the same year as the Century of Progress, is an original. While the regular flavors of dense, American-style, house-churned ice cream are pretty good (rum raisin being a personal favorite), come summertime fresh peach and blueberry are essential picks. Sundaes drizzled with a dark chocolate sauce hint at the quality of the huge variety of hand-molded and/or -dipped chocolates, everything from almond bark to coated Oreos, green meltaways to cherry cordials, dixies to turtles. —Mike Sula
Old-fashioned Italian beef stand at the corner of 81st and Harlem.
Calumet Park breakfast-and-lunch counter.
Fresh, creative New American restaurant on the far south side.
23 total results