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Best tamale not served from a red cooler

Belmont-Cragin, Food & Drink No Comments »

Uchepos Grantinados at Sol de Mexico
Do not wait drunkenly for the tamale guy. You will regret it in the morning. Instead, hail a cab to Belmont Cragin and order up a pair of these fluffy, almost soufflé-like corn cakes stuffed with bits of corn drizzled with green chilaca chili cream.

Sol de Mexico, 3018 North Cicero, (773)282-4119,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Polish pub with tiki ambiance

Belmont-Cragin, Culture & Nightlife No Comments »

Club Paradise

Once the owner, a middle-aged lady with spiky, blonde hair, is convinced you’re not with the liquor control board, you’re sure to have a blast at this Polska-Polynesian hybrid in the Schorsch Village neighborhood. The bar’s tiki heritage is evident in the décor: bamboo walls, tanks of tropical fish, Tahitian carvings and a flamingo-filled fountain and Buddha sculpture behind the bar. They still make a decent Mai Tai and Banana Spider but, nowadays, reflecting the area’s current demographics, Okocim beer is the most popular drink here, Polish is the lingua franca, and all the barmaids are gorgeous recent arrivals.

7068 West Belmont

Best of Chicago 2010

Best meatball sandwich

Audience Choice, Belmont-Cragin, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

The Original Nottoli & Son
From Mangino’s to Fontano’s to the Brown Sack there are plenty of great meatball sammies in town. None of them, however, are served by an old pro wrestler named Vito “Two Fingers” Fontaine (the nom de guerre of owner George Nottoli).

7652 West Belmont

Audience choice:

Bari Foods
1120 West Grand

Best of Chicago 2010