website here

Best 1940s drive-in other than Superdawg

Food & Drink, Suburbs No Comments »

Hamburger Heaven

Hamburger Heaven in Elmhurst, like Superdawg, has been in existence since 1948. But even though it doesn’t have Superdawg’s cool architecture, speakers and servers who deliver to your car door, it’s true Americana. Hamburger Heaven features an eclectic menu of olive burgers, Reuben sandwiches, and a double-decker burger that many say inspired the Big Mac. The best thing about Hamburger Heaven is the Richardson’s Root Beer—a staple of 1940s drive-ins, once served out of a giant, six-by-ten-foot wooden barrel that still sits in the middle of the restaurant. It’s sweet, flavorful, not too carbonated, and great in root-beer floats.

281 N. York, Elmhurst, 663.832.3535,

Best of Chicago 2015

Best Evanston-based arts advocate

Culture & Nightlife, Evanston No Comments »

Lisa Corrin, director of the Block Museum

In the two years since Lisa Corrin was appointed the new director of the Block Museum on Northwestern’s campus, she has already raised the institution’s profile with major exhibitions of artists like Terry Adkins and the current survey of Wangechi Mutu. She’s overseen a smartly designed facelift to the Block’s first floor that seeks to make the museum an inviting space for its audiences and the university’s student population. Her passion is palpable in every project she oversees and conversation she strikes up.

40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, 847.491.4000,

Best of Chicago 2014

Best place to hook up with your future sugar baby or daddy

Culture & Nightlife, Suburbs No Comments »

15th Ave. Adult Emporium
There are probably about fifty million bad ways to go about this, most of which are online and involve random, late-night meet-ups in dark places with people who might kill you. But the 15th Ave. Adult Emporium in Melrose Park offers a sporting chance at finding that elusive relationship “arrangement” in a much safer environment. One sugar baby we spoke with said the emporium’s nightclub-like party room, twenty-eight-channel porn theater and discreet private play rooms are also great for adventurous poly and swinger-types.
2125 North 15th, Melrose Park, (708)410-2095,

Best of Chicago 2013

Best reason to believe Northwestern is for real

Evanston, Sports & Recreation No Comments »

The offense
A caveat: This is “for real” by Northwestern’s admittedly lax definitions; no one presumes them to ascend to the throne of the nation, the Big Ten, or even their division. That being said, playing Ohio State close, then getting slaughtered in Camp Randall, should not be taken as the end of the season for Wildcats fans. Fitz and the boys had a bowl win last year, and they will not be sated with just one. Watch the ‘Cats platoon attack at its best, a multi-headed hydra devouring yards, and the thirst is obvious.

Best of Chicago 2013

Best cafe with a deceptively Russian name

Evanston, Food & Drink No Comments »

Brothers K
Alas, it has nothing to do with Dostoyevsky: “Brothers K” deciphers as “Brothers Kim,” and is named after its owners, not Dostoyevsky’s famous novel “The Brothers Karamazov.” Nevertheless, the place attracts the hip Russian population of Evanston and Chicago, who, after realizing the deceptiveness of the cafe’s name, still become regular customers for its excellent coffee, delicious pies, free unlimited wi-fi and artsy ambiance.

500 Main Street, Evanston, (847)328-7940,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best place to try the national food of the former Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (now Uzbekistan)

Food & Drink, Suburbs No Comments »

“Chaihanna” is translated as “tea-house.” This restaurant makes good tea served in a colorful piala, a traditional Asian tea cup. But it is not tea that you should come here for: it is the Uzbek food. The dishes are spicy and flavorful, rich, high in calories, and come in generous portions. This is the go-to place if you are suffering from a hangover: according to the Russian (and former Soviet Union) tradition, nothing helps better than a bowl of hot laghman or shurpa (both are soups with meat).

Chaihanna, 19 East Dundee, Buffalo Grove, (847)215-5044,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Russian literature class

Culture & Nightlife, Evanston No Comments »

Gary Saul Morson’s Introduction to Russian Literature class on Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky at Northwestern University
His annual class attracts 500-600 undergrads, and is famous throughout the country. Professor Morson is not only a distinguished scholar; he is a performer and one-man theater, who manages to talk about “War and Peace” in a way that thoroughly captivates the minds of the American youth. The students’ general attitude toward Morson could be described in brief by a quotation from “Morson is a God.”

Northwestern University, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures , 633 Clark, Evanston, (312)503-8649,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Big Ten fans in Chicago

Audience Choice, Evanston, Sports & Recreation No Comments »

Hey, where are all the Wildcats bars in Wrigleyville? Exactly. Though the Big Ten Conference prides itself on its fusion of academic excellence with athletic accomplishment, too often alums of the various schools leave their brains behind when it comes time to gather with the tribe and cheer for the alma mater on the gridiron or the hardcourt. Northwestern, which is the smallest school in the Big Ten and the only private university left (crosstown rival University of Chicago dropped out of the conference it co-founded in 1946), not only sets itself apart academically, but also in its fans’ understanding of the proper role of sports in life. That’s not to say they don’t support their team—take in a football game at Ryan Field to watch the 7-2 Big ‘Cats and you’ll swim in a sea of purple and an appropriate level of spirited collegiate cheering—but they do so with a level of comportment that their rivals would do well to emulate.

Audience choice: Northwestern

Best of Chicago 2012

Best sushi in an airport Champagne bar

Food & Drink, Suburbs No Comments »

The spicy rolls at Bubbles in Terminal 3 at O’Hare
The old hole-in-the-wall spot by Gate K2 in Terminal 3 at O’Hare got a classy new facelift in February—complete with a jazzy baby grand piano that plays by itself. And no, it’s not a Baldwin. Surrounded by low-slung retro-style lounge seats, the ebony-colored piano is the cornerstone of one of HMS Host’s newest commissary projects. This isn’t your usual airport three-day-old salads-in-the-chiller spot: Aptly-named, Bubbles is a Champagne bar, complete with an inviting menu of sparklers and some of the freshest spicy rolls this side of sushi nirvana.

Bubbles Wine Bar, O’Hare International Airport, Terminal 3, K2

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Caribbean-style fish

Food & Drink, Oak Park No Comments »

Red Snapper in citrus-rum sauce at Hemmingway’s
Chef Chris Ala’s Oak Park eatery Hemmingway’s Bistro is a long way from Key West, Florida, but the Ernest Hemingway enthusiast and Caribbean-fish-grilling guru cooks with the kind of flare even the Pulitzer-winning novelist could appreciate. Ala orders fresh fish daily from places like Bimini, an island where glimmering pink Red Snapper is typical catch-of-the-day fare. He complements the snapper with a sauce cooked over a flaming stovetop with rum, butter and chunks of mango, grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes. After grilling the snapper, Ala flips it in cornstarch so it stands, silvery pink skin, fins, tail and all, in the yellowy, creamy sauce.

Hemmingway’s Bistro, 211 North Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, (708)524-0806,

Best of Chicago 2012