Little Joe's in Countryside is a must for Italian beef and hot dogs, topped with shaved celery giardiniera.
Comforting pork and hominy soup is equal parts restorative and tongue-tingling.
Fred's in Burlington, Wisconsin, has one amazing burger and great Parmesan-covered, house-made potato chips, too.
A rich short rib broth, slowly caramelized onions and apples, and a blanket of Gouda and Gruyere cheeses up the flavor of French onion soup.
Captain Porky's in Wadsworth goes to great pains to source and serve some of the area's best barbecue and seafood, all under one wood-trimmed roof.
This take on cordon bleu swaps chicken for pork tenderloin and finishes with a mustard cream sauce.
Mrs. T's Pizza in Downers Grove is easily overlooked, but standout mushroom pizza makes it destination-worthy.
A casserole inspired by the Sonoran hot dog combines slow-cooked salsa verde pot roast, creamy, bacon-flecked pinto beans, and a cornbread crust.
Schmaltz is a Jewish deli in Naperville, serving great pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, potato pancakes, homemade soup, noodle kugel and cookies.
Grilled Turkish beef meatballs are served with traditional cucumber yogurt and onion salad accompaniments.
Riverside Restaurant is one of a handful of remaining Berwyn area Bohemian restaurants, serving destination-worthy bread dumplings and roast duck.
Bacon-wrapped shrimp is glazed with an orange-ancho reduction, served atop corn tortillas, and drizzled with bright, spicy aji, a lime-licked Colombian onion relish.
Chinese Kitchen in Westmont serves authentic fare in an unassuming setting, with standout dishes like fried tofu with jalapenos and salt.
Balsamic-glazed ham and basil peas lend a springtime feel to this festive meal.
When getting away isn't in the cards, jerk stew transports you to balmy climes. Started on the stove top and finished in the oven, it's a fiery meal best served with rice. Caramelized plantains would be great companions, too.
Mabenka Restaurant & Banquets in Burbank serves a hearty mix of Polish and Lithuanian fare.
Unusual and everyday breakfast items make for an interesting experience at Pulp Kitchen in west suburban Oak Brook Terrace.
Lemony oregano, thyme and mint-marinated skirt steak is served alongside herbaceous, feta and lemon potatoes.
Instead of eggs and bacon, consider Al Bawadi Grill, Al Mawal and Fattoush in the south suburbs of Bridgeview and Worth for a breakfast alternative.
Whiskey brisket and sweet potato hash is a comforting weekend supper, especially when served with a gently poached or lightly fried egg.
Fasano's Pizza in suburban Justice serves an exemplary thin-crust sausage pie, along with a respectable Italian sub, chicken Parmesan sandwich, Italian beef and Italian sub salad.
Lasagna is no less satisfying in soup form thanks to a hearty, meaty mix of short ribs with a cheese-laden topping.
Cross-Rhodes, a Greek diner in Evanston, serves lemon-bathed, feta-showered fries, plus other brightly flavored Mediterranean musts.
Rubbed, steamed and glazed Sriracha ribs are the perfect companion for brothy Chinese noodles.
Drive down Ogden Avenue from Westmont to Downers Grove and find standout dumpling houses, including ones in the International Mall as well as Katy's Dumpling House and the suburban outpost of Lao Sze Chuan.
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