Oh yeah, Cheesecake Factory has some tasty stuff. The fried cheese appetizer, which is just motz sticks in the shape of triangles? Those are legit tasty. A piece of the chocolate tower truffle cake (my personal favorite on their desert menu) could probably feed a small family for a whole day lol.
If we’re talking “off the beaten path,” there’s a place in the western Chicago suburbs called Jack Straws and their food is AMAZING. There are no interior tables, just a counter to walk up to and order. Then you have go outside and eat at the tables.
They’re a pizza / sub / cheese steak place, but they’re the best subs I’ve ever tasted. Their meatball sub is huge, and perfect, and practically falls apart in your hands. So tasty. I took a buddy there who was coming in from out of town and he ordered the Gotti, which is a philly cheese steak with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, red sauce, mozzarella, giardiniera and pepperoni on garlic bread. To this day, he still insists that it’s the best thing he’s ever put in his mouth.
Let’s see… Some other good places:
For thin crust pizza:
-Art of Pizza in downtown Chicago
-Little Italian Pizza in Western Suburbs
-Home Run Inn
For stuffed pizza:
-Lou Malnati’s in Chicagoland area
Pizza Pot Pie:
-Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder (google pizza pot pie, it’s awesome)
For burgers, Portillos is amazing. They also have really good beefs, chili dogs, beef and cheddar croissants, fries, chocolate cake, and an amazing chocolate éclair cake.
Another great burger place (again, local) is The Country House. A nice peanut shells on the ground kind of bar with a few different types of burgers and they’re all delicious.
Ted’s Montana Grill is another solid place, though it’s been a bit hit or miss. When it’s on, it’s awesome. When it’s not… Ehh.
Another really good sub place, now that I’m thinking about it, is Firehouse Subs. These are going in all over the place now, and they’re pretty terrific. Their meatball sub is legit.
You know what place is actually somewhat underrated? Tilted Kilt. I mean, if we’re just talking bar food, they have a good pulled pork sandwich, their fish and chips is solid, etc. I live right by one and we order carry out from there every now and then and are glad we did more often than not. Desserts are kinda average, but that’s the only knock against them.
If I’m just hungry and in need of food in a pinch, I might get White Castle or Taco Bell, but both of those are like a “once every few years” type of place.
As far as slightly swankier places, J Alexander’s is a great small chain in Chicagoland and they have a great salmon. Some of the best I’ve had.
Sabatinos, another local place, has an AMAZING baked Alaska. If you’re not sure what it is, just google it. Very tasty dessert.
If I’m looking for good BBQ, Weber Grill is a great place. Robinson’s Ribs is also amazing for, ya know, ribs.
I think the only thing I’ve never really found in terms of foods that I already enjoy eating as far as “go-to” places would be a place for great dessert. Sabatinos’ is awesome, but the baked Alaska takes about an hour to prepare and I’m just looking for something like at delicious lava cake or something along those lines.
BTW, I should stress than I haven’t had any of this stuff in months, as I’ve been hitting the gym and losing weight, so thanks for letting me daydream for a bit!