Chicago Insider: Anthony Gates on architecture boat tours and the Kinzie Chophouse
CONCIERGE AT THE HOTEL ALLEGRO
How long you’ve lived here: My entire life (32 years).
What you like best about Chicago: There are three main things I like about Chicago: The rich architecture the city has to offer, from the Willis Tower to the historic Rookery Building in the Loop.
I like the multiple options for transportation in/out of the city, including the CTA buses and “L” trains and two major airports. And lastly, our vast variety of entertainment, from Buddy Guy’s Legends for Blues to Underground, a club where you are likely to run into a celebrity.
Best meal you’ve had recently: I love the classic Italian dishes at Chef Luca’s 312 Chicago, featuring an American-inspired Italian menu that changes with the seasons. Also, the “Kinzie Cut” at the Kinzie Chophouse allows you to choose your choice of preparation, crusts and sauces. You can’t go wrong at either restaurant.
Favorite big-name restaurant: My favorite big-name restaurant is all of the Rosebud restaurants, with eight locations throughout Chicago offering great traditional Italian and Chicago-style steakhouses. If I had to choose one though, I prefer Rosebud Prime.
Favorite “hidden gem” restaurant: A good hidden gem for breakfast in the Gold Coast area is Tempo Café. This 24-hour establishment serves up the best omelets with hash browns and is known for their Greek-style toast.
Best sports bar to catch the game: Whether you want to catch a game, shoot pool or stop in for karaoke (Tuesdays) or stand-up comedy (Wednesdays), Timothy O’Toole’s is the spot! Good drink specials and food too good for a pub.
A great night out with friends usually includes… Epic (on Hubbard) for their late-night contemporary American food or a visit to their brand new rooftop, the Redhead Piano Bar (on Ontario) for some live piano music and monthly wine flights, and the upscale, European style of Privet (on Rush).
Favorite store or best shopping area: Water Tower Place, located right on the Magnificent Mile, is truly the ultimate destination for top-notch shops, unique dining and the Broadway Playhouse Theater. Water Tower Place is home to stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s and American Girl Place.
The best way to spend a summer Saturday in the city: Chicago’s music festivals throughout the summer, the annual Taste of Chicago, fireworks or the outdoor beer garden at Navy Pier, SummerDance festival in Grant Park or a romantic horse carriage ride on Michigan Ave.
One thing every visitor must do here: A must-do this summer is an architecture boat tour with Chicago Line cruises, Chicago’s First Lady or Wendella boat tours. By far, one of the best ways to see the city! Oh, and don’t forget to try Chicago’s deep-dish pizza afterward.
While in Chicago, don’t bother… taking the car. If you are going to a major downtown attraction, one of our world-class museums or even to a Cub/Sox game, leave the car behind and let the CTA take you there. The Chicago Transit Authority’s buses and trains provide fast, safe and frequent service throughout the city to most major destinations.
Secret Chicago spot: If you are ambitious enough to venture beyond downtown, there are many cultured neighborhoods in Chicago to tour, shop, dine and entertain. Visit Bucktown/Wicker Park for arts and one-of-a-kind shopping; the famous Green Mill for jazz in the historic Uptown neighborhood; and Hyde Park, home of the University of Chicago, Museum of Science & Industry and our 44th president.
Underrated activity in the city: Chicago’s Chinatown is nothing like the one in NYC, but ours is full on ethnic retail shops, family-oriented activities and a broad variety of Asian restaurants.