The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” is an absolutely mesmerizing show. Viewers get sucked in by seeing outrageously tasty food being cooked, prepared and eaten, and they also get to see the styles and interiors of intriguing restaurants.
The show has a simple concept. DDD’s eccentric host, Guy Fieri, travels around the country and goes to mom-and-pop local fare restaurants. Fieri talks with the owners, staff, and patrons of the restaurant, joking around and seeking the opinions as to what makes the diner, drive-in or dive great.
While establishments in such places as Pacifica, Calif., Mililani, Hawaii, and Cloquet, Minnesota have been profiled, so have nearly a dozen places in Chicago. Lucky you! Get a meal at one of these unique Chicago restaurants featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Chicago Restaurants on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’
Smoque BBQ, 3800 N. Pulaski Rd. Just from the first few sentences on Smoque’s website, you can tell Smoque BBQ in Portage Park is not afraid to simply do what it does best; they stick with their small menu, but make sure that their ribs, chicken, pulled pork and brisket is cooked to perfection. Quality over quantity. Not only is their meat top notch, but Smoque’s sauces and rubs are made from scratch in their own kitchen.
White Palace Grill, 1159 S. Canal St. White Palace Grill has fantastic food at a reasonable price. This 24-hour diner has a huge menu, serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner – you will be in luck for no matter what you crave, whether it is a New York strip steak or a chorizo omelet. Stop by a drink a critically-acclaimed milkshake. This urban diner is a popular spot for all sorts of people, from firemen to politicians to students. The interior is charmingly and authentically retro, and has a mural depicting some of Chicago’s famous figures, from Al Capone to Michael Jordan to Svengoolie.
Cemitas Puebla, 3619 W. North Ave. This restaurant serves up Poblano food – food inspired and made with a chili pepper native to Mexico. Camitas Puebla grows papalo (summer cilantro) in their garden, imports chipotle peppers from Puebla, Mexico, and their salsas are homemade. As for the menu, this eatery makes chalupas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas and Cemitas, which is sesame seed bread layered with avocado, choice of meat, adobo chipotle peppers, fresh Oaxacan cheese and papalo.
Glenn’s Diner, 1820 W. Montrose Ave. One of the calling cards for Glenn’s is… cereal! Glenn’s does cereal right though, with over 25 types of cereal (from Wheaties to Cap’n Crunch), cold milk, chilled bowls and fruit. They also have sandwiches, omelets, pancakes and a popular seafood menu. Fish items like Lake Perch, Alaskan King Crab legs and Canadian Walleyed Pike are made fresh daily, and Glenn’s bills it has the best New England Clam Chowder west of the Atlantic Ocean.
Vito and Nick Pizzeria, 8433 S. Pulaski Rd. Unlike other pizzerias in Chicago, Vito and Nick specialize in thin crust pizza – and fans of the restaurant call it the best thin crust around. Topping include the standard offerings (sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, pepper, onion) but also shrimp and giardiniera. Vito and Nick also make pastas, chicken dinners, sandwiches and appetizers.
Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap, 1073 W. Vernon Park Pl. Tufano’s, not surprisingly, is known for their Italian food, dishes like chicken or veal marsala, spaghetti, mostaccoili, cheese tortellini, fettuccine alfredo. Patrons like the atmosphere, large portions and cheap prices. Oh, and the great food. Tufano’s has a classic interior, with wood paneling and pictures of famous people who have eaten there.
Kuma’s Corner, 2900 W. Belmont Ave. Unlike Vito and Nick and White Palace, Kuma’s is new to the game, opening their doors in 2005. In that short period of time, however, Kuma’s has become the go to spot for two things: heavy metal culture and creative burgers. While there, choose from the Famous Kuma Burger (with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg), Iron Maiden (avocado, cherry peppers, pepper jack, chipotle mayo), Lair of the Minotaur (caramelized onions, pancetta, brie, bourbon soaked pears) and others. Kuma’s Corner also has an extensive microbrew menu.
The Depot American Diner, 5840 W. Roosevelt Rd. It seems that the Depot does a number of things right. They have a small but intimate interior, and their coffee and donuts are held in high regard. Depot has an afternoon/night menu that includes a soup of the day, BLTs, club sandwiches, and spaghetti, and their morning menu has oatmeal, egg sandwiches and corned beef hash. The best part is that almost all menu items are under $10.
Tre Kronor, 3258 W. Foster Ave. The title of the restaurant is in Swedish (meaning “Three Crowns”), and their food has a Nordic flair to it. Enjoy Kottbullar (meatballs) and Kycklingfile (chicken), or try Scandinavian-style omelets, broiled salmon, potato pancakes, pytti panna, Swedish meatballs, and gravlax, which takes Tre Kronor three-days to prepare
Honky Tonk BBQ, 1213 W. 18th St. Located in the heart of Pilsen, Honky Tonk makes Southern-style homemade food, including baby back ribs, St. Louis ribs, rib tips, beef brisket, pulled pork and mac and cheese. All meats are cooked over a wood fire, not a natural gas flame. Honky Tonk BBQ also showcases live music, from genres like Americana, Honky Tonk, Rockabilly, Bluegrass and Blues.
DMK Burger Bar, 2954 N. Sheffield Ave. DMK Burger Bar is known for their (you guessed it) burgers. They use grass-fed beef, fresh buns, and artisan cheese. DMK makes burgers with toppings like Portobello, scallions, green chile, farm fried egg, French gruyere, onion strings and chipotle ketchup on it. They also have a fries menu, with cheese, spices and gravy on them. This burger bar has six beers on tap, and dozens of beers in bottles.