Dining Chicago

Fathers Day, Let Him Do What He

The classic car Father's Day brunch at McGee's Tavern (Photo: McGee's Tavern)


But honestly? If you left him on his own, he’d sit around all day on the sofa like Al Bundy with baseball on the tube. So, let’s rephrase that: Let Dad do what he really wants to do outside of the house.


You can start with brunch options tailor-made for him:


IPO. If you plan on spending the day in the Loop (i.e. Art Institute, Goodman Theatre, etc.), a visit to W Chicago City Center should be in order. Executive Chef Trevor Hoyte launches brunch on Father’s Day weekend, so you’ll be the first to check out what he’s dubbing “new urban cuisine.” Dig into hearty dishes such as fried chicken with a buttermilk jalapeno cheddar biscuit; a chorizo skillet of pork shoulder, potatoes, tomatoes, green onions and tomatillo sauce; and a cheddar burger complemented by a sunny side up egg. All dining dads get a complimentary whiskey sour cocktail. Brunch hours are 7:30am-1:30pm Saturday, Sunday.

Luxbar. Cross your fingers for good weather, so you and pops can sit on one of the Gold Coast’s hottest patios for a great brunch that won’t break the bank. Some items he should love include cinnamon bun pancakes, house-cured Skuna Bay salmon Benedict, Gold Coast omelet (chives, parsley, tarragon and wild mushroom truffle cheese) and the Gibsons-marinated USDA prime skirt steak with eggs. Most dishes are under $15. Brunch occurs 11am-3pm. 

McGee’s Tavern. Classic car enthusiasts look forward to the annual Father’s Day brunch at this popular Lincoln Park sports bar. In its eighth year, the event attracts those boasting some of the most spectacular muscle and classic cars seen on the streets of Chicago. Brunch is on McGee’s if you join in on the fun by showing up in your classic car. Food options include the brunch buffet, Famous McGee's Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary Bar. 10am-3pm.

Real Men Cook. In its 24th year, the outstanding charity event brings together African-American fathers from all walks of life. They’re cooking their favorite dishes, which usually consists of something on the grill. The event includes live entertainment and an all-you-can-eat opportunity, so bring a hearty appetite. 3-6pm. The event takes place at the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, 1250 W. 119th St. It's $25 for adults (in advance); $10 for children. Here's how to get tickets. 

Three Aces. Head to this Little Italy hot spot on the later end of brunch (11am-4pm) if you expect to ogle the motorcycles that come roaring through around 5pm every third Sunday of the month. June’s “bike night” event just happens to fall on Father’s Day, so it should be especially jam packed. Best bets for brunch include a spring frittata of Slagel Farm eggs, soft herbs, goat cheese and asparagus; the signature “Ace” burger topped with bacon jam; and a duck egg that comes with fontina fonduta, prosciutto, scallions, grilled bread and olive oil. A Rockabilly band performs at 5:30pm.


Highland Park's Loki (Photo: Highland Park)


If he opts for a backyard BBQ and you know he’ll insist on cooking, hook him up with a premium bottle of scotch:


Loki. Go ahead and indulge Dad should he wish to take matters in his own hands, but let him know you’ve got his back with a new offering from Highland Park Single Malt Scotch. The limited-edition, 15-year-old Loki debuted earlier this spring with eye-catching packaging guaranteed to set it apart from its competitors. Named after the legendary, mischievous character in Norse mythology, Loki matured in sherry casks, giving it smoky overtones laced with traces of melted dark chocolate, apple and vanilla. We can totally see it going well with ribs. It’s available at Binny’s.  

The Macallan 18. The traditionalist dad will certainly appreciate a decadent bottle of this single malt scotch that’s spent 18 years in sherry casks. This makes it especially ideal for sipping on the patio, with rich crème brulee and wood smoke flavors nicely combining for something extra special. Grilled burgers topped with smoky cheddar or exotic cheeses should work well with this spirit.


How about tickets to cool, culinary-focused events?


Chicago Gourmet. If pops' a serious gourmand, he'll certainly appreciate a pair of tickets (for you and him?) to one of the city's most highly anticipated annual events. He'll have the opportunity to sample cuisine from local culinary stars, sip spirits from around the world and sit in on seminars from famed chefs, sommeliers and others in the industry. Chicago Gourmet takes place in Millennium Park Sept. 28-29 and tickets are $159 each day per person or $265 for a weekend pass for each person. Tickets may be purchased right here.

CigarBQue. Boka executive chef Giuseppe Tentori (also of GT Fish & Oyster) teams up with chefs Rick Gresh (David Burke's Primehouse) and Cleetus Friedman (Fountainhead) for this second-annual charity party benefiting the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. It takes place at 6:30pm June 21 at Beyond Design (4515 N. Ravenswood Ave.) and it's exactly what you think it is: people chowing down on chef-driven BBQ dishes and smoking cigars. Add to the mix even more celebrated chefs and you've got one hell of a bash. Craft cocktails also included in the ticket ($150 per person). The tickets may be purchased right here.

Hop Chef Chicago. Chefs from David Burke's PrimehouseFountainhead, G.E.B., Paris Club, Publican Quality Meats and other spots compete against one another in Brewery Ommegang's first-ever event in Chicago. Chefs are challenged to create the perfect beer and food pairing, and you'll get to sample. They'll be judged by a panel of local and national food critics. The event takes place 7-10pm July 1 at Paris Club. Tickets are $60 (get them here) and a portion of the proceeds benefits Common Threads


Treat him to an unconventional sports bar:


Headquarters Beercade. There's nothing better than bonding over a little friendly competition, so Dad most certainly should appreciate you taking him to this old school-styled arcade lounge. Every game is free, plus there's a good list of craft beers and cocktails. Go ahead and knock 'em out!

Michael Jordan’s Steak House. Deep leather booths, a great manly cocktail list, and the opportunity to order prime steaks from the restaurant’s menu makes this lobby level sports lounge one of the fanciest in the city. The only thing missing are the cigars. Too bad.

Public House. The taps-at-the-table concept worked so well at their other property, Bull & Bear, that the owners decided to upgrade it at their second sports bar. While Bull & Bear’s table taps only feature craft beers, the eight special tables at Public House are outfitted with Maker’s Mark. You control the taps.

Scout’s. The home of the foot-long grilled cheese also boasts exceptionally attractive female servers, which should certainly put a smile on Dad’s face. And no matter where he sits, he’s certain to have a great view of the big game with the amount of television monitors in the room.


Table taps at Public House (Photo: Public House)


Let’s be real. All he wants is a nice, juicy steak:


Carmichael’s. From a 24-ounce Porterhouse to naturally raised New York strip, the West Loop steakhouse cranks out superior cuts of beef. Be sure to order favorites starters such as the buffalo chicken spring rolls, lobster tempura or fresh seasonal oysters.

Chicago Chop House. The city’s power brokers and well connected congregate at this venerable steakhouse located in a restored, century old Victorian brownstone. Highlights on the menu are the 64-ounce Porterhouse, 16- and 24-ounce New York strips and 24-ounce prime rib.

Chicago Cut Steakhouse. From the awesome view alongside Chicago River—where guests may also dine on the patio—to signature USDA prime cuts of filet mignon, ribeye and Porterhouse, Chicago Cut feels like a special treat. The first 75 guests who make Father’s Day reservations get a special gift bag that’s valued at more than $300. Those are reserved for dads only.

Keefer’s. The River North steakhouse feels contemporary with its sleek indoor/outdoor atmosphere and state-of-the-art flatscreens showing sports action, but the steaks are classic. Highlights include the bone-in ribeye, Porterhouse and Kansas City strip.

Rosebud Steakhouse. Dads dining at any of the Rosebud restaurants (Carmine’s, Centro, Rosebud on Rush, Rosebud Prime, etc.) on Father’s Day will have the chance to win a chef’s dinner for six people at a later date. The fabulous feast is a tasting menu prepared by corporate executive chef Joe Farina and includes a 48-ounce prime t-bone, wine pairings and a few kitchen secrets. 


For more about Chicago Steaks see:  


Shaun Connolly puts his own spin on American pub fare at LUXBAR. The concentration is sourcing seasonal products locally when possible, incorporating them into classic dishes with proper, well-executed techniques.

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Longtime businessman Glenn Keefer teamed up with legendary Chicago chef John Hogan for this contemporary River North steakhouse. Hogan's menu consists of chef-driven, global dishes that complement the best steak and chop offerings.

Hogan’s non-steak favorites are mostly share-able items, including blue mussels steamed in shallots, garlic and white wine; terrine of foie gras with fruit compote and brioche toast; and fire-roasted Burrata. There’s also a beef tenderloin Dianne, which originated at Savarin, Hogan’s former restaurant in River North.

Steaks are all USDA prime and are classic cuts: filet mignon, Kansas City strip, New York strip, Delmonico ribeye, bone-in ribeye and Porterhouse. Each is served with a choice of sauces like béarnaise, bordelaise and peppercorn. Other highlights include an "I must be in Chicago" smoked grilled pork chop with a cherry cola BBQ sauce and corn pudding; sautéed porcini-crusted halibut; and jumbo lump crab cake with remoulade.

Keefer’s is all set on one level, with one side reserved for more formal outings with nice white tablecloths and everything. It’s more of a hushed environment where business meetings and romantic dinners take place. The other side’s more boisterous and relaxed, and filled with after-work types, sports televisions and a casual menu. Guests may also order the full menu as well.

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Contemporary American fare with seasonal ingredients are at the forefront of this Lincoln Park stunner, the restaurant that put Boka Restaurant Group on the map. Following the departure of longstanding chef Giuseppe Tentori, the restaurant remodels and reopens in 2014 with chef Lee Wolen.

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A popular destination before and after concerts and sporting events at United Center, Carmichael’s exists as the only authentic steakhouse in the West Loop. You may certainly order a decent steak at the likes of Girl & The Goat, Nellcote or Vivo, but nothing compares to a place that specializes in the real deal.

While Carmichael’s interior oozes classic steakhouse, it’s also slightly more casual than its downtown competitors to make the sporting events crowds feel more at ease. The menu and prices, however, reflect what you’ll find in most Chicago steakhouses.

Generous portions of crab cakes, Buffalo chicken spring rolls and lobster tempura are great starters to what’s certain to be a hearty night out on the town. Steak and chop portions are equally generous, ranging from the 12 oz. “gentlemen’s cut” of filet mignon to a 24 oz. Porterhouse. Diners may also order a “crust” to steaks, which include toppings such as garlic & herb butter, horseradish and peppercorn.

Carmichael’s is also popular for its large selection of non-steak dishes. Many diners are big fans of the Chicago-style burgers (piled on with grilled onions), Baby Back ribs, meatloaf “tower” and pan-roasted tilapia.

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The upscale sports lounge attracts a monied crowd looking to wind down with a large selection of beer on tap as well as chef-driven pub grub. The highlight at Bull & Bear--if you can snag one--are the two VIP tables with custom-designed beer taps built in. That means you can pour your own beer, but you're also responsible for the that tab at the end of the night.

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Established in 1977, the Rosebud has grown from a single Little Italy eatery to a local restaurant empire. This Streeterville Prime steakhouse skips some of the typical Rosebud standards in favor of meaty selections like a 28-ounce, bone-in rib steak and Saturday prime rib, as well as fresh seafood classics like Dover sole, lake perch and frogs' legs. Overall, their prime steaks are the main attraction and are on the generous side, with popular choices such as double cut Colorado lamb chops, a 20-ounce Prime New York strip, and 48-ounce prime t-bone. That’s recommended, of course, for two or more diners. Another big draw is the daily specials, from the chicken and dumplings (every Monday) to veal Osso Bucco (Thursday). The dining room exudes that classic steakhouse vibe certain to make business types feel right at home. The walls are lined with expensive, vintage wine bottles, enticing some nice corporate card holder to bring them out of their chilled environment. The room is also filled with clubby, leather chairs and hardwood accents, making it familiar and elegant at once. The steakhouse attracts mostly two types of customers: Streeterville residents who consider it their neighborhood hang and business diners. The room is usually hushed—unless you’re dining and drinking at the bar.

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Located in the heart of the Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, and North Center neighborhoods, Fountainhead offers an Old World yet innovative drinking and dining experience. The food approach is farm-to-table pub fare. While there is a comprehensive yet distinctive selection of beers, wines, whiskeys, and spirits, the emphasis is on local and regional. Diners can also enjoy the fully landscaped rooftop garden dining area.

The modern River North steakhouse has made a name for itself based on the popularity of its 55-day, dry-aged steaks considered by some to be the best steak in Chicago. These are prime beef steaks dry-aged and hand-cut on the premises from beef bred from the restaurant's own bull.

Owned by bonified celebrity chef David Burke (who is also behind a number of similar, American-focused restaurants around the country), his eponymous eatery boasts generous portions for entrees as well as side dishes and desserts. Most dishes and sides are classic American, but with offbeat accents such as sweet potato stuffing, basil mashed potatoes, and mac 'n' cheese made with chorizo.

Steak offerings include the "South Side" bone-in filet mignon, dry-aged ribeyes (aged from 28 to 75 days) and a 35-day Kansas City strip. Non-steak entrees range from lobster pot pie to seared tuna.

While longtime Chicago institutions grab the spotlight for classic, traditional preparations, Primehouse relishes in new-school style in every aspect. Its interior, for one, showcases contemporary accents such as communal seating so you can see everyone in the room. A sleek, oval bar extends into the main dining room, allowing for guests to dine from the full menu.

Guests may also choose to dine from the full menu at the adjacent Primehouse Bar, which features classic and contemporary cocktails as well as extensive wine and beer selections. It’s located in the lobby of the James Hotel. This restaurant dry ages it's meats internally for up to 55 days in a Himalayan Rock Salt room on premise.

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James O'Donnell, who was once executive chef at Michael Jordan's Steak House in Connecticut, returns to the company to oversee this latest project in the InterContinental Chicago. The restaurant appropriately opened on August 23 -- the number Jordan wore during his championship-winning tenure with the Chicago Bulls.

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Three restaurant vets join forces to open what they call "gastropunk" cuisine. Look for signature takes on panini, pasta, pork dishes and the classic American burger.

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Chicago Cut stands apart from most of its River North steakhouse competitors in many ways, but the most obvious is that it offers a full-service breakfast. It also helps that diners are treated to an awesome view of the Chicago River. The restaurant caters to the early-bird business types looking for nicer digs for breakfast meetings. Alas, you’ll only find two steak offerings on the breakfast menu; Eggs Benefit with Chicago Cut prime filets and a prime New York strip with two poached eggs.

Lunch and dinner feature far more steak selections, and they’re what you’d expect. The restaurant specializes in USDA prime beef dry-aged, and cuts range from bone-in ribeye to Porterhouse. There are also center-barrel cuts for filet mignon (six ounces to 10 ounces) as well as double cuts for Châteaubriand, Porterhouse and bone-in ribeye. A number of toppings range from the traditional (Au Poivre, Béarnaise) to offbeat (blue cheese fondue, foie gras).

Non-steak choices run the gamut; choose from Great Lakes whitefish, Dover sole, Alaskan halibut and lobster.

The bar area seats 45 and is framed by dramatic wine display cases and sweeping views of the river. The sprawling 100-seat outdoor patio lines the riverside.

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The owners of Bull & Bear have expanded their self-serve beer and liquor tap concept to their second bar, which is also located in River North. They're only located at selected tables that can be reserved. The extensive pub grub menu goes especially well with beer, including the desserts.

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The chef-driven menu at this South Loop watering hole features foot-long grilled cheese and other sandwiches, salads, flatbreads and a handful of larger entrees.

Trevor Hoyte subtly incorporates his deep Caribbeans roots into the cuisine at the W's lobby level restaurant. He's calling it "New Urban Cuisine," which consists of modern twists used in classic American dishes such as braised short ribs with sweet potatoes, sauteed scallops in a citrus cauliflower puree, and a house-made pork terrine that's laced with house-cured bacon and pistachios. Of course you'll find burgers, steaks and roasted Amish chicken on the menu on a regular basis.

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Vintage arcade games, throwback "craft" cocktails (with names like The Billy Mitchell and Raging Bull) and an industrial setting sets this bar apart from others in the neighborhood. All 37 games are a quarter each. There's no food served, but customers can order from nearby restaurants.

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