2000s Archive

Restaurants Worth the Money: Midwest

Originally Published October 2009
Nine great places to spend your hard-earned cash in Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

For more than 60 years, this family-run diner has endured in the perpetually burgeoning Over-The-Rhine neighborhood. The secret? Oversize omelets, sturdy BLTs, and a killer vegetarian take on huevos rancheros. 1637 Vine St., Cincinnati (513-721-7123)


Mixteco Grill
Chicagoans cram into this BYOB joint to get their hands on chef Raul Arreola’s homey, affordable Mexican dishes, especially anything smothered in his smoky moles. 1601 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago (773-868-1601)

Wow Bao
Hot dogs are still the dominant fast food of Chicago, but the dumplings at this Lettuce Entertain You mini-chain—soft, hearty bao buns and panfried pot stickers—are giving those dogs a run for their money. 1 W. Wacker Blvd., Chicago (312-658-0305; Wow Bao)

Urban Belly
Chef Bill Kim left behind a long career in fine dining to open this BYOB noodle shop, but his passion for inspired flavors remains—dumplings are stuffed with lamb and brandy; bowls of rice-cake noodles are spiked with spicy fried chicken and mango. 3053 N. California Ave., Chicago (773-583-0500; Urban Belly)

After eating just one dinner here, you’ll never think about restaurants—or about food itself, for that matter—in quite the same way again. 1723 N. Halsted St., Chicago (312-867-0110; Alinea)

Brasa Rotisserie
At this great neighborhood restaurant masquerading as a dive, the choices are few—slow-cooked Berkshire pork shoulder, collard greens with bits of smoked turkey, and the best grits north of the Mason-Dixon line—and very well priced. 600 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis (612-379-3030; Brasa Rotisserie)

112 Eatery
Ordering at this house of international flavors is a delicious dilemma: Do you start with the sautéed sweetbreads or lamb scottadito? Now, what about a main course? There’s a duck pâté bánh mì, Chinese fried eggs, and an impeccable tagliatelle with foie gras meatballs. 112 N. 3rd St., Minneapolis (612-343-7696; 112 Eatery)

Bricks Neapolitan Pizza
If the terrific Naples-style pizzas don’t put you in a good mood, knowing that the owner donates all the profits to a children’s charity certainly will. 407 Second St., Hudson, WI (715-377-7670; Bricks Neapolitan Pizza)

The Corn Exchange
M. J. Adams’s menus follow the seasons, not the fashions: buffalo bolognese; crisp-skinned quail; wild Alaskan sockeye salmon with roasted-pepper relish. And the wine selection recently got bigger and better. 727 Main St., Rapid City, SD (605-343-5070; The Corn Exchange)

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