Walk off the Kimball stop and you'll find yourself in a cultural mishmash that typifies Chicago's most colorful neighborhoods; Spanish, Korean, and Chinese writing decorates the storefronts. Perhaps oddest of all, the Kimball stop is neither subterranean nor elevated, but at ground level, right there among the people.
Best of the nightlife
Step inside the spacious, dimly lit interior, and you'll quickly find friendly blue-collar folks sipping beers, discussing the work day and family musings. A family-owned business that emphasizes good service, McGill's keeps the vibe friendly and casual, and there's always some sort of special going on.
Good for groups
It's all about the bird at Chuy's. Located in a shadier part of Lawrence Avenue in Albany Park, its colorful sign adds a much-needed brightness to the neighborhood. Through the window, two grills full of half chickens sizzle and smoke; a lurid mural in the lobby and the brightly painted walls celebrate owner Jesse "Chuy" Arteaga's Mexican heritage. The bilingual menu—painted above the walk-up counter—offers chicken any way you can slice it: From a half to a whole bird, pita sandwiches, chicken tenders for los ninos, salads, soups and even tamales. You can also order Chuy's chicks for your next event that needs catering.
It would be impossible to miss Wolfy's, given the restaurant's giant red hot sign. Go ahead; just try driving by the place without doing a double take. The funny thing is, Wolfy's doesn't need the screaming, attention-grabbing signage, because it's already got a faithful crowd thanks to its mouth-watering Chicago-style dogs, crispy fries and polish sausages. But the kitsch doesn't stop at the sign. Upon entering the tiny eatery you'll notice a very hungry Mona Lisa, stuffing her face with what is decidedly a Wolfy's dog. We suggest you do the same.
Where to chill
With sun-splashed cafe tables and pockets of greenery dotting the cream-colored rooms, you'd be wise to make like the regulars and sit a spell at this hookah bar. And you can be productive while you do it, with free wi-fi available.
Located about half a block west of its sister restaurant, Chicago Kalbi Restaurant, Chiyo specializes in Japanese cuisine that goes beyond the typical sushi joint. While Chiyo's menu does include an impressive selection of sushi, sashimi and tempura, its shabu shabu is the real attraction. If you order it, you'll receive paper-thin slices of raw beef, which you cook yourself in a pot of boiling water. Prices start at $39 for prime beef, but you pay more for Kobe beef or Chiyo's top-of-the-line Wagyu beef. Chiyo's other specialties are sukiyaki, a one-pot dish with beef simmered in vegetables and soy sauce, and yose-nabe, a seafood, chicken and vegetable stew. If you call several days in advance, you can order Chiyo's kaiseki, which is an elaborate seven-course meal for $80 per person, or the lighter Chef's Choice kaiseki for $40 per person.
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