Chances are, if you’re crazy enough to be out shopping the big Chicago stores this late in the season (only a week left, kiddos!) you probably didn’t have the presence of mind to pack some dried fruit, granola bar, or gingerbread cookies for sustenance, either.
Busy shoppers hurry along Michigan Avenue… They look hungry! (Photo by Flickr user ifmuth)
And what’s the fun in that, anyway?
So, we’ve found the four most hellacious shopping areas this time of year — any time of year, really — and picked out a couple of spots to sate your hunger or just dive in for a bite to avoid going into yet another store. And just like “Santa” never gets sick of eating the Christmas cookies and milk left out at millions of houses, you won’t get sick of the food options below.
Water Tower Place
Bar Toma Bar Toma 110 E. Pearson St. | (312) 266-3110
Spiaggia’s Tony Manutano does it again. Order the Bomba!, a puffed-up pizza crust draped in La Quercia prosciutto and parmesan cheese, and some handmade whole burrata.
The Drake Hotel
Afternoon tea is served daily from 1 to 5 p.m., with all the traditional trappings and live harp music. Palm Court at the Drake 140 E. Walton Pl. | (312) 787-2200
North & Clybourn
Sono Wood Fired
Eggplant fritti and five different kinds of bruschetta make for great bites to share with some seriously affordable wine by the glass. They don’t open until 5 p.m. — make this your last stop of the day! Sono Wood Fired Pizza 1582 N. Clybourn Ave. | (312) 255-1122
Choices abound at this obscenely large food court inside this beautiful Lincoln Park emporium. Pizza! Salad! Sushi! Salad! Tacos! Did we say…SALAD? (Seriously, that salad bar won’t quit.) Whole Foods 1550 N. Kingsbury St. | (312) 587-0648
Old Orchard Mall
Went wild at the Apple Store? Grab a falafel sandwich, shawarma or vegetarian sampler platter for practically no money at all. (There are locations in Wheeling and Glenview, too!) Pita Inn 3910 Dempster St., Skokie | (847) 677-0211
If you don’t often make it north of the city, take a jaunt eastward and try one of the famous burgers or a Nutella shake at Edzo’s. You can get it in the city now, but the original has a small-town appeal we can’t deny. Also…cheddar fries. Edzo’s Burger Shop 1571 Sherman Ave., Evanston | (847) 864-3396
You can get all the standard-issue Chicago pizzas out in the ‘burbs, but Moretti’s is a little harder to come by and is some of the best thin-crust pizza we’ve tried in Chicago. Moretti’s Ristorante & Pizzeria 1893 Walden Office Square, Schaumburg | (847) 397-4200
And, if you can deal with the always-looney crowds, some Swedish meatballs and lingonberries at IKEA. (Carry your camera for monkey spottings!) IKEA 1800 McConnor Parkway, Schaumburg | (888) 888-4532
By the way, the calories don’t count during the holiday season…so go all out! What are your favorite places to grab a bite when you’re out swiping that credit card? Weigh in on Facebook, or tweet us at @ChiFoodPlanet.
And from all of us at Chicago Food Planet, we wish you all very happy holidays!