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The National Restaurant Association is holding the NRA Show 2014 this May 17 to 20, 2014 at the McCormick Place in Chicago. We’ve already got our badges here at ReviewTrackers, so if you’ll be around, please don’t forget to drop by and say hello to our friendly team. (You can register for the event here.)

The NRA Show is the world’s largest annual gathering of restaurant, food service, and lodging professionals in the world. This year’s event is set to attract over 65,000 attendees and visitors from more than 100 countries who will come to share, discuss, and learn about the latest industry trends, products, services, innovations, and technology.

In the meantime, while you prep for this huge industry event, we thought we’d give you a glimpse of the amazing Chicago restaurant scene and provide some highlights of what the city has to offer. QSR Magazine – which calls Chicago a “hotbed of quick-service and fast-casual innovation” – recently published a guide for attendees on where to go and what to eat. So, as the leading provider of online review data, we thought we’d take it a step further and capture what real diners have been saying about the featured places. (Note: review highlights are taken from Yelp.)


100 E. Ontario St.

“SideDoor is an irresistible little restaurant, a hidden gem built into the historic mansion that houses Lawry’s, just a block off Michigan Avenue. For me the prime rib sandwich is king: instantly in my top three sandwiches in the city of Chicago, with I don’t know, maybe Xoco and Bari. I dipped the entire thing in the jus and meat tripped out of my gourd for the next four hours, dilated pupils, heavy meat sweats, slurred speech. It was amazing.”

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1925 N. Lincoln Ave. (b/t Ogden Ave. and Wisconsin St. in Lincoln Park)

“Nice waiters, delicious food and AWESOME outdoor patio! The new renovation is a major improvement from the old dark shabby decor. However, with the new owners, I was a little sad to see some of the menu items go (RIP delicious spinach artichoke dip). But I still plan on frequenting the outdoor patio this summer for some pizza and drinks!” 

Pearl Tavern

180 North Wacker Dr.

“Great restaurant with an elegant yet casual feel. Mix of bar seating, personal tables and long banquet-style seating. Overall, I felt like this was the most genuine oyster bar I’ve been to in Chicago and I love the atmosphere… The lobster roll was phenomenal; to be honest it was the best I’ve ever had. We split the salmon burger and were both extremely satisfied! On top of the great food, our bartenders were very attentive and friendly and they kept the drinks and attention coming.”


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201 N Wells St.

“So what makes this ramen so good? The noodles are chewy and freshly made. The broth is porky (but not as porky as I’d prefer). The egg is soft, but a little cold, and the soup didn’t warm the egg enough. But it is more porky than other Tonkatsu broths I’ve had in Chicago. There is a piece of naruto and a few pieces of thick pork in the soup. Finally, there are nice toppings like ginger and asparagus!” 

Protein Bar

Multiple locations

“This is a great place to go in the mornings after a long night out on the town. I suggest the BGT smoothie with the ‘hangover’ nutrients added. The food was cooked to order and prepared to maintain the nutrients. The staff was awesome even on an early Saturday morning shift. I bought some vegan kale chips to go. Very delicious! Overall, this is a great place to get a healthful meal.” 

Hannah’s Bretzel

Multiple locations

“I honestly wish I could have a sandwich from Hannah’s Bretzel for lunch every single day. They’re that good! Portions are a bit smaller than what you would normally find for lunch, but the quality makes up for it. All their buns are made from pretzel bread (hence, Bretzel). The sandwiches are crafted to perfection and the meats are shaven right in front of you. The menu is nice, classy, and extremely creative! Their sandwiches are also very unique, and flavorful in every bite. If you’re feeling adventurous, I’d go with the Sergio Special, which has swiss gruyère cheese, avocado, sliced jalapeños and housemade mango chutney.”


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Roti Mediterranean Grill

Multiple locations

“I cannot express how much love I have for this place, it’s like the Chipotle of Mediterranean food. Same style of picking and choosing what you want on your plate. I got the chicken kabob plate with salad, hummus, and rice. Everything tasted fresh, the chicken was juicy and flavorful and it also comes with fresh pita bread. With a drink, everything was under ten dollars and I was stuffed!” 

LYFE Kitchen

413 N. Clark St. (near North Side)

“I absolutely love LYFE Kitchen. It’s great to have another healthy restaurant option in River North. The staff and service is great, everyone is super-friendly and my food is ready in a flash. My favorite thing about LYFE is that all of their dishes are so full of flavor, even though many of the menu items are vegan/gluten-free. My go-to is the Quinoa Crunch wrap but I’m also a big fan of the fish tacos, sweet potato fries and squash.”

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(Image credit: SideDoor Chicago, Pearl Tavern, Hannah’s Bretzel)

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.