There are so many fun activities at Brickworld that you can forget to do things that are really important—like eating. You can only go out to fast food joints that you’re familiar with so many times before it’s just boring. The concession stand in the main event hall is obviously close, but who wants to wait in that long line during public hours? There are lots of great places to eat in the area surrounding The Renaissance.
Finding upscale restaurants in the neighborhoods around the Renaissance is easy, but many of them will empty your pockets in a hurry. We have compiled a list of the best eateries we could find that will make your wallet happy and that are also within a reasonable driving distance. All of the places listed here offer meals that include a drink for around $10. There are some chain places listed, but we’ve tried to focus on the more lesser knows joints, and a few of the “chain” restaurants only have a few locations anyway.
One of the things you have to understand about Chicago style food is that it is more intense than regular food. For example, you might order a pizza and find that it’s twice as thick as what you’re used to. Another common windy city food is the hot dog. Most places around the U.S.A. that sell hot dogs offer them with ketchup & mustard, and if it’s “fancy” they might have chili/coney sauce or diced onions. Besides the base hot dog and bun, a typical hot dog in the Chicago area will have onion, pickle, peppers, tomato, relish and mustard. Something else to be aware of is that not every place offers free refills on drinks.
There’s a beauty in the simplicity of the Beef Shack’s menu. The menu doesn’t have a lot of variety, but that’s not a problem. Get the Cheezy Beef. Trust me.
Big Sammy’s Hot Dogs III Inc.
Location: 707 South Meacham Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Drive Time: 15 minutes
Big Sammy’s Hot Dogs website
This is one of the best places to go in the area for a classic Chicago style hot dog with all the fixin’s. Besides their signature hot dogs, they have a good variety of sandwiches, gyros, BBQ and salads. One of the things that sets Big Sammy’s apart is their long list of unique sides, such as gravy bread and beer battered mushrooms.
Billy’s Hot Dogs & Beef Inc
Like many other places in the Chicago area, Billy’s has much more to offer than just the “Hot Dogs and Beef” in their name. Whether you get a wrap, pasta, salad or a gyro, the food is excellent. It’s no wonder their reviews are outstanding.
Closed on Sundays
The menu at Buona Beef centers around their signature Italian Beef, a staple of Chicago cuisine. They also serve cafe sandwiches, paninis, pizza and shakes. This location offers ample seating and TVs to watch while dining. There are Buona specials on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Burger Baron II
The Golf Road restaurant makes the second location for this “chain.” Burger Baron has one of the biggest menus of any place we have listed here. Besides the obvious burgers and typical Chicago style food, they have several Greek and seafood items. To top it off, they offer ice cream and milkshakes. The decor at this location is quite nice, and you’ll find plenty of seating.
Giordano’s serves some delicious examples of “upside down” pizza (cheese on the bottom, sauce on the top.) They have lunch specials weekdays from 11 AM to 3 PM. If you plan to have a large deep dish pizza that’s anything besides the 6″ personal size, don’t go alone—you’ll need some friends to help you finish.
Jason’s Deli offers several kinds of sandwiches like clubs, paninis and something called a “Muffaletta” on a variety of breads. The menu at Jason’s Deli offers many healthy choices, but that’s not the best part. The best part is that they have FREE ICE CREAM! Yes, you read that right—FREE soft serve ice cream. They have to balance out all that healthy food somehow, right?
Location: 1935 S Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Drive time: under 15 minutes
Many locals consider the Italian beef at Johnnie’s Beef to be the perfected form of the sandwich. The service is incredibly fast.
If you’re in the mood for some shawarma or anything in a pita, then the Pita House is the place to go. Their Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine tastes very authentic from the falafel to the Turkish coffee.
Are you and your friends craving a quick/easy/cheap pizza, but you don’t know where a Little Caesar’s is? Pizza Ready has you covered. They offer large 1 topping pizzas for under $10 and there are also several specialty pizzas. They sell individual slices as well. There’s no dining area, so carry out only!
Portillo’s has been a Chicago favorite for years. We’re lucky enough to have two close to the Renaissance. They have a wide variety in their menu, including sandwiches, salads, pasta, ribs, soup and cake. Be aware that it’s going to be busy no matter when you go there. During peak hours, they even have cops directing traffic out front of the Rolling Meadows location.
Portillo’s & Barnelli’s Pasta Bowl
This Portillo’s location has all the yummy goodness of a regular Portillo’s but with a Barnelli’s Pasta Bowl added on.
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Imagine if you went to a Subway, only the food was better, and the décor was much nicer—that’s Potbelly’s Sandwich shop. They have shakes and smoothies too. Depending on the day and time, there can sometimes be a local musician playing music.
Do you know of a restaurant close to the Renaissance that you think we should add to this list? Let David Gregory know about it!
You can also visit the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel website for a visitors guide.