Charlie Beinlich's has the best hamburgers that I can think of. Their fries are good too. You can get your burger with raw or grilled onions. They have an excellent Amaretto sour. I think they're closed part of the year when they've apparently "gone fishing" and also on Sundays and Mondays. I did order carry out there once and it just wasn't the same as eating your burger at the restaurant, as is often the case with many restaurant items in general.
Lou Mitchell's has good coffee, they serve it with heavy cream instead of half and half. However, the man behind their carry out counter has very poor customer service skills. I was encouraged by someone at the register to start getting my own coffee rather than wait 10 minutes for someone to get it for me. I started doing this when no one was available to help me at the counter. Then, even when the man who runs this counter was there he would have me walk over to get my own coffee while he stood at the counter doing nothing. Others who work there noticed this and said something to me about it, but obviously there must be a culture of poor customer service here because he was not at all concerned about who--including his boss--saw him treat a customer this way; clearly he saw nothing wrong with this behavior, because he still would try to make small talk as he sent me off to get my own coffee. I don't recommend this place.
The coffee is very good but the food is not memorable and needs lots of salt (the omelettes do anyway). There is a Mitchell's (called "The Original Mitchell's") in a strip mall just off Armitage near Clybourn, 1953 North Clybourn, that is what this Lou Mitchell's calls a copy; they are of no relation to each other.
CONS: Outrageously poor customer service, overall culture of poor customer serv
I was looking for somewhere in the area to spend a few weeks, and I took one look at this place and it was too depressing to even think of staying for one night. The rooms had such poor lighting and were tiny. The location is excellent--safe, near lots of shopping and restaurants--and it looks okay from the outside and is reasonably priced, but I wouldn't stay here. I know you get what you pay for, but I've stayed at some similarly priced rooms at a suburban Motel 6, and they had normal-size, decent rooms; I stayed there over a week, and I would go back. These are nowhere close.
PROS: Location, parking
This is probably the only Thai restaurant I have tried on the north shore, and I really like their red curry , which is what I usually order when I go out for Thai food. I used to really like the red curry at My Thai in Chicago, but after eating at Your Choice a few times, I found the curry at My Thai to be too rich and not as good. They also sell tamarind at Your Choice.
PROS: Parking--it's in a strip mall next to Trader Joes, red curry, tamarind
I got a birthday cake for someone from this bakery--a yellow cake with white icing--and I will never get another cake from there again. I love cake too much, and it was not good. The cake was not bad, though it wasn't particularly good, but the icing was stiff, not creamy and was too sweet, it was like a thick sheet of icing. Their small, individual bakery items--mini cakes, etc.--are better. I know someone who does like their pineapple upside down cake. Their rum balls are pretty good, if they have any left when you get there.
I tried Sushi Kushi Too, which is the same restaurant but in Highland Park, and the roll I ordered (the Chicago Inside Out roll, it had tuna, albacore . . .) was tasty, fresh, but smaller than I expected it to be; it was almost $8.00. I expected to pay more at a restaurant than I do at the grocery store, but I did expect a larger roll. It was 6 pieces but the tiniest size of roll you can think of, not like a fat Futo Maki piece. I don't eat sushi at restaurants often, so maybe this is normal.
The seamstress here is capable and her rates are very good, but she doesn't want to do the work if it is too hard or too much trouble, and it causes you to end up spending more money if you have to take something back to be redone because it wasn't done right the first time. I took a coat to have the seam sewn, it came apart within a short time and I took it back; the seamstress told me that in order to fix it properly she would have to take the coat apart to some extent and that I may as well buy a new coat. She then insisted that she had never sewn the seam in the first place, took it and re-did the work on the seam, and of course I paid for it again. I would have preferred for her to take the coat apart and do the job right, but she wasn't hearing that.
Once I left shirt for her to sew a snap on; she did it, and when I picked it up she told me it took her 20 minutes to sew it on (because of how the shirt was made), she charged me for the time it took her, but she told me she did not want to do the work again (on the other identical shirt I had) and told me to sew the snap on the other shirt myself. It's too bad really because her prices are so good and her work is decent. I'm just hesitant to leave my clothes with someone who doesn't want to do things the right way. I have never had my clothes cleaned here. They do launder women's shirts.
My favorite bakery for slices of cake (Sweet Memories in Highland Park) closed recently, and I had read that it was sort of a knock-off of Sweet Mandy Bs. So, I called Sweet Mandy Bs and was told that they usually have a yellow cake and a chocolate cake that they sell by the slice every day. So, I went on about 5 Saturdays, thinking that they would have a slice of yellow cake, and they did only once and they usually had just a few pieces of chocolate cake left. The slice that I did have was good, if they had it all the time I would go more often even though the bakery is out of my way and expensive. They always have cupcakes, which they say are made of the same batter as the cake, but of course it is not the same as having a slice of layer cake. They seem to experiment with their cakes some; around Halloween they had made this yellow cake with gummi worms cooked into it that seemed pretty unappetizing.
They seem fairly generous. Once I ordered a few cupcakes and they gave me an extra one, which was nice. Once a sales woman there offered to give me extra of something (because I had complained about them not having yellow cake slices very often) and I said, "You don't have to do that," and you know, she didn't . . .. I don't go there any more because they are too far out of my way and they too rarely have something that I want and I did try a few different things. At any rate, If you are looking for a cupcake or flourless chocolate cake, this may be the place because they always have plenty of those and they are decent. If a good slice of cake is what you're looking for, this may not be the place.
I used to go to this place often. My first experiences (in about 1997-98) were great--the owner worked with me to create an excellent fragrance made of many different oils. However, I went to replace the fragrance, and it couldn't be duplicated--they had the ingredients on file, but when the "recipe" was followed it didn't smell the same; I took it back so they could try it again, and it still didn't smell them same. Also, after my first few excellent experiences working with the owner, it seemed that the owner decided to be less hands-on and his other staff worked with me to create the fragrances, and I didn't end up with as good of products as the owner had helped me create. I ended up with one fragrance that was actually awful.
However, this is a cute place, and might be a good idea for a gift certificate for someone. Their atomizers are of excellent quality and I've bought empty ones to use for other things (face sprays, etc.); they never leak.
PROS: Wide selection of fragrances, work with the owner if you can
CONS: Parking, inconsistent quality of service and product
It seems like many restaurants have good food but they do not have particularly good desserts, you could take or leave the desserts. But at Pappadeaux there is a dessert for everyone. Everyone I have eaten there with has ordered something different and they all love the dessert they ordered. They have a huge dessert selection. I would practically never leave this restaurant without having dessert. You can also buy the sauces they put on their fish dishes so you can cook with them at home--it was about $16 for a quart the last time I was there.
I recently went there for a holiday brunch; they served pancakes and waffles, omelettes to order, muffins, fruit salad, Caesar salad, fried chicken, fried catfish, blackened catfish, slices of roast beef and lamb, some rice dishes, a fried potato dish, peel and eat shrimp. It was okay. I actually picked up two dishes that were too dirty to eat on. The "blackened catfish" was in a heavy cream sauce that looked delicious but had no flavor. I piled shrimp on my plate, but only ate 2 of them--they weren't tasty or particularly good, and I guess I wasn't in the mood for peel-and-eat. They appeared unable to keep the food trays replenished--I was constantly seeing empty trays or getting the last morsel of something--particularly, the salads; if you missed the blackened catfish, you were out of luck because they put out salmon in a mustard sauce instead after awhile. One person I was with said, "let me go get some (salad, potatoes or whatever) before they run out . . .." Also, they didn't have things labeled; after we left, 2 of the people I was with said they didn't know there was fried chicken and that they would have had some if they had known it was being served. Maybe it's that you get what you pay for, it was only $21.95 (dessert not included), but they could have done better at keeping the food replenished even at the low price.
As for the Thursday all-you-can eat lobster night--save your money. I never knew someone could mess up lobster, but the lobster tail was too chewy; the best part was the meat in the claws, which was, of course, difficult to get to. The sides that came with the lobster were very good--corn on the cob and small roasted red potatoes. When I called to make the reservation they told me it would be $39.95 and when I got the check it was $49.95; when you make your reservation, I recommend getting the name of the person who quotes you the price so you can take up the issue with a manager if they charge you more than they quoted. Also, I asked for onion rings in place of the dirty rice that comes with the lobster deal; when they told me they'd have to charge extra for that, I didn't think they were going to charge the full priced for an order of onion rings. When I asked about this, they said the onion rings aren't considered a "replacement" for the rice; they can't do any "replacements" for the rice. Then, why didn't they bring me rice AND onion rings?
I will still go to Pappadeaux (they're brownie bayou dessert is the best dessert I've had at any restaurant, ever), but not for the lobster night and not for a holiday brunch.