The Chicken Hut in Belmont was and is one of my favourite places to eat at in Chicago. It is not fancy in any way, shape, or form, but it is very real and it is very honest. When I lived in the city I would come here every other week just to eat their Chicken plates, sometimes with rice and salsa, sometime with mash and gravy.

The key thing is that you can see the Chickens grilling away on the charcoal grill when you walk in, They have a constant stream of chicken flowing on to and off of that grill. When you order they spear one off the grill. It isn’t sitting waiting in some sort of warmer, it is there waiting on the coals for you as you walk in. Love it, love it A LOT.

On this latest trip back to Chicago I opted for the half chicken with a side of mash and gravy. There is a pot of spicy tomato relish to one side, and a couple of bits of pita bread too (just in case).

It doesn’t look that big in the picture, but trust me you get a LOT of chicken. My half was chopped into three bits, so I had the Breast on the bone, a leg and a wing piece to work my way through. The Chicken itself it really good, it is all pretty juicy as it comes fresh from that grill. I will be honest and say that the breast can be a bit less moist that the dark meat, but that is to be expected when you chop up the bird.

So Chicken Hut is located at 3200 N. Broadway on Belmont and Broadway

If you head towards the lake from the Belmont El Stop and keep on walking you will find this place 🙂

It is really a fantastic simple and humble spot!


Rock Bottom Brewery on West Grand Street was my first port of call on my latest trip back to my adopted home town of Chicago

I just hit town and I was looking for a bar to watch a bit of sport on TV and hopefully catch the Cubs game. I was staying up at the Felix Hotel which is a pretty good base in River North. It lies between Grand and Chicago el stops and has a very comfortable location pretty close to the action on Clark Street.

Anyway I was venturing out and just needed somewhere near, and somewhere easy and with beer.  I knew that Rock Bottom was near and right next to the Grand Stop on the Red Line, and I could walk there in about 5 mins, so I headed over 🙂

I got myself a pint (eventually several) of their Stadstrasse Kolsch beer, Kolsch is a beer that is very close to my heart as I first tasted it when I was working at the University of Cologne, or Koln as they say back in the days before the Euro took over. Then I learned to love this   and ever since I have enjoyed the US style version that takes advantage of that same or similar hop.

Anyway I digress, it was in the section called “Crisp & Refreshing”, which was well named,  as it was indeed both, and it was described as “A light and crisp ale brewed to be crushed by you”. I think that means supped quite vigorously, our perhaps ‘pounded’ as I have heard it said over here 🙂

Then I started to think about food, I had only been off the plane for a couple of hours, my brain was hurting and my stomach had no idea what was going on, so I was not that hungry.

I had eaten here before at Rock Bottom Brewery when I was Chicago native and had a really filling and great big sandwich, tonight though that was just not going to happen

It seemed like a good idea to just maybe get something from the appetizer section of the menu, perhaps a taco, maybe some wings or even a Quesadillas?

The Mini Street Tacos looked like a good choice, they were offering Two Fish taco’s for $5.79 or Two Steak taco’s for $6.49, sadly there was not one of each.

Mini Street Fish Tacos

I checked out the Rock Bottom Menu and ended up picking out Two Fish Taco’s which were (as all taco here) described as being “Tequila-lime marinated with avocado, shredded cabbage, salsa roja. Mexican crema, tomatillo salsa and Cotija cheese”.  I figure a couple of Tacos would go well with my beer, and I was right, to be fair I have practised this a lot over the last decade 🙂

I liked the freshness in the taste of the taco, now that might have just been the lime, and I liked the crema and the Cotija cheese which added saltiness just like a kind of feta?

Now these are not the most amazing haute cuisine taco’s that you are going to find, they are a little way above ‘pub taco’s’ and they are pretty decent bar appetizer taco. I would not add them to a list of places to go to eat taco, but I would suggest them as a great snack while watching a ball game and needing some food option 🙂

I had a great evening anyway, they have a lot of good beer, the bar staff are friendly but not intrusive, and the people at the bar on either side of me were happy to talk sport and beer for a few hours. Some days that is all a man needs!

Rock Bottom Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Rock Bottom Brewery in Chicago is located at

1 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654

You can check them out on

Twitter and Facebook

The Good Stuff eatery down in the Loop is another one of those spots that you really should keep on your burger munching circuit. I sometimes feel that it is a bit overlooked as it is kind of hidden away in the shadow of the elevated railway one street away from the hustle and bustle of State Street.

I have been here before back in 2015 not long after it opened when I sampled one of their awesome Prez Obama Burgers (read more here “Good Stuff Eatery comes to the Loop in Chicago”).

I would have had another one of those Obama Burgers, but I had my eyes on a different prize, one still just as ‘close to home’

The “Michelle Melt”

This time I was focussed on the sandwich celebrating our last but not least First Lady Michelle Obama. I was I suppose collecting the set to complete the collection as it was.

Just like her husband, Michelle has her own special at the Good Stuff Eatery in Chicago called the “Michelle Melt”.

It is kind of a little bit healthier, however it is still one quite delicious beast in it’s own right.

Officially it is described as a “Free Range Turkey Burger” topped with “Caramelized Onions, Swiss Cheese, Ruby Tomato, Lettuce” on a “Wheat Bun with Southlawn Herb Garden Mayo”

I liked this sandwich a lot! I was worried that the Turkey might be dry, but it was not, it was juicy and tasted much lighter that a solid beef patty. The Caramelized onions were perfect in my mind, verging on amazing, the blank canvas of the turkey was an excellent partner that blended together with that Garden mayo featuring parsley, cilantro, garlic, lemon, dill, rosemary and thyme.

It is a pretty healthy option and it does taste good too, they mix both aims together well. The mayo features herbs that are grown in the South Lawn White House Garden. I tell you this it was really tasty and I will probably try to replicate that this summer when we start grilling in earnest in the back garden

If you want to, you can find recipes for both the Turkey Burger (on ABC network) and for the Garden Mayo (on the Rachel Ray show) online. That was a great find as I always had wondered how to make a decent Turkey burger!

I feel torn now though as I loved both the Michelle Melt and the Prez Obama Burger. What is a glutton to do? Answers on a postcard please

Nashville Hot Chicken

I know this was a bit greedy, but I really had to try the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich that they had recently added to the menu. They bill it as “Fried Chicken Breast, Ted’s Bread and Butter Pickles on a Brioche Bun, drizzled with spicy pepper oil” but despite all of those spicy sounding things, I didn’t find it to be that hot.

True Nashville Hot Chicken will burn your face off, this was just a spicy chicken sandwich. In some ways that was quite a good thing as it is nice to be able to actually eat the sandwich, as opposed to feeling like a competitor in spicy food challenge.

I liked the chicken, and I liked the brioche bun, but the I like the other burger sandwiches on the menu much more and maybe I would prefer to travel to Nashville for a Hot Chicken sandwich

Good Stuff Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Good Stuff Eatery in Chicago is located in the Loop at 22 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

I like it a lot and not just because I am a fan of Top Chef Alumni Spike Mendelsohn!

Check them out on Facebook and on Twitter


The Pleasant House pub at 2119 South Halsted Street in Pilsen was on my must visit list on my latest trip back to Chicago. I was a great fan of the Pleasant House bakery in Bridgeport and when I read last year in the Chicago Tribune that the husband and wife team behind that place Art and Chelsea Jackson were relocating to Pilsen and opening a pub, well I just had to visit to find out more.

To get to the pub it is almost the same trip, I rode the Orange line from the Loop to Halsted, I just jumped on the train that says Midway. Once at the station walk out back towards the city to Halstead Street, turn left and walk over the river past the Helicopter ride place, and about 5-10 mins later you will see the pub. It was pretty easy to find!

Royal Pie Menu

I have been a great proponent of the Royal Pies baked by the Pleasant House bakery, I used to buy them all the time when I was resident in this great City of Chicago. The last time I had the chance to write about them was back in 2012 when I declared on this blog that it was the “Best Food Hunt trip so far and the Best English Pie I have eaten in Chicago at Pleasant House Bakery – Very Pleasant Indeed!”

I think that I have pretty much tried all of their offerings over the intervening years, my favourite was, and still is, their Steak and Ale pie which is as they say a ‘Royally Rich’ pie. If I was forced to choose a second fave then it would be the Chicken Balti just because the Curry filled pie is fast becoming a classic back in England and the Pleasant House people have made a particularly tasty version.

I once traded in a handful of bottles of Henderson’s Relish, a classic British condiment from Sheffield, for a couple of platefuls of pies for myself and my mother on one trip. I am not sure who got the best deal? I like to think that it was us.

I was pretty tempted to have another one on this visit, just for old times sake, but I had other ideas to fill up my belly!

After all it was a Friday and that can mean just one thing – “Fish and Chip Friday!”

Fish and Chips

Once I knew that I was going to be in Chicago on a Friday, I had it in my mind to seek out the Pub for Fish and Chips, a dish that they only serve on Friday.

Fortuitous? or perfect timing? either way it was a stoke of luck and of genius on this MyFoodHunt’s behalf.

They serve a really excellent plate of Fish and Chips here at the Pleasant House pub, it did remind me of home, and it was an equal of many of my favorite places to eat this meal back in Blighty.

The chips are good and much better than the sort of ‘fries’ you get in the states, I really liked them and they are probably some of the best ‘chips’ I have had, however they are just not quite ‘chip shop chips’ but a really jolly good effort.

The Star, just as it should be, is the battered fish, I loved the crispy and crunchy batter, at first it looks a bit more brown than perfectly golden, but that is probably due to the beer that they add to the mix.

Once you cut inside you are treated to some lovely juicy white fish, sweet and meaty are my overriding memories. It was actually almost spot on and they should be jolly proud of how good it is.

So how good are the Fish and Chips at the Pleasant House pub? well, they are only one of two, that I have found, that I would tell you to seek out in the states to get a true taste of British Fish and chips. That might tell you something, so please make the effort to try them out!

Draft Beers on Tap

They certainly were keeping up the tradition of a true British pub with a pretty eclectic beer list up on the chalkboard and on the pumps on the bar. I found contenders from Scotland, Wales and from Manchester amongst the beers vying for my attention, all worthy companions for my meal.

As I read through the list I just had to message my cousin Caroline when I saw a beer from Robinson’s brewery in Stockport Manchester (her home town), she messaged back to remind me that they still deliver the beer around the town on horse drawn dray’s. Wow! that is quite something in this day and age and a great tradition. It is just like the sort of traditional values that the people at Pleasant House are trying to keep alive and celebrate with their work here in Chicago. I love this kind of stuff!

I also saw two beers from Brains Brewery in Wales which brought back happy memories of trips to Cardiff and Swansea back in my college days when I shared a house with three rugby and beer loving Welsh students.

If I still lived in Chicago I would be over at the Pleasant House Pub at least once a week I reckon, just for the beer alone!

My Beer and some Pumps

I ended up drinking one of the beers from the Pleasant peoples own brewery Whiner. It was the “Et La Tete” which I chose because firstly it was a local beer and secondly because it was a Kolsch which is one of my favoured easy drinking styles.

I didn’t realise that this particular version is an ‘apple kolsch’ but that was something I learned through my friend ‘Mr Google’ after the event. It made a lot of sense though as I found it to be a crisp and refreshing drink, I didn’t really notice the apples, but then again my brain and taste buds were focussed on those excellent Fish and Chips 😉

They have some really great food on offer at the Pleasant House pub, on Friday as I have shown you can treat yourself with some amazing Fish and Chip. If you fancy a proper pie then they have all of their Royal Pies on offer, and you really cannot go wrong which ever one you choose.

If you just fancy a snack then I would suggest that you try one of their ‘Scotch Eggs’ which is a true British snack classic, often misunderstood and maligned, yet such a perfect handheld treat. If you have never had one, then you really must and if you have one here you will be in safe hands for your first try. Trust me, I have eaten a lot in my lifetime and the lovely people in the Pleasant House world know what they are doing 🙂


The Pleasant House Pub say on the website that

“Pleasant House Pub welcomes you to join us at our new public house. Our menu features specialty beer and cocktails, savory meat and veg Royal Pies, delicious British-inspired food, locally roasted coffee, and homemade pastries. We’re also known for dabbling in fun, so you’ll find plenty of that, too. Whether it’s 10 a.m. or midnight, we hope you make yourself at home. Drink, eat, work, hang out.

Whatever you do, always do it f’ the sen.”

Sounds good to me!

Check them out also on Facebook and on Twitter

More Food Menu Pics


The Draft Beer List (on that day) 


Shake Shack at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel on Michigan Avenue near Millenium Park in the Loop was a Godsend on my recent visit back to Chicago. I had flown in to O Hare and made my way down the Blue Line to my hotel at the Club Quarters over on West Adams Street by about 9pm and I was in dire need of some food. It was getting late and a quick search on Yelp was showing me that places were closing fast downtown.

It was pretty cold out there, well below freezing, somewhere around 20F and I didn’t want to waste a meal, so when I saw that there was a Shake Shack that I had not been too nearby that was open until 11pm? well I had my hat, scarf, and gloves on and I was out the door to MyFoodHunt it down.

It was a bit hidden behind the doors keeping the cold out from the hotel, but inside it was a pretty impressive location that they describe pretty well on the Shake Shack website as;

“Knockout! The CAA Shack is located on the ground floor of the gorgeously, painstakingly restored Chicago Athletic Association boutique hotel across from Millenium Park. Where else can you chow down on burgers and crinkle cuts surrounded by stained glass, soaring ceilings, detailed millwork, and marble staircases?”

Lets move on and talk about some food though!

The Smoke Shack with Cheese Fries

I always seem to order the same thing at Shake Shack (well I have only been twice) and that was the Smoke Shack burger with a side of Cheese Fries.

This time I went for the Double, so I had the “Cheeseburger with all-natural smoked Niman Ranch bacon, chopped cherry pepper and Shack Sauce” for $9.69.

Those crinkle cut cheese fries were another $3.99, and add to that the beer I ordered and there was not much change out of a twenty dollar bill! OMG! was it or is it worth that cash outlay?

I kind of think that it is.

Smoke Shack burger

There is something kind of magnificent about this somewhat overpriced burger sandwich. The meat patty on it’s own is pretty rustic, crumbly, moist, juicy and really quite chowable. Covered in molten cheese it takes on a whole new personality and becomes something that you kind of struggle not to gobble down like a mad man on a competitive burger eating mission.

That crispy thick sliced bacon is a demon addition, and the spicy cubed tomato relish packed with heat is just more genius added to the bun, you have to pause and breathe in between bites otherwise the moment passes to quickly and you could find that you have scoffed a classic meal without pause for thought. Please be restrained 🙂

I loved this burger just as much as the last time I ate ‘exactly the same meal’ when I was last in Chicago over at the River North location (read more here) and I felt no guilt that I had chosen to do so once again, as I knew in my heart that it was a great decision on both occasions. Lets be honest, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Menu (well a bit of it)

CAA Shack in Daylight

The CAA Shack is located on the ground floor of the Chicago Athletic Association boutique hotel

is located across from Millenium Park at 12 S Michigan Ave in Chicago, IL 60603

Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Belmont Cafe in Belmont

One of the first places I ever ate in Chicago was at Clarkes on Belmont near to the Belmont El Stop (read more here).  I had come up here looking for an apartment and their was an agency just along the road that I had spotted when checking out the area. That place was great it was open pretty much 24 hrs and I had stopped in many a time when in need of some kind of late night sustenance after a few beers, and also late weekend mornings when my head hurt little and I just needed some eggs to help my body sort itself out. It was with that sort of food comfort in mind that I had headed up to Belmont only to find that the place I once relied on had been replaced with The Belmont. Well it seemed to be just the same sort of place so I stopped in to look for some sort of breakfast.

Breakfast Sandwiches at The Belmont Cafe

For a moment or two I contemplated ordering The Classic which was a bagel with eggs, cheese, and a choice of either ham, hickory smoked bacon, or sausage from the Breakfast Sandwich section of the menu as it did sound pretty good. I didn’t really want any bread though and I had in my mind something with breakfast potatoes. I knew that I would probably find what I needed in the basic Eggs section of the menu so looked through the menu to find what I desired.

Eggs Menu in Belmont Cafe

Now this was more like it! I ordered the Eggs any style (I had scrambled) with a side of bacon and a large glass of fresh orange juice. I almost had the NY Steak and Eggs but to be honest that was $13 and the Basic Eggs was just $5. Also I really wanted some bacon!

Eggs any Style at the Belmont Cafe

Side of Bacon at the Belmont Cafe

Now this was just what I wanted and just what I remembered. The Scrambled eggs are more like a broken up omelette, but they are light and fluffy and not at all greasy, love them like this. The house potatoes seem to vary so much from place to place, sometimes with peppers, sometimes packed with onion, happily I was to find that the ones served at the Belmont were nice and simple with just a little bit of grilled onion in amongst the crispy cubes.

The side of Hickory Smoked bacon was awesome. It was nice and crisp, and still meaty, it was packed with smoky and salty flavour. Love it so much. It was a perfect accompaniment to my plate of eggs. I have to order this every time I have breakfast eggs!

Bill at Belmont


I really enjoyed this breakfast plate at the Belmont. To be honest it was better that all that I had at Clarkes and the place seemed to be more relaxed and more casual. I’ll come back here again.

Belmont Cafe Sign


The Belmont Café at 930 W Belmont Ave is within sight of the Belmont CTA stop where the red and brown lines split. It is literally a couple of minutes walk from the station.

It is located between Wilton Ave & Clark St

The Belmont Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Luella Southern Kitchen

Luella’s Southern Kitchen is just the sort of place you need to find on a dreary day when you could do with a dose of Southern Soul and some homely food to warm your heart. Located on North Lincoln, it is well worth the 10 minute walk south from the Western El Stop in Lincoln Square. There are so many great places to eat in this neighbourhood you would need a good month to work you way (sensibly) through them all. Luckily for me this had been my home base for several years so I have been able to dine and drink my way along this strip over the years.

I have had my eye on Luella’s for some time, on my last visit back to Chicago I had chanced upon the place but sadly on the day it was closed and I did not get a chance to dine here. This trip though it was still on my mind and I had already reserved a spot on the myfoodhunt ‘places to dine without fail’ list. I was to be very glad that I had made that mental note to return.

The Chef / Owner at Luella’s is Darnell Reed and he was there in the kitchen, cooking up my food and serving up my gumbo when I visited which that made the trip even more enjoyable. The place and the food is largely inspired by his great grandmother Luella. You can read about the story of his inspiration and journey on the restaurant website so check that out here on the ‘meet the chef’ page.

Inside this is one of those places where you order up at the counter and they give you one of those flag / sign type things so they know which table you are sitting at. I am not really a fan of restaurants where you pay for your food before you eat, but I kind of like that I can just move table with my number if I find a better spot.

Gumbo, po-boys, shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings, and oh so much more good stuff it was so hard to choose! I really wanted everything!

But there were two dishes that jumped out at me. The lady at the counter convinced me that I could eat both dishes so I gambled and decided to be greedy and ordered both!

What did I choose and eat?

Short Rib Mac N Cheese

Short Rib Mac n Cheese

First up was a bowl of the ‘Forever Braised Shortrib Mac and Cheese’ served in a ‘Mornay Sauce’, with ‘Buttered Bread Crumbs’ for $12

It is hard to describe just how good this was, now OK I am doubtful about the style of the pasta, but I let that slide, just as I let each silky mouthful slide into my mouth. It was not just that the pasta was cooked perfectly, and that the sauce was rich and creamy and oh so decadent, no, it was the Soft, tender and plentiful short rib that was the kicker. It had amazing flavour, the juices of the meat mixed into the cheese sauce adding a depth that is usually reserved for the deep end of the flavour pool.

I could easily have eaten the whole bowlful. oh hang on I did eat the whole bowlful! I suppose what I am saying is that you will be surprised how easily you can, and how much you will ‘need’ to keep on and on eating this bowl of mac and cheese. Definitely one to share, or maybe just one to order and keep for yourself.

Whatever you think you need, I implore you to order this, even if you think you have too much food coming,

You need to eat at least one bite, and when you do eat that bite, you will find the desire to eat more than one bite.

Chicken Gumbo

Gumbo at Luellas Southern Kitchen

Second up was a bowl of their Chicken Gumbo for $8 described on the menu as Chicken Gumbo, Dark Roux, Creole Seasoning, Andouille Sausage, Carolina Gold Rice”

I liked that this was served up table side. Darnell came out with a bowl partly filled with white rice and then he poured the gumbo sauce into the bowl as I watched. Not sure why but I guess that it stops the rice getting too soggy. This was one of the best Gumbo I have had outside of Louisiana, the sauce or gravy is kind of half way between a soup and a stew, rich, dark, and deep.

It is like a big hug of Creole in a bowl. There is plenty of sausage and chicken in there and with the submerged rice is quite filling. Having said that, even though it is a rich dish, when you get to the bottom of that bowl, your mouth and taste buds still desire more of that magical Southern tang.

Just like the Mac n Cheese, even though  my brain was telling me I really should stop eating, my mouth was taking no notice. It really is a good job that I didn’t order three dishes.

I really like Luella’s Southern Kitchen next time I am back in the city I will pop to Lincoln Square to dine again.

I will find it hard to resist eating the same dishes again,

but I really want to try a PoBoy, the Chicken and Dumplings, and the Shrimp and Grits.

Luella’s Southern Kitchen is located at 4909 N Lincoln.

It is 5-10 mins south of the Western CTA station and about 15 mins around the corner from the Montrose stop, both on the Brown Line


Luella's Southern Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato