# Saturday, April 20, 2019

GuyInChicagoSpoiler alert: I've never seen "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives", the popular Food Network show in which restaurateur and food-lover Guy Fieri visits good restaurants around the world and shows off their tasty offerings.

But I'm aware of the show and my understanding is that Guy won't televise a visit unless he likes the restaurant. It's likely he won't even visit a restaurant unless someone on the staff has vetted its quality and recommended it.

I'm also aware that Guy has visited 30 restaurants in Chicago. I know this because many of these restaurants proclaim his visit with a large sign and a photo of Guy sporting his trademark grin and spiky hair. Last year, I found the complete list of Chicago restaurants visited for the show and I decided to try them all for myself.

It turns out that 4 of the visited restaurants (Galewood Cookshack, The Depot American Diner, Panozzo's Italian Market, and Chicago Brauhaus) have closed since Guy's visit and that one (Cemitas Puebla) has changed locations. Looking down the list, I saw that I had already visited 4 of them (Smoque, Tre Kronor, Big & Little's, and Saucy Porka)

This left me with 22 remaining restaurants that I had yet to taste.

Game on!

Earlier this week, I visited Tufano's Vernon Park Tap, completing my quest to enjoy a meal at every restaurant.

My conclusions:

There were no bad restaurants in the list. Guy and his staff do their homework, so each one was worth visiting. In some cases, it has been years since Guy's visit; yet the quality of each restaurant remains good.

Not all the restaurants are dives. There were some very nice bistros and tapas bars included and the prices at these places reflected their upscale image.

There were a few outstanding restaurants on the list. My favourites were:

  • 90 Miles Cuban Cafe. I sampled a variety of their Latin-American dishes and all were great.
  • bobNGrill. Creative fusion of hamburgers with Korean spices.
  • La Scarola. The best Italian restaurant I've ever experienced.
  • Smoque. Not quite up to Texas standards, but this place has the best BBQ in Chicago.

There was a lot of variety in the styles of food. I tasted Italian, Mexican, BBQ, Kosher, hamburgers, and a lot of fusion recipes.

Of course, this journey also gave me a chance to explore many different neighborhoods in Chicago. The restaurants tended to be located in the northeast quadrant of the city, which is where most tourists go; but this is a big area and they were scattered throughout.

Chicago has an excellent culinary culture and this show helped me to discover a bit more of it.

Now, I should probably watch the show.

Saturday, April 20, 2019 3:07:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)