By Mason Johnson
It’s amazing we aren’t fatter. Chicagoans that is. Pizza, hot dogs, Italian beef… we go all out.
In a recent Chicago show this past June Conan O’Brien illustrated our love for food in an truly accurate and gluttonous fashion:
I have no problem with him pointing out our gluttonous ways. I am guilty as charged, can often be found shoving food in my gullet until I feel like exploding beef and thick, pizza sauce all over the unfortunate schlubs around me. His choices though are so mundane! They’re exactly what you’d expect. So here I am offering you three alternatives to Conan’s “suggestions.”
Ed Debevics? For a cheeseburger? Yeah they’re good, and the entertainment of a wait staff that insults you is… lovely… but let’s show these people where they can get a REAL burger, Conan.
4300 North Lincoln Avenue
Bad Apple has a huge selection of burgers and some of the best drinks in the city. My favorite burger is their Big Texan – pulled pork, fried onion rings, bbq sauce, all on Texas toast. It beats the hell out of Ed Debevic’s. Bad Apple also has great fries which are improved tenfold by their homemade ketchup. I’d say that I would kill for a burger from Bad Apple, but that wouldn’t be entirely truthful – I already have. Yes, I murdered someone for a Bad Apple burger. I’m so sorry. Moving on…
Lou Malnati’s?!?! Lou Malnati’s?!
Actually, that was a pretty good choice. You get some credit for avoiding the even more cliché Giordano’s, Conan.
But let’s choose something that isn’t a chain, shall we?
2207 N. Ckybourn Ave.
Pequod’s is nice and thick, as thick as a Chicago pizza should be, but doesn’t feel like it came off a conveyor belt like the more famous and popular joints that have risen over the years. Honestly, each pizza feels unique and homemade, and not in a my-mom’s-a-bad-cook homemade (sorry, ma), but in a wow-this-is-super-tasty-I’m-in-heaven homemade. Like love. It tastes like love.
Unless you dug my grandfather out of his grave for a drink, I see no reason whatsoever to drink Old Style, Conan. How about drinking something that doesn’t taste like the sweat of the backs of the working class?
Goose Island Brewing Co.
1800 N. Clybourn Ave.
Sure, now that Anheuser-Busch owns a piece of the company it could sell out anyday now, but it hasn’t happened yet. Fact is, 312 (NOT pronounced three-hundred-and-twelve, Conan) is still tasty – assuming you’re not drinking it out of a can. I think we can all agree that a brewing company like Goose Island offers a heck of a lot more options for tasty beer than Heilman’s Old Style.
There ya go, Conan. Next time you come back to Chicago, do us a favor and bring your taste buds with you.
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Mason Johnson, CBS Chicago