Best Eats Near Chicago’s Pride Parade

June 11, 2012 6:00 AM

June is Gay Pride Month and as always, the featured event is the Pride Parade on June 24, 2012. As in past years, the event is expected to draw huge crowds along the parade route. Different from past years, the parade is starting at noon at the corner of Broadway and Montrose, heading south on Halsted to Belmont. The floats will then be turning east onto Belmont, then south on Broadway and east on Diversey ending at Cannon Drive. While the area will be packed, after cheering and partying on the street, chances are you’ll be hungry. Here are some of the best eats along and near the parade route. But don’t call ahead; none are taking reservations the day of the parade, and it’ll always be first come, first served.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Joy’s Noodles and Rice
3257 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 327-8330

Bring your drinks in from the parade and into this laid-back dining space at Joy’s Noodles. The BYOB restaurant offers – you guessed it – noodles, rice and some curries. Even when it’s busy — as it will be before, during and after the Pride parade — it’s known for having fast service. The low prices are hard to beat in the Boystown area, especially with the decent-sized portions. The only small dishes are the flavorful baby egg rolls, whose size lives up to its name. The drunken noodles dish is perfect for soaking up any amount of alcohol, boasting flavors of fresh basil, broccoli, snow peas, carrots and baby corns, all mixed within stir-fried rice noodles.

Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club
3700 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 525-1111

Right along the parade route, there’s no better place to hang out than the Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club’s zen-like patio. The party continues inside the intimate Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club, too. Not only will the Supper Club be celebrating the Pride Parade all day long with a special “Pride Menu,” but will also serve half-price martinis from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Satisfy your sweet tooth with an order of a Kit Kat Black martini (vodka and chambord) and Smack Your Mother Chocolate Cake. This fudgy slice will impress any chocolate lover. Of course, a visit to Kit Kat isn’t complete without some entertainment. While chowing down on everything from calamari to the Charro skirt steak, at night be regaled with performances from the Kit Kat divas.

Related: Top 5 Boystown Gay Bars

Photo Credit: Halsted’s Bar & Grill

Halsted’s Bar & Grill
3441 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 348-9696

Avoid the crowd by heading to Halsted’s Bar & Grill, which is right along the parade route, first thing in the morning. The bar and grill will be airing the parade live in the bar, thanks to a camera that’s perfectly positioned on the street. Either watch the telecast or grab a prime seat near the windows and see all of the action live. While celebrating with drinks one of Halsted’s many bloody mary options, make sure to try the signature mac and cheeses. This grill serves up cheesy mac in any number of ways. Create your own mix by picking a meat and vegetable option, or choose one of the specialties. The Muscle Mac is a hearty option, packed with the obligatory noodles and cheese, and a healthy portion of marinated skirt steak and caramelized onions.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Melrose Restaurant
3233 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 327-2060

Melrose is very much a local diner known to get packed, no matter what the weekend. With service available 24/7, it’s hard to beat. Grab brunch before the parade and return later for some greasy eats. The tuna melt is served open-faced on an English muffin with tomato and melted American cheese. If grease is what you’re looking for, then don’t hold back. Order the Irving burger piled with grilled onions, mushrooms and red and green peppers, all held together with melted Swiss cheese. No matter the meal, portions are huge and the waiters are fantastic. And if you’re lucky and arrive early, grab a seat in the big patio.

Photo Credit: Taverno 750 via Facebook

Taverna 750
750 W Cornelia Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 904-7466

What better way to celebrate Gay Pride Month than sharing food with good friends? Taverna 750 is a casual Italian eatery that only serves small plates meant for splitting and sharing among the table. With recipes from the owner’s grandfather, it’s hard to go wrong with these plates for brunch, lunch or dinner. The mussels and clams plate is an affordable ($11) way to get a delicious taste of seafood. If that’s a bit too light for your taste, order the open face pork shoulder ravioli. This small plate comes out steaming with red-wine-marinated braised pork, cannellini beans, truffle, radicchio and elephant garlic chips. The cocktail menu is also packed with goodies — from seasonal specialties like the Fall Of Pompei (Nollet’s gin and green chartreuse) to an Italian lemon drop — but it’s up to you if you want to share these drinks too.

Related: Best Tapas in Chicago

Check out CBS Local’s Guide to Celebrating Chicago Pride

Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at