Restaurant Club

Anniversary Results

RESTAURANT CLUB – 17TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

BEST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. Rojo Gusana (59 Points)
2. (Two-Way Tie) Cafe Iberico (53)
2. (Two-Way Tie) Small Cheval (53)

THE BEST OF THE REST
4. The Roost Carolina Kitchen (50 Points)
5. Yusho (47)
6. (Two-Way Tie) Lowcountry (46)
6. (Two-Way Tie) Old Irving Brewing (46)
8. Angelo’s Wine Bar (45)
9. Immm Rice & Beyond (37)
10. Bienmesabe (34)
11. Forbidden Root (33)
12. Kimski (31)
13. La Scarola (30)
14. Hot “G” Dog (26)
15. Rolls n Bowls (23)
16. Pleasant House Pub @ Sportsman’s Pub (20)
17. Chez Delisay’s Cajun Cuisine (16)
18. (Two-Way Tie) Chodang Tofu Village (14)
18. (Two-Way Tie) Da Rae Jung (14)
20. (Four-Way Tie) Cochinita Taco Co. (13)
20. (Four-Way Tie) El Carrito (13)
20. (Four-Way Tie) Izakaya Yume (13)
20. (Four-Way Tie) Wood (13)
24. (Two-Way Tie) Más Allá Del Sol (12)
24. (Two-Way Tie) Whiskey Thief Tavern (12)
26. (Four-Way Tie) Kamehachi of Tokyo (11)
26. (Four-Way Tie) Leña Brava (11)
26. (Four-Way Tie) Libertad (11)
26. (Four-Way Tie) Poboy Express (11)
30. Bareburger (8)
31. (Three-Way Tie) Corridor Brewery & Provisions (7)
31. (Three-Way Tie) Mango Pickle (7)
31. (Three-Way Tie) Terra & Vine (7)
34. (Two-Way Tie) Chef Ping (6)
34. (Two-Way Tie) Mahalo (6)
36. Umai (3)

WORST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. (Three-Way Tie) Da Rae Jung / KICK / Sutherlands (2 Votes)
4. (Nine-Way Tie) Cochinita Taco Co. / Corridor Brewery & Provisions / Forbidden Root / Izakaya Yume / Mango Pickle / Peckish Pig / RAM Restaurant & Brewhouse / Umai (1)

BEST FOOD
1. Café Iberico (3 Votes)
3. (Three-Way Tie) Lowcountry / Rojo Gusano / The Roost Carolina Kitchen (2)
6. (Eight-Way Tie) Bienmesabe / Chez Delisay’s Cajun Cuisine / Forbidden Root / La Scarola / Leña Brava / Terra & Vine / Wood / Yusho (1)

WORST FOOD
1. (Two-Way Tie) KICK / Old Irving Brewing (2)
3. (Eight-Way Tie) Cochinita Taco Co. / Corridor Brewery & Provisions / Forbidden Root / Izakaya Yume / Peckish Pig / RAM Restaurant & Brewhouse / Sutherlands / Umai (1)

BEST VALUE
1. King Pho (3)
2. (Two-Way Tie) El Carrito / The Roost Carolina Kitchen (2)
4. (Ten-Way Tie) Bareburger / Bienmesabe / Chez Delisay’s Cajun Cuisine / Chodang Tofu Village / Da Rae Jung / Forbidden Root / Rojo Gusano / Urban Belly Wicker Park / Whiskey Thief Tavern / Yusho (1)

WORST VALUE
1. (Two-Way Tie) Angelo’s Wine Bar / Izakaya Yume (2)
3. (Ten-Way Tie) Cochinita Taco Co. / Corridor Brewery & Provisions / Forbidden Root / Harp & Fiddle / KICK / Mahalo / Old Irving Brewing / RAM Restaurant & Brewhouse / Terra & Vine / Umai (1)

BEST ATMOSPHERE
1. (Three-Way Tie) Angelo’s Wine Bar / Forbidden Root / Izakaya Yume (2)
4. (Ten-Way Tie) Da Rae Jung / Leña Brava / La Scarola / Lowcountry / Rojo Gusano / The Roost Carolina Kitchen / Small Cheval / Terra & Vine / Wood / Yusho (1)

WORST ATMOSPHERE
1. Da Rae Jung (3)
2. Hopcat (2)
3. (Six-Way Tie) Chef Ping / Chodang Tofu Village / Cochinita Taco Co. / RAM Restaurant & Brewhouse / Snappy’s Shrimp / Umai (1)

BEST SERVICE
1. Izakaya Yume (3)
2. Forbidden Root / Lowcountry (2)
3. (Six-Way Tie) Chez Delisay’s Cajun Cuisine / Kamehachi of Tokyo / Leña Brava / Old Irving Brewing / Rojo Gusano / Wood (1)

WORST SERVICE
1. RAM Restaurant & Brewhouse (3)
2. Cochinita Taco Co. (2)
3. (Six-Way Tie) Angelo’s Wine Bar / Immm Rice & Beyond / King Pho / Old Irving Brewing / Umai / Urbanbelly Wicker Park (1)

FAVORITE WAITPERSON OR BARTENDER
Pfeffer – “Bartender at lowcountry”
Ryan T. – “Forbidden Root – Greg for giving us a tour of the botanics lab // Harp & Fiddle – Eric – For letting us BYOB on the DL”

BEST BATHROOMS
1. Izakaya Yume (3)
2. (Seven-Way Tie) Hopcat / Kamehachi of Tokyo / KICK / Mango Pickle / Rojo Gusano / Whiskey Thief Tavern / Wood (1)

WORST BATHROOMS
1. Chodang Tofu Village (2)
2. (Five-Way Tie) Cafe Iberico / Da Rae Jung / King Pho / Umai / Urbanbelly Wicker Park (1)

BEST DRINKS
1. Rojo Gusano (5)
2. (Two-Way Tie) Café Iberico / Whiskey Thief Tavern (2)
4. (Eight-Way Tie) Corridor Brewery & Provisions / Leña Brava / Mahalo / Mango Pickle / Más Allá Del Sol / Saint Lou’s Assembly / Wood / Yusho (1)

BEST DESERTS
1. The Roost Carolina Kitchen (2)
2. (Six-Way Tie) Cafe Iberico / Four Belly / La Scarola / Terra & Vine / Wood / Yusho (1)

BEST ATTENDANCE
1. Ryan Tracy (23)
2. Matt Priest (20)
3. Erin Updegraff Tracy (16)
4. Pfeffer Eisin (14)
5. Matt Lango (13)
6. Renee Woodward (10)
7. Jeremy Beckford (9)
8. Jen Priest (8)
9. (Three-Way Tie) Chris Altman (7)
9. (Three-Way Tie) Melissa Ekwinski (7)
9. (Three-Way Tie) Katie Friesema (7)
12. (Two-Way Tie) Jenny Lee (6)
12. (Two-Way Tie) Sam O’Connor-Divelbiss (6)
14. Alex Altman (5)
15. (Two-Way Tie) Ryan Doremus (4)
15. (Two-Way Tie) Lisa Knight (4)
17. (Two-Way Tie) Audra Eisin (3)
17. (Two-Way Tie) Blake Johnson (3)
19. (Three-Way Tie) John Cunningham (2)
19. (Three-Way Tie) Dave Eldridge (2)
19. (Three-Way Tie) Bob Kruse (2)
22. (Two-Way Tie) Drew Holzfeind (1)
22. (Two-Way Tie) Jon Mastantuono (1)

RESTAURANT CLUB – 16TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

BEST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. The Angry Crab (166)
2. Fat Rice (115)
3. Ramen Takeya (78)

THE BEST OF THE REST
4. Pub Royale (58)
5. Pequod’s Pizza (53)
6. Flo & Santos (48)
7. Pizza Barra (43)
8. Tre Kronor (41)
9. Luella’s Southern Kitchen (38)
10. Masa Azul (24)
11. (Two-Way Tie) Oiistar (22)
11. (Two-Way Tie) Pho Viet (22)
13. Villains (18)
14. (Two-Way Tie) Sink | Swim (16)
14. (Two-Way Tie) Taco Bell Cantina (16)
16. Taco in a Bag (14)
17. (Two-Way Tie) Café Orchid (13)
17. (Two-Way Tie) Lalibela Restaurant (13)
19. Yuzu Sushi and Robata Grill (12)
20. (Two-Way Tie) Bohemian House {BOHO} (11)
20. (Two-Way Tie) Sidecar @ The Long Room (11)
22. Nha Hang Viet Nam (9)
23. (Five-Way Tie) Breakroom Brewery (8)
23. (Five-Way Tie) Chicago Q (8)
23. (Five-Way Tie) Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen (8)
23. (Five-Way Tie) Legno (8)
23. (Five-Way Tie) T & B Grill (8)
28. JJ Thai Street Food (7)
29. Cuba 312 (3)

WORST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. (Two-Way Tie) Taco in a Bag / Venezuelan Bowl Grill (2 Votes)
3. (Nine-Way Tie) Bohemian House {BOHO} / Brianna’s Restaurant / Buzz – Burgers, Barrels & Beer / Chicago Prime Italian / JK Kabob House / Lalibela Restaurant / Mariano’s – Ravenswood / Moxee Restaurant/Mad Mouse Brewery / Taco Bell Cantina (1)

BEST FOOD
1. (Two-Way Tie) The Angry Crab / Ramen Takeya (3 Votes)
3. (Two-Way Tie) Fat Rice / Pho Viet (2)
5. (Eight-Way Tie) Flo & Santos / Lalibela Restaurant / Pequod’s Pizza / Pizza Barra / Pub Royale / Sink | Swim / Tre Kronor / Villains (1)

WORST FOOD
1. Taco in a Bag (3 Votes)
2. Taco Bell Cantina (2)
3. (Eight-Way Tie) Bohemian House {BOHO} / Brianna’s Restaurant / Chicago Prime Italian / Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken / Legno / Moxee Restaurant/Mad Mouse Brewery / Nha Hang Viet Nam / Venezuelan Bowl Grill (1)

BEST VALUE
1. (Four-Way Tie) Lalibela Restaurant / Nha Hang Viet Nam / Pho Viet / T & B Grill (2 Votes)
5. (Eight-Way Tie) Mariano’s – Ravenswood / Pequod’s Pizza / Sidecar @ The Long Room / Taco Bell Cantina / Taco in a Bag / The Angry Crab / Tre Kronor / Villains (1)

WORST VALUE
1. Sink | Swim (3 Votes)
2. (Ten-Way Tie) Bohemian House {BOHO} / Breakroom Brewery / Chicago Prime Italian / Cuba 312 / Fat Rice / Fig & Olive / Jerry’s – Lincoln Square / Little Bad Wolf / Sidecar @ The Long Room / Taco in a Bag (1)

BEST ATMOSPHERE
1. (Two-Way Tie) The Angry Crab / Fat Rice (3 Votes)
3. Pub Royale (2)
4. (Seven-Way Tie) Flo & Santos / Pequod’s Pizza / Pho Viet / Ramen Takeya / Sink | Swim / Tre Kronor / Villains (1)

WORST ATMOSPHERE
1. Taco in a Bag (3 Votes)
2. (Two-Way Tie) Buzz – Burgers, Barrels & Beer / Mariano’s – Ravenswood (2)
4. (Eight-Way Tie) Bohemian House {BOHO} / Lagunitas Chicago Taproom
Lalibela Restaurant / Nha Hang Viet Nam / Pho Viet / Super H Mart / Taco Bell Cantina / Venezuelan Bowl Grill (1)

BEST SERVICE
1. (Two-Way Tie) Fat Rice / Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (2 Votes)
3. (Eight-Way Tie) Cuba 312 / Jerry’s – Lincoln Square / Nha Hang Viet Nam / Pho Viet / Pub Royale / Sidecar @ The Long Room / Tre Kronor / Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill (1)

WORST SERVICE
1. (Two-Way Tie) Buzz – Burgers, Barrels & Beer / Lalibela Restaurant (2 Votes)
3. (Seven-Way Tie) Bohemian House {BOHO} / Breakroom Brewery / Chicago Prime Italian / Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen / JJ Thai Street Food / Moxee Restaurant/Mad Mouse Brewery / Nha Hang Viet Nam (1)

FAVORITE WAITPERSON OR BARTENDER
Jeremy – “Owner at Nha Hang Viet Nam”
Matt P. – “Lady at Luella’s”
Ryan – “Fat Rice’s website listed it as ‘non-kid friendly’ but the staff was one of the most accommodating I’ve come across–I’m super thankful for their help.”
Sam – “Staff at Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill”

BEST BATHROOMS
1. (Two-Way Tie) Sink | Swim / Breakroom Brewery (2 Votes)
3. (Six-Way Tie) Fat Rice / Jerry’s – Lincoln Square / Luella’s Southern Kitchen / Pizza Barra / Taco in a Bag / Villains (1)

WORST BATHROOMS
1. Nha Hang Viet Nam (4 Votes)
2. Buzz – Burgers, Barrels & Beer (2)
3. (Four-Way Tie) Bohemian House {BOHO} / Brianna’s Restaurant / Taco Bell Cantina / Tre Kronor (1)

BEST DRINKS
1. Taco Bell Cantina (3 Votes)
2. (Two-Way Tie) Masa Azul / Pub Royale (2)
4. (Seven-Way Tie) Breakroom Brewery / Flo & Santos / JJ Thai Street / Jerry’s – Lincoln Square / Lagunitas Chicago Taproom / -Little Bad Wolf / Villains (1)

BEST DESERTS
1. (Two-Way Tie) Luella’s Southern Kitchen / Villains (2 Votes)
3. (Five-Way Tie) Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen / Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken / Mariano’s – Ravenswood / Taco in a Bag / Tre Kronor (1)

BEST ATTENDANCE
1. Ryan Tracy (30 R.C.’s)
2. Matt Priest (29)
3. Erin Updegraff Tracy (22)
4. Renee Woodward (20)
5. Alex Miramontes (17)
6. Jeremy Beckford (15)
7. Matt Lango (11)
8. (Two-Way Tie) Jen Priest (9)
8. (Two-Way Tie) Pfeffer Eisin (9)
10. (Two-Way Tie) Chris Altman (8)
10. (Two-Way Tie) Blake Johnson (8)
12. Sam O’Connor-Divelbiss (7)
13. Dave Eldridge (6)
14. (Four-Way Tie) Katie Friesema (3)
14. (Four-Way Tie) Lisa Knight (3)
14. (Four-Way Tie) Alex Altman (3)
14. (Four-Way Tie) Jon Mastantuono (3)
18. (Three-Way Tie) Jeff Dunlap (1)
18. (Three-Way Tie) Bob Kruse (1)
18. (Three-Way Tie) Elizabeth Lindau (1)

RESTAURANT CLUB – 15TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

BEST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. XOCO BISTRO (72)
2. BELLY SHACK (49)
3. EL MAYA (45)

THE BEST OF THE REST
4. PLEASANT HOUSE BAKERY (41)
5. (Two-Way Tie) GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS (40)
5. (Two-Way Tie) TRELLIS (40)
7. UPTOWN PHỞ (37)
8. (Two-Way Tie) PEQUOD’S PIZZA (34)
8. (Two-Way Tie) VENENO DE NAYARIT (34)
10. TWIN DRAGON (33)
11. (Two-Way Tie) CALUMET FISHERIES (28)
12. (Two-Way Tie) DUSEK’S (28)
13. TRENCHERMEN (27)
14. YUSHO (22)
15. SHAMAN BY CHILAM BALAM (21)
16. BISTRO BORDEAUX (19)
17. (Two-Way Tie) TAKOS KOREANOS (17)
17. (Two-Way Tie) CORTLAND’S GARAGE (17)
19. EL ÑANDÚ (15)
20. COOKIES & CARNITAS (14)
21. (Two-Way Tie) STELLA BARRA PIZZERIA (13)
21. (Two-Way Tie) THE DAILY BAR & GRILL (13)
23. (Two-Way Tie) ZIA’S LAGO VISTA (12)
23. (Two-Way Tie) ANALOGUE (12)
25. THE WINCHESTER (10)
26. CREW BAR + GRILL (8)
27. SONIC DRIVE-IN (7)
28. INDIE CAFÉ (5)
29. SMOKIN’ WOODY’S (3)

WORST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. (Two-Way Tie) FORNELLO TRATTORIA / LA VILLA RESTAURANT (3 Votes)
3. THE WINCHESTER (2)
4. (Five-Way Tie) THE DAILY BAR & GRILL / MARIE’S PIZZA & LIQUORS / RIBFEST CHICAGO / SEADOG SUSHI BAR / SMOKIN’ WOODY’S (1)

BEST FOOD
1. XOCO BISTRO (3 Votes)
2. VENENO DE NAYARIT (2)
3. (Twelve-Way Tie) BELLY SHACK / BISTRO BORDEAUX / CALUMET FISHERIES / CREW BAR + GRILL / EL ÑANDÚ / GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS / HOPLEAF BAR / PEQUOD’S PIZZA / PLEASANT HOUSE BAKERY / SHAMAN BY CHILAM BALAM / TRELLIS / YUSHO (1)

WORST FOOD
1. (Three-Way Tie) THE DAILY BAR & GRILL / FORNELLO TRATTORIA / HOLLYWOOD PALMS CINEMA, BAR, AND EATERY (2 Votes)
4. (Six-Way Tie) BULLHEAD CANTINA / LA VILLA RESTAURANT / RIBFEST CHICAGO / SEADOG SUSHI BAR / SMOKIN’ WOODY’S / THE WINCHESTER (1)

BEST VALUE
1. PLEASANT HOUSE BAKERY (3 Votes)
2. (Three-Way Tie) BULLHEAD CANTINA / TWIN DRAGON / UPTOWN PHỞ (2)
5. (Six-Way Tie) BELLY SHACK / EL ÑANDU / GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS / SMOKIN’ WOODY’S / TRELLIS / XOCO BISTRO (1)

WORST VALUE
1. (Two-Way Tie) THE DAILY BAR & GRILL / FORNELLO TRATTORIA (2 Votes)
3. (Seven-Way Tie) DUSEK’S / HOLLYWOOD PALMS CINEMA, BAR, AND EATERY / KOKPELLI / LA VILLA RESTAURANT / MERCADITO CHICAGO / TRENCHERMEN / THE WINCHESTER (1)

BEST ATMOSPHERE
1. (Two-Way Tie) DUSEK’S / TRELLIS (2 Votes)
3. (Eleven-Way Tie) BISTRO BORDEAUX / COOKIES & CARNITAS / CREW BAR + GRILL / EL MAYA / EL ÑANDU / GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS / HOPLEAF BAR / TWIN DRAGON / TRENCHERMEN / XOCO BISTRO / YUSHO (1)

WORST ATMOSPHERE
1. (Twelve-Way Tie) BAN PO JUNG / CORTLAND’S GARAGE / COUNTY BARBEQUE / FORNELLO TRATTORIA / LA VILLA RESTAURANT / MARIE’S PIZZA & LIQUORS / PEQUOD’S PIZZA / PLEASANT HOUSE BAKERY / RIBFEST CHICAGO / SMOKIN’ WOODY’S / TWIN DRAGON / VENENO DE NAYARIT (1 Vote)

BEST SERVICE
1. TRELLIS (3 Votes)
2. TRENCHERMEN (2)
3. (Eight-Way Tie) CREW BAR + GRILL / DAVANTI ENOTECA / EL MAYA / EL ÑANDU / GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS / TWIN DRAGON / UPTOWN PHỞ / XOCO BISTRO (1)

WORST SERVICE
1. (Two-Way Tie) MARIE’S PIZZA & LIQUORS / THE WINCHESTER (2 Votes)
3. (Four-Way Tie) JIN THAI / SMOKIN’ WOODY’S / TAKOS KOREANOS / XOCO BISTRO (1)

FAVORITE WAITPERSON OR BARTENDER
Matt P. – “Bandana’d meat cutter at Green Street!”
Seamus – “Jesus, do you take notes or something? I have no fucking clue here. If they’re good, I won’t remember them – that’s what makes them good.”

BEST BATHROOMS
1. TRENCHERMEN (3 Votes)
2. DUSEK’S (2)
3. (Eight-Way Tie) CREW BAR + GRILL / EL ÑANDÚ / GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS / LA VILLA RESTAURANT / MERCADITO CHICAGO / TRELLIS / LA VILLA RESTAURANT / XOCO BISTRO (1)

WORST BATHROOMS
1. (Seven-Way Tie) THE DAILY BAR & GRILL / FORNELLO TRATTORIA / PLEASANT HOUSE BAKERY / RIBFEST CHICAGO / UPTOWN PHỞ / VENENO DE NAYARIT / XOCO BISTRO (1 Vote)

BEST DRINKS
1. XOCO BISTRO (3 Votes)
2. (Ten-Way Tie) BISTRO BORDEAUX / COUNTY BARBEQUE / CREW BAR + GRILL / DUSEK’S / EL MAYA / GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS / INDIE CAFÉ / KOKPELLI / MERCADITO CHICAGO / TRELLIS (1)

BEST DESERTS
1. XOCO BISTRO (3 Votes)
2. (Two-Way Tie) DUSEK’S / TRELLIS (2)
4. (Five-Way Tie) EL ÑANDU / GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS / KOKPELLI / SHAMAN BY CHILAM BALAM / TRENCHERMEN (1)

BEST ATTENDANCE
1. Matt Priest (21 R.C.’s)
2. Ryan Tracy (17)
3. Erin Updegraff Tracy (16)
4. Renee Woodward (15)
5. Jen Priest (13)
6. Lisa Knight (12)
7. Seamus Ryan (11)
8. (Two-Way Tie) Jeremy Beckford (9)
8. (Two-Way Tie) Elizabeth Lindau (9)
10. Sam (7)
11. (Two-Way Tie) Blake Johnson (5)
11. (Two-Way Tie) Jenny Lee (5)
13. (Two-Way Tie) Jeff Dunlap (3)
13. (Two-Way Tie) Drew Holzfeind (3)
15. (Three-Way Tie) Alex Altman (2)
15. (Three-Way Tie) Chris Altman (2)
15. (Three-Way Tie) Jon Mastantuono (2)
18. Dave Eldridge (1)

RESTAURANT CLUB – 14TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

BEST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. JOHNNY CASSEROLE (89 Points)
2. SPRITZ BURGER (70)
3. TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK (59)

THE BEST OF THE REST
4. ¡AY CHIWOWA! (51)
5. LETIZIA’S FIORE (50)
6. JERRY’S – ANDERSONVILLE (48)
7. INSPIRATION CAFE (46)
8. GATHER (41)
9. ENDGRAIN (34)
10. THE BLUEBIRD (30)
11. TAKETEI (22)
12. GALE STREET INN (19)
13. MARIE’S PIZZA & LIQUORS (16)
14. ANMOL (15)
15. (Two-Way Tie) D’NOCHE (14)
15. (Two-Way Tie) MORETTI’S (14)
17. FLORIOLE CAFE & BAKERY (13)
18. (Three-Way Tie) CAFE EL TAPATIO (12)
18. (Three-Way Tie) Q-BBQ (12)
18. (Three-Way Tie) THE RED LION (12)
21. (Two-Way Tie) BETWEEN (10)
21. (Two-Way Tie) HONEY BUTTER FRIED CHICKEN (10)
23. (Two-Way Tie) ATLAS BREWING COMPANY (9)
23. (Two-Way Tie) HUTCH (9)
25. FARMHOUSE EVANSTON (8)
26. THE RADLER (7)
27. (Two-Way Tie) HOMESLICE (5)
27. (Two-Way Tie) SHOKRAN MOROCCAN RESTAURANT (5)
29. DELEECE (4)
30. (Two-Way Tie) CAFE LAGUARDIA (3)
30. (Two-Way Tie) NORI (3)

WORST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. (Three-Way Tie) COPPER HOUSE / HIMMEL’S / HOWL AT THE MOON DUELING PIANO BAR (2 Votes)
4. (Ten-Way Tie) ¡AY CHIWOWA! / BETWEEN / DELEECE / CAFE EL TAPATIO / ETHIOPIAN DIAMOND / GATHER / ISLA PILIPINA / NORTHDOWN CAFE AND TAPROOM / THE RED LION / SHOKRAN MOROCCAN RESTAURANT (1)

BEST FOOD
1. JOHNNY CASSEROLE (3 Votes)
2. (Three-Way Tie) ENDGRAIN / LETIZIA’S FIORE / TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK (2)
5. (Ten-Way Tie) ANMOL / BETWEEN / THE BLUEBIRD / FLORIOLE CAFE & BAKERY / HONEY BUTTER FRIED CHICKEN / HUTCH / INSPIRATION CAFE / MORETTI’S / SPRITZ BURGER / TAKETEI (1)

WORST FOOD
1. HOWL AT THE MOON DUELING PIANO BAR (3 Votes)
2. Q-BBQ (2)
3. (Nine-Way Tie) COPPER HOUSE / DELEECE / ETHIOPIAN DIAMOND / GATHER / HABANA LIBRE / HIMMEL’S / ISLA PILIPINA / NORTHDOWN CAFE AND TAPROOM / THE RED LION / (1)

BEST VALUE
1. (Two-Way Tie) JOHNNY CASSEROLE / SPRITZ BURGER (3 Votes)
3. INSPIRATION CAFE (2)
4. (Ten-Way Tie) ANMOL / ¡AY CHIWOWA! / ETHIOPIAN DIAMOND / GALE STREET INN / HOWL AT THE MOON DUELING PIANO BAR / KIN SUSHI AND THAI / MARIE’S PIZZA & LIQUORS / THE RADLER / SHOKRAN MOROCCAN RESTAURANT / TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK (1)

WORST VALUE
1. (Two-Way Tie) JERRY’S – ANDERSONVILLE / TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK (2 Votes)
3. (Five-Way Tie) ¡AY CHIWOWA! / DELEECE / DILLMAN’S / HIMMEL’S / NORTHDOWN CAFE AND TAPROOM (1)

BEST ATMOSPHERE
1. TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK (4 Votes)
2. ENDGRAIN (2)
3. (Twelve-Way Tie) BETWEEN / THE BLUEBIRD / D’NOCHE / DELEECE / DILLMAN’S / HABANA LIBRE / HAYMARKET PUB & BREWERY / HOWL AT THE MOON DUELING PIANO BAR / JERRY’S – ANDERSONVILLE / JOHNNY CASSEROLE / MARIE’S PIZZA & LIQUORS / SPRITZ BURGER (1)

WORST ATMOSPHERE
1. COPPER HOUSE (2 Votes)
2. (Eight-Way Tie) ANMOL / ¡AY CHIWOWA! / DELEECE / ETHIOPIAN DIAMOND / HIMMEL’S / INSPIRATION CAFE / JERRY’S – ANDERSONVILLE / SHOKRAN MOROCCAN RESTAURANT (1)

BEST SERVICE
1. (Two-Way Tie) DELEECE / TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK (2 Votes)
3. (Nine-Way Tie) ¡AY CHIWOWA! / BETWEEN / HOWL AT THE MOON DUELING PIANO BAR / HUTCH / INSPIRATION CAFE / MARIE’S PIZZA & LIQUORS / Q-BBQ / THE RADLER / SPRITZ BURGER (1)

WORST SERVICE
1. TAKETEI (3 Votes)
2. JERRY’S – ANDERSONVILLE (2)
3. (Five-Way Tie) D’NOCHE / ETHIOPIAN DIAMOND / HIMMEL’S / THE RADLER / THE RED LION (1)

FAVORITE WAITPERSON OR BARTENDER
1. (Seven-Way Tie)
GALE STREET INN: “Host at Gale Street Inn” (Alex Altman)
INSPIRATION CAFE: “Nice server at Inspiration Café” (Pfeffer Eisin)
MARIE’S PIZZA & LIQUORS: “Our waitress at Marie’s!!” (Matt Lango)
Q-BBQ: “The busboy at Q-BBQ who was extremely smiley / friendly and was convinced that Drew, Sam and I were brothers!” (Matt Priest)
THE RADLER: “Bartender at Radler who is a friend of Bob’s” (Sam O’Connor Divelbiss)
SPRITZ BURGER: “Rachel at the bar, Liz the server” (Dave Eldridge)
N/A: “Who remembers names? Not this guy.” (Seamus Ryan)

BEST BATHROOMS
1. (Six-Way Tie) CAFE LAGUARDIA / GATHER / HUTCH / KIN SUSHI AND THAI / THE RADLER / THE RED LION (1 Vote)

WORST BATHROOMS
1. (Five-Way Tie) DELEECE / GATHER / HABANA LIBRE / SHOKRAN MOROCCAN RESTAURANT / SPRITZ BURGER (1 Vote)

BEST DRINKS
1. JERRY’S – ANDERSONVILLE (5 Votes)
2. (Three-Way Tie) DELEECE / SPRITZ BURGER / TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK (2)
5. (Four-Way Tie) BETWEEN / THE BLUEBIRD / D’NOCHE / DILLMAN’S (1)

BEST DESERTS
1. SPRITZ BURGER (3 Votes)
2. TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK (2)
3. (Six-Way Tie) THE BLUEBIRD / DELEECE / FLORIOLE CAFE & BAKERY / GALE STREET INN / HUTCH / INSPIRATION CAFE (1)

BEST ATTENDANCE
1. Matt Priest (27 R.C.’s)
2. Renee Woodward (17)
3. Sam O’Connor-Divelbiss (13)
4. (Two-Way Tie) Pfeffer Eisin (12)
4. (Two-Way Tie) Jen Priest (12)
6. Matt Lango (11)
7. Lisa Knight (8)
8. (Three-Way Tie) Drew Holzfeind (7)
8. (Three-Way Tie) Alexis Leverenz (7)
8. (Three-Way Tie) Seamus Ryan (7)
11. Jeff Dunlap (6)
12. (Three-Way Tie) Chris Altman (5)
12. (Three-Way Tie) John Cunningham (5)
12. (Three-Way Tie) Bob Kruse (5)
15.(Three-Way Tie) Alex Altman (4)
15. (Three-Way Tie) Blake Johnson (4)
15. (Three-Way Tie) Elizabeth Lindau (4)
18. (Two-Way Tie) Audra Eisin (3)
18. (Two-Way Tie) Dave Eldridge (3)

RESTAURANT CLUB – 13TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

BEST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. Pizzeria da Nella
2. Pleasant House Bakery
3. Flipt

THE BEST OF THE REST
4. Masa Azul
5. Blue Star Bistro & Wine Bar
6. Antique Taco
7. Sabri Nihari
8. Del Seoul
9. Rub BBQ
10. Nightwood

WORST RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Central Kitchen & Tap

As for the other categories, the votes were also fairly scattered. In addition, most ballots I received skipped at least some (if not all) of them. Here, then, are the only categories with a definite winner (more than one vote):

BEST VALUE
Pleasant House Bakery

BEST ATMOSPHERE
Gene’s Rooftop Beer & Wine Garden

BEST SERVICE

Rub BBQ

WORST SERVICE
Alhambra Palace

BEST DRINKS

Masa Azul

RESTAURANT CLUB – 12TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

BEST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. Bombay Spice (84)
2. Perrenial Virant (64)
3. Three Aces (64)

THE BEST OF THE REST
4. Chicago Kalbi (54)
5. The Bedford (45)
6. Owen & Engine (43)
7. Hala Inn (35)
8. The Telegraph (20)
9. Royal Thai (19)
10. Fish Bar (17)

WORST RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Siboney

BEST FOOD
Owen & Engine

WORST FOOD
13 Asian Tapas / Siboney (TIE)

BEST VALUE
Bop n Grill

WORST VALUE
Cantina Laredo / The Bristol (TIE)

BEST ATMOSPHERE
Perennial Virant / Telegraph (TIE)

WORST ATMOSPHERE
Bop n Grill

BEST SERVICE
Perennial Virant

WORST SERVICE
Chickpea

BEST WAITPERSON
Brutally Honest Dude @ Farmhouse / Guy @ Gyu Kaku / Server @ Ruk Sushi /
Lady @ Chicago Kalbi / HYT @ Bedford / Lady @ Chilapan (6-WAY TIE)

BEST DRINKS
The Bedford

BEST DESSERTS
Three Aces

BEST BATHROOM
The Bedford / Bombay Spice /  Siboney (3-WAY TIE)

WORST BATHROOM
Chickpea

BEST ATTENDANCE
Matt Priest (34)
Jen Priest (30)
Lisa Knight (13)
Renee Woodward (12)
Pfeffer Eisin (10)
Mathew Calvert (10)
Blake Johnson (9)
Seamus Ryan (8)
Dave Eldridge (7)
Audra Eisin (4)
Alex Altman (3)

RESTAURANT CLUB – 11TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

BEST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR
1. Chizakaya (157)
2. DMK Burger Bar (122)
3. Vincent (88)

THE BEST OF THE REST
4. Lillie’s Q (56)
5. Devon Seafood Grill (51)
6. Longman & Eagle (41)
7. Hubbard Inn (28)
8. Antica Pizzeria (25)
9. / 10 (2-Way Tie) Folklore (23) / The Portage (23)

RESTAURANT CLUB – 10TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

BEST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR

1. The Publican (228)

2. David Burke’s Primehouse (102)

3. Ian’s Pizza by the Slice (79)

THE BEST OF THE REST

4. Kith and Kin (68)

5. Half Shell (60)

6. Mexique (52)

7. Al Primo Canto (48)

8. Machu Picchu (38)

9. Glenn’s Diner (36)

10. Laschet’s Inn (34)

11. Sun Wah Bar-B-Q Restaurant (33)

12. Ropa Restaurant and Wine Bar (28)

13. Trattoria Roma (26)

14. 44th Ward Dinner Party (25)

15. / 16. / 17. / 18. Leo’s Coney Island (23)

15. / 16. / 17. / 18. Sapori Trattoria (23)

15. / 16. / 17. / 18. Fontana Grill & Wine Bar (23)

15. / 16. / 17. / 18. Brand BBQ Market (23)

19. / 20. / 21. The Bad Apple (19)

19. / 20. / 21. Fireside Restaurant & Lounge (19)

19. / 20. / 21. Ceres’ Table (19)

22. Katsu (16)

23. / 24. Sweets & Savories (11)

23. / 24. Cosina Grill (11)

25. Moher Irish Pub (10)

26. Café 103 (9)

27. Mirabell Restaurant (7)

28. Nacional 27 (3)

WORST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR

1. Ranalli’s (3)

2. / 3. (3-Way Tie) Ceres’ Table, Mei Shung, Sabri Nihari (2)

BEST FOOD

1. The Publican (4)

2. David Burke’s (3)

3. (3-Way Tie) Al Primo Canto, Brand BBQ, Mexique (2)

WORST FOOD

1 / 2 / 3. (4-Way Tie) Al Primo Canto, The Bad Apple, Leo’s Coney, Sabri Nihari (2)

BEST VALUE

1 / 2. (2-Way Tie) Al Primo Canto, Leo’s Coney (3)

3. (2-Way Tie) Half Shell, 44th Ward Dinner (2)

WORST VALUE

1 / 2. (2-Way Tie) Ceres’ Table, Nacional 27 (3)

3. (5-Way Tie) Al Primo Canto, Browntrout, Fontana Grill, Rockit B&G, Yassa African (1)

BEST ATMOSPHERE

1 / 2 / 3. (3-Way Tie) Al Primo Canto, David Burke’s, The Publican (3)

WORST ATMOSPHERE

1. Theatre Cafe (4)

2. Silver Spoon (3)

3. (8-Way Tie) Ceres’ Table, The Counter, Glenn’s Diner, Kith and Kin, Pete’s Pizza, Ranalli’s, Sabri Nihari, Yassa African (1)

BEST SERVICE

1 / 2. (2-Way Tie) David Burke’s, Fontana Grill (3)

3. (2-Way Tie) Brand BBQ, Glenn’s Diner (2)

WORST SERVICE

1 / 2 / 3. (4-Way Tie) Al Primo Canto, Café Marbella, Half Shell, Yassa African (2)

FAVORITE WAITPERSON OR BARTENDER

1. The Pitmistress @ Brand BBQ (4)

2. Waiter @ David Burke’s (3)

3. (3-Way Tie) Dude @ Fontana Grill, Waitress @ Moher Irish Pub, Bartender / Owner @ Square B&G (2)

BEST DRINKS

1. The Bad Apple (4)

2 / 3. (2-Way Tie) Kith and Kin, Nacional 27 (3)

BEST DESERTS

1 / 2. (2-Way Tie) Al Primo Canto, Square B&G (2)

3. 6-Way Tie: Kith and Kin, Nacional 27, Ropa Restaurant, Rustik, Sapora Trattoria, Sweets & Savories (1)

BEST BATHROOMS

1. The Publican (4)

2. 44th Ward Dinner (2)

3. (6-Way Tie) Al Primo Canto, David Burke’s, Kith and Kin, Nacional 27, Rio’s D’Sudamerica, Ropa Restaurant (1)

WORST BATHROOMS

1. Ian’s Pizza (3)

2. 44th Ward Dinner (2)

3. (5-Way Tie) Al Primo Canto, Café Marbella, Glenn’s Diner, Leo’s Coney, Silver Spoon (1)

BEST ATTENDANCE

1 . / 2. (2-Way Tie) Matt Priest, Renee Woodward (26 R.C.’s)

3. Mat Calvert (24)

4. Seamus Ryan (23)

5. Blake Johnson (22)

6. Jen Priest (19)

7. Matt Lango (15)

8. / 9./ 10. (3-Way Tie) Miyuki Calvert (13)

8. / 9./ 10. (3-Way Tie) Sarah Calvert (13)

8. / 9./ 10. (3-Way Tie) Pfeffer Eisin (13)

11. John Hayes (12)

12. Lisa Knight (9)

13. / 14. / 15. / 16. / 17. (5-Way Tie) Audra Eisin (8)

13. / 14. / 15. / 16. / 17. (5-Way Tie) Katie Friesema (8)

13. / 14. / 15. / 16. / 17. (5-Way Tie) Alyssa Hayes (8)

13. / 14. / 15. / 16. / 17. (5-Way Tie) Alexis Leverenz (8)

13. / 14. / 15. / 16. / 17. (5-Way Tie) Jeff Leverenz (8)

18. / 19. (2-Way Tie) Tosh Keller (7)

18. / 19. (2-Way Tie) Elizabeth Lindau (7)

20. / 21. / 22. (3-Way Tie) John Cunningham (6)

20. / 21. / 22. (3-Way Tie) Jeff Dunlap (6)

20. / 21. / 22. (3-Way Tie) Brian Tallerico (6)

RESTAURANT CLUB – WEEK #500: THE BEST OF THE FIRST 500

1. Glenn’s Dinner (11 votes)

2. HB, Home Bistro (9 votes)

3. Tango Sur (7 votes)

4. / 5. Bonsoirée Café (5 votes)

4. / 5. Wildfire (5 votes)

6. – 11. Bistro Campagne (4 votes)

6. – 11. Broadway Cellars (4 votes)

6. – 11. Lula Café (4 votes)

6. – 11. Piece (4 votes)

6. – 11. Rose Angelis (4 votes)

6. – 11. Sola (4 votes)

12. – 14. Ethiopian Diamond (3 votes)

12. – 14. Fat Willy’s Rib Shack (3 votes)

12. – 14. Mia Francesca (3 votes)

15. – 22. Adobo Grill (2 vote)

15. – 22. Green Zebra (2 votes)

15. – 22. Honky Tonk Barbeque (2 votes)

15. – 22. Pars Cove (2 votes)

15. – 22. The Publican (2 votes)

15. – 22. Roy’s Chicago (2 votes)

15. – 22. Tank (Sushi) (2 votes)

15. – 22. Tre Kronor (2 votes)

23. – 29. Ben Pao (1 vote)

23. – 29. Café Laguardia (1 vote)

23. – 29. Coobah (1 vote)

21. – 28. Opera (1 vote)

23. – 29. Sapori Trattoria (1 vote)

23. – 29. Soul Vegetarian East (1 vote)

23. – 29. Tsuki (1 vote)

RESTAURANT CLUB – 9TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

BEST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR

1. Rose Angelis (164 points)

2. Broadway Cellars (161 points)

3. Honky Tonk Barbeque (108 points)

THE BEST OF THE REST

4. Podhalanka (90)

5. Vella Café (64)

6. Deleece Grill Pub (60)

7. Room 21 (59)

8. / 9. (2-Way Tie) Hot Woks Cool Sushi, Koda (49)

10. Zed451 (40)

11. Mixteco Grill (37)

12. / 13. (2-Way Tie) Hub 51, Olé Olé (32)

14. Mado (26)

15. Veerasway (25)

16. Pizza Art Café (24)

17 ./ 18. (2-Way Tie) L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge, Urban Belly (17)

19. Erba (15)

20. Trattoria Trullo (14)

21. / 22. (2-Way Tie) Burt’s Place, Chelsea Grill (13)

23. / 24. (2-Way Tie) Shochu, Wilde Bar & Restaurant (12)

25. / 26. (2-Way Tie) Ja’ Grill, Tapas Las Ramblas (9)

27. Epic Burger (5)

WORST RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR

1. I Monelli (7 votes)

2. Beer Bistro (2 votes)

3. (7-Way Tie) Fat Cat, Hub 51, Ja’ Grill, John’s Place,

La Tache, Smak-Tak!, Sticky Rice (1 vote each)

BEST FOOD

1. Broadway Cellars (5)

2. Rose Angelis (3)

3. (3-Way Tie) Mixteco Grill, Podhalanka, Zed 451 (2)

WORST FOOD

1. I Monelli (5)

2. Fat Cat (3)

3. (3-Way Tie) The Beer Bistro, Hub 51, Ja’ Grill (2)

BEST VALUE

1. Podhalanka (4)

2. / 3. (2-Way Tie) Honky Tonk, Koda (3)

WORST VALUE

1. I Monelli (4)

2. / 3. (2-Way Tie) Fat Cat, Hub 51 (2)

BEST ATMOSPHERE

1. / 2. (2-Way Tie ) Room 21, Rose Angelis (3)

3. (3-Way Tie) Broadway Cellars, L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge, Veerasway (2)

WORST ATMOSPHERE

1. I Monelli (4)

2. Epic Burger (3)

3. (2-Way Tie) The Beer Bistro, Fat Cat (2)

BEST SERVICE

1. Broadway Cellars (5)

2. / 3. (5-Way Tie) Honky Tonk, Hub 51, L. Woods Tap & Pine Lodge, Podhalanka, Vella Café (2)

WORST SERVICE

1. I Monelli (9)

2. The Beer Bistro (3)

3. Deleece Grill Pub (2)

FAVORITE WAITPERSON OR BARTENDER

1. Polish Lady @ Podhalanka (4)

2. Capone Tourguide @ Room 21 (3)

3. (3-Way Tie) Guy @ Broadway Cellars,

Drunken Owner @ Honky Tonk Barbeque, Toni @ Mythos (2)

BEST DRINKS

1. Fat Cat (3)

2. Shochu (2.5)

3. (4-Way Tie) Big Jones, Broadway Cellars, Room 21, Veerasway (2)

BEST DESERTS

1. Rose Angelis (6)

2 / 3. (3-Way Tie) Mado, Podhalanka, Vella Café (2)

BEST BATHROOMS

1. Room 21 (3)

2 / 3. (3-Way Tie) Deleece Grill Pub, Hot Woks Cool Sushi, Veerasway (1)

WORST BATHROOMS

1 / 2. (2-Way Tie) Burt’s Place, I Monelli (2)

3. (6-Way Tie) The Beer Bistro, Blu Coral, Honky Tonk Barbeque, Hub 51, Mado, Nohana (1)

BEST ATTENDANCE

1. Matt Priest (32 R.C.’s)

2. / 3. (2-Way Tie) Mat Calvert, Renee Woodward (26)

4. John Hayes (20)

5. / 6. / 7. (3-Way Tie) Blake Johnson, Alexis Leverenz, Jeff Leverenz (17)

8. Matt Lango (14)

9. / 10. (2-Way Tie) Sarah Calvert, Pfeffer Eisin (13)

11. / 12. / 13. (3-Way Tie) Alyssa Hayes, Jen Priest, Miyuki Shimabukuro (12)

14. / 15. (2-Way Tie) John Cunningham, Lisa Knight (9)

16. Brian Tallerico (7)

17. Jeff Dunlap (6)

18. Chris Hayes (5 or so)

19. / 20. / 21. Ben Bass, Elizabeth Lindau, Lauren Tallerico (5)

RESTAURANT CLUB – 8TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

ATTENDANCE WINNERS

1. Mat Calvert (32 RC’s)

2. Matt Priest (29 RC’s)

3. Renee Woodward (26 RC’s)

4. John Hayes (23 RC’s)

5. Jen Priest (19 RC’s)

6. Sarah Calvert (18 RC’s)

7. Alyssa Hayes (15 RC’s)

8. Jeff Leverenze (14 RC’s)

9. Alexis Leverenz (13 RC’s)

10. John Cunningham (12 RC’s)

BEST RESTAURANTS

1. HB, Home Bistro (147 points – 3 x 1st place votes and 2 x 2nd place votes)

2. Bonsoiree Café (122 points – 4 x 1st place votes and 1 x 2nd place vote)

3. Carnivale (91 – 2 x 2nd place votes and 2 x 3rd place votes)

4. Crust (81 – 3 x 2nd place votes and 1 x 3rd place vote)

5. El Llano (70 – 3 x 1st place votes)

6. Il Fornello (65 – 2 x 1st place votes, 1 x 2nd place vote and 1 x 3rd place vote)

7. La Madia (53 – 1 x 2nd place vote and1 x 3rd place vote)

8. A Mano (52 – 1 x 2nd place vote and 1 x 3rd place vote)

9. Demera (48 points – 1 x 1st place vote, 1 x 2nd place vote and 1 x 3rd place vote)

10. / 11. (tie) Marigold Indian Restaurant (46 – 1 x 1st place vote and 2 x 3rd place votes)

10. / 11. (tie) South Water Kitchen (46 – 1 x 1st place vote and 1 x 2nd place vote)

Other vote-getters for “Best Restaurant”: Cordiss Bros. (31), Jury’s (27), Orange Garden (26), Indie Café (22), Thai Spice (22), Sura Thai Bistro (22), La Canasta (18), Hema’s Kitchen II (18), El Nandu (16), Sapore di Napoli (16), Icosium Café (14), Twin Anchors (12), Agave Café (11), Cousin’s (11), The Gage (11), Café Bionda (11), Il Fiasco (8) and Emilio’s Sol y Nieve (6)

WORST RESTAURANTS

1. Orange Garden (2 votes in the original contest and 5 in the run-off)

2. Demera (2 votes in the original contest and 3 in the run-off)

3. Icosium Café (2 votes in the original contest and 2 in the run-off)

4. Tagine (2 votes in the original contest and 0 in the run-off)

Other voter-getters for “Worst Restaurant” (1 vote apiece): Amelia’s Mexican Grille, Bin Wine Café, Blue Stem, Bonsoiree Café, Bowman’s, Crew Bar + Grill, El Nandu, Il Fiasco, Lao Sze Chuan, Moxie and Thai Spice

Comments:

Amelia’s Mexican Grille – “Only cuz they messed up Matt’s order.”

Demera – “I felt like the meat quality was pretty bad at Demera … felt kinda tough & stringy.”

Orange Garden – “I always expect it to be great, but then it’s just so-so.”

BEST FOOD

1. Bonsoiree Café (4 votes)

2. / 3. (tie) HB, Home Bistro (3 votes)

2. / 3. (tie) El Llano (3 votes)

4. Il Fornello (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Best Food” (1 vote apiece): Agave Café, Amelia’s Mexican Grille, Cousin’s, Demera, Hema’s Kitchen II, Icosium Café, Indie Café, Jury‘s Food and Drink, Sapore di Napoli, South Water Kitchen and Sura Thai Bistro

Comments:

Amelia’s Mexican Grille – “To me, their guac is mmm good.”

WORST FOOD

1. El Nandu (3 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) Bin Wine Café (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) Icosium Café (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) Lao Sze Chuan (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) Orange Garden (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Worst Food” (1 vote apiece): A Mano, Blue Stem, Demera, El Llano, Marigold Indian Restaurant, Moxie and Twin Anchors

BEST VALUE

1. El Llano (5 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) Demera (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) Icosium Café (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) Jury’s Food and Drink (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) Tank Noodle (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) Thai Spice (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Best Value” (1 vote apiece): Agave Café, Amelia’s, Cousin’s, Hema’s Kitchen II, Il Fornello, Indie Café and Orange Garden

WORST VALUE

1. La Canasta (3 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. (tie) Crust (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. (tie) The Gage (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. (tie) Indie Café (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Worst Value” (1 vote apiece): A Mano, Bin Wine Café, Bonsoiree Café, Emilio’s Sol y Nieve, Marigold Indian Restaurant, Orange Garden, South Water Kitchen and Twin Anchors

Comments:

Twin Anchors – “A bit pricey for ribs, although apparently Ribs ARE pricey.  What’s up with that?.”

Emilio’s Sol y Nieve – “It was actually a better value than I remember, but still a little overpriced (esp. Sangria).”

Crust – “So expensive”

BEST ATMOSPHERE

1. / 2. (tie) HB, Home Bistro (3 votes)

1. / 2. (tie) Carinvale (3 votes)

3. / 4. (tie) Indie Café (2 votes)

3. / 4. (tie) Sura Thai Bistro (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Best Atmosphere” (1 vote apiece): A Mano, Agave Café, Amelia’s Mexican Grille, Cousin’s, Crust, Demera, Jury’s Food and Drink, Marigold Indian Restaurant, Orange Garden, Parlor and Twin Anchors

Comments:

Parlor – “The back patio is nice.”

WORST ATMOSPHERE

1. Tank Noodle (4 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) Cordiss Bros. (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) Demera (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) El Llano (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) El Nandu (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Worst Atmosphere” (1 vote apiece): Amelia’s Mexican Grille, La Cocina de Frida, Lao Sze Chuan, Orange Garden, Phở 777, The Rail and Twin Anchors

Comments:

Demera – “So hot.”

El Llano – “It’s all about the food.”

BEST SERVICE

1. HB, Home Bistro (4 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) Café Bionda (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) Cordiss Bros (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) Jury’s Food and Drink (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) La Madia (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. (tie) Thai Spice (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Best Service” (1 vote apiece): A Mano, Agave Café, Cousin’s, Crust, The Grafton, Il Fiasco, Marigold Indian Restaurant and Twin Anchors

WORST SERVICE

1. Demera (4 votes)

2. / 3. (tie) Hema’s Kitchen II (3 votes)

2. / 3. (tie) Il Fiasco (3 votes)

4. Amelia’s Mexican Grille (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Worst Service” (1 vote apiece): A Mano, El Nandu, Indie Café, Lao Sze Chuan and The Rail

Comments:

Amelia’s Mexican Grille – “I think they were reluctant to fix their mistake.”

Demera – “It was pretty bad.”

Demera – “They got our order all wrong (not too surprising considering the complicated ordering structure).”

FAVORITE SERVER

1. / 2. (tie) Lefko @ Blue Stem (2 votes)

1. / 2. (tie) Tany @ Thai Spice (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Favorite Server” (1 vote apiece): A Mano, Bonseree Café, Cordis Brothers, Cousin’s, Crust, The main guy @ HB, Home Bistro, The Italian guy @ Il Fornello and La Madia

Comments:

A Mano – “I didn’t actually like the waiter, but he gave us all something to talk about, because all the girls liked him, but none of the guys understood why he was so well liked.”

Cordis Brothers – “The waitress smartly suggested I order the ribs.”

Cousin’s – “The guy talked to us about Turkish wine for like, a while.”

La Madia – “The guy, while seated at our table mind you, listed “patience” – an adjective – among actual food items, when asked about the ingredients in the risotto. How awesome is that?”

BEST DRINKS

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) A Mano (2 votes)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) Carnivale (2 votes)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) Crust (2 votes)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) El Nandu (2 votes)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. (tie) La Madia (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Best Drinks” (1 vote apiece): Agave Café, Amelia’s Mexican Grille, Bin Wine Cafe, Blue Stem, Cousin’s, Cousin’s, Demera, Indie Café and La Canasta

Comments:

Demera – “I enjoyed the beer in crusty old bottles.”

BEST DESSERTS

1. La Madia (3 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. (tie) Bin Wine Café (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. (tie) Marigold Indian Restaurant (2 votes)

2. / 3. / 4. (tie) South Water Kitchen (2 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Best Desserts” (1 vote apiece): Icosium Café and Twin Anchors

BEST BATHROOMS

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. (tie) Agave Café (1 vote)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. (tie) Amelia’s Mexican Grille (1 vote)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. (tie) Cousin’s (1 vote)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. (tie) Crust (1 vote)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. (tie) Il Fiasco (1 vote)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. (tie) Il Fornello (1 vote)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. (tie) Phở 777 (1 vote)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. (tie) South Water Kitchen (1 vote)

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. (tie) Sura Thai Bistro (1 vote)

Comments:

Phở 777 – “It has a beaded doorway leading to the restroom area…”

WORST BATHROOMS

1. Thai Spice (3 votes)

Other vote-getters for “Worst Bathrooms” (1 vote apiece): A Mano, El Llano, South Water Kitchen, Tank Noodle and Twin Anchors

Comments:

Twin Anchors – “A whole table full of people had to stand up so I could get to their TINY and gross bathroom.”

RESTAURANT CLUB – 7TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

Here are the final results for the Best (and Worst) of Restaurant Club for Year Seven (March 31, 2006 through March 16, 2007). Thanks to everyone who voted.

22 total restaurants received votes for Restaurant of the Year, and Kitchen Chicago was the overwhelming winner (and site of tonight’s anniversary dinner). It finished with nearly three times as many points as the runner-up, Wave.

Also of note: Kuma’s Corner sneaked into the top 10 despite Mat Calvert being the only one who voted for it. But if Calvert, who tied for the most RCs attended, says it’s good, then you know it’s good…

TOP 10 RESTAURANTS

1. Kitchen Chicago (Sunday Dinner Chicago) (“Underground” organic in Ravenswood Manor)

2. Wave (Contemporary American/Mediterranean in Streeterville)

3. Glenn’s Diner (Seafood and breakfast in Ravenswood)

4. Sola (Contemporary American/Asian in North Center)

5. Bistro Campagne (French in Lincoln Square)

6. Twisted Spoke (Burgers & BBQ in Lakeview)

7. Mia Francesca (Italian in Lakeview)

8. Simply It (Vietnamese in Lincoln Park)

9. Feed (Soul food in Humboldt Park)

10. Kuma’s Corner (Bar food in Logan Square)

ATTENDANCE AWARD

(tie) Mat Calvert and Renee Woodward, 28 RCs attended

WORST RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR

the uninspired Southern-accented Bourbon

BEST FOOD

the five-course sustainable/organic cornucopia at Kitchen Chicago

WORST FOOD

the greasy Polish buffet at Red Apple (several people apologized to me, since it was my RC … they should know that I voted for it, too)

BEST VALUE

the cheap falafel at Taste of Lebanon

WORST VALUE

the pricey slabs of meat at Custom House

BEST ATMOSPHERE

the chalkboards and cereal boxes at Glenn’s Diner

WORST ATMOSPHERE

the picnic benches and TV set at Calvin’s BBQ

BEST SERVICE

Kitchen Chicago

WORST SERVICE

Spacca Napoli (I want to know what the story is here…)

BEST WAITPERSON

The waitress at Glenn’s Diner (“who made fun of the terrible people at the next table … even beyond that, she was great” — Jeff D.)

BEST DRINKS

The enormous margaritas at Picante Grill

BEST DESSERTS

(tie) Custom House (“dessert sides!” — Jen), Sola

BEST BATHROOM

Sola

WORST BATHROOM

Taste of Lebanon (“in that they have none” — Calvert)

RESTAURANT CLUB – 6TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

TOP TEN RESTAURANTS

(28 total restaurants received votes, including 17 with multiple votes.)

1. Opera

2. Roy’s Chicago

3. Fat Willy’s

4. Kaze

5. Gulliver’s

6. Menagerie

7. Dine

8. Agami

9. Le Bouchon

10. Mrs. Murphy & Sons

ATTENDANCE

1. Mat Calvert 38

2. Renee Woodward 28

3. Matt Priest 26

4. John Cunningham 22

5. Sarah Calvert 20

6. Matt Lango 19

7. Pfeffer Eisin 18

8. John Hayes 17

9. Jen Malone 16

10. Lisa Knight 14

WORST

(tie) Jalapeno Sabroso, The Kerryman, and Resi’s Bierstube

BEST FOOD

Roy‘s

WORST FOOD

Jalapeno Sabroso

BEST VALUE

(tie) Fat Willy’s, Gulliver’s, and Hachi’s Kitchen

WORST VALUE

Roy‘s

BEST ATMOSPHERE

Opera

WORST ATMOSPHERE

(tie) Resi’s and The Kerryman

BEST SERVICE

Dine

WORST SERVICE

Resi’s

BEST SERVER

Carl at Dine (amusing runner-up: “the crazy old lady at Biasetti’s”)

BEST DRINKS

Blue Fin

BEST DESSERTS

Dine (the widest margin of victory in any category)

BEST BATHROOM

(tie) Opera and Mrs. Murphy & Sons

WORST BATHROOM

(tie) Fat Willy’s and Village Tap

RESTAURANT CLUB – 5TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

Well, 18 of you have voted (thanks!) and we have our winner… Joey’s Brickhouse!

1. Joey’s Brickhouse

2. Tsuki

3. Green Zebra

4. Beat Kitchen

5. Lucia Ristorante

6. Shaw’s Crab House

7. Fireplace Inn

8. West Town Tavern

9. Silver Seafood

10. Blue Bayou

RESTAURANT CLUB – 4TH ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

This year, I’ve received 26 ballots (out of 43 members). With two 3rd place votes (Alyssa & Lisa), three 2nd place votes (Nikki, Jen & Johnhayes) and three 1st place votes (Calvert Dave & Caryn), for a total of 8 votes (out of only 13 diners) and 170 points, Wildfire narrowly edged out Tango Sur (158 points) and Green Ginger (154), with La Mora (106) and Tank (88) rounding out the top five.

1. Wildfire

2. Tango Sur

3. Green Ginger

4. La Mora

5. Tank

6. Coobah

7. Andalucia

8. Galway Arms

9. She She

10. A Tavola

RESTAURANT CLUB – 3RD ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

The ballots are in and I’ve received a very respectable 25!  Thanks for voting everyone.  I’m proud to announce that this year’s winner is… CAFE LAGUARDIA!  It was voted #1 by Mat Calvert, Amy Sheerman, Nate Vercauteren and myself.

1. Cafe Laguardia

2. Tre Kronor

3 / 4. TIE: Weber Grill

3 / 4. TIE: Prego

5. Satko’s Kitchen

6. Player’s Club

7. Hillary’s Urban Eatery

8. Alice and Friends

9. Costa’s

10. Russian Tea Time

RESTAURANT CLUB – 2ND ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

Another year has been forked, chewed and swallowed.  And oh, what a year it was.  But as much fun as we’ve had, let’s not forget that Restaurant Club has sustained some serious blows over the past 12 months.  We lost some members: Morgan, Aaron, Mack, Elkins, Audra and Demetri.  Remember them?  We lost a restaurant too: Pasta Diavolo is no longer with us.  And we also lost the chance to procure RestaurantClub.com to some money-hungry entrepreneurs who are sitting on it and refuse to stand up for less than $1,500.

But you know what?

We’re still dining.

And showin’ no signs of slowin’.  Join me in celebrating another glorious year as we recap the ballots, crunch the numbers and take a look back at the moments that had us laughing, crying and ummm, eating…

THE BEST (OVERALL)

Here they are… The Top Ten Best Restaurants of Year Two.  The total number of points each eatery received follows its name:

1. PARS COVE – 313

2. SETTIMANA CAFE – 226

3. 404 WINE BAR – 118

4. CAFE  LULA – 109

5. PHOENIX – 92

6. PIECE – 65

7. BISTRO ULTRA – 63

8. GEJA’S CAFÉ – 56

9. ANGELINA RISTORANTE – 52

10. THE EXECUTIVES – 55

The Details

Along with an impressive five 2nd place votes (from Nikki, Sarah Calvert, John C., Jodi and Pete), Pars Cove was the first place choice for an even more impressive SIX people, three of whom were the leaders in overall attendance (Myself, Mat Calvert and Jen – the other three were Brian, Megan and Aleixs P.).  It was obviously pretty difficult for any restaurant to beat those three weighty votes.  But Settimana Cafe came somewhat close nonetheless.  It received 1st place votes from SEVEN Clubbers (John Hayes, Sarah Calvert, Lisa, Alyssa, Amy, Elizabeth and Pete) as well as one 3rd place vote from Jen.  In fact, seven of the top thirteen attendance leaders placed Settimana somewhere in their top three.  A worthy adversary indeed.  404 Wine Bar made a strong showing too, taking third place with only three votes!  But that’s certainly possible when all three votes (a 1st, 2nd and 3rd from Nikki, Calvert and Lango, respectively) came solely from diners ranking amongst the top six in attendance.  Cafe Lula came in just behind 404 with only three 3rd place votes – all of which came from people in the attendance top 4 (Myself, Mat Calvert and Nikki).  And Phoenix, in fifth place, was well-loved too. It received three 2nd place votes and a 1st, but of its admirers, only John Hayes and Lisa Rohde placed in the attendance top ten (Katie B. and Colin were the other two).  Piece landed in 6th place with two 2nd place votes (Alyssa and Amy) and a 1st (Alexis).  Bistro Ultra was 7th with two 3rd place votes (John Hayes and Carolyn) as well as a 2nd from Katie B. and a 1st from Dave.  Geja’s Café hit the top ten at #8 with a mere TWO very enthusiastic votes from Jen (a 2nd place rating) and Carolyn (a 1st).  It should probably be noted that a few people, including me, mentioned that we also would have likely voted for Geja’s Café had we attended it with RC.  But having only been there on occasions separate from RC, for some of us, it wasn’t an eligible candidate.  This is actually probably a good thing seeing as a reservation for 25 at Geja’s would probably require either sexual favors or hired thugs. Angelina Ristorante was 9th with three 2nd place votes (Lango, Carolyn and Morgan).  And lastly, Lango and Jodi’s 1st place votes were enough to put The Executives in tenth place.  Of the Top Ten, that’s the only one I missed and I’m looking forward to checking it out sometime.

The Best of The Rest

Here’s a list of the other vote-getters in the “Best” category (points in parentheses):

TIPAROS (48) / LOS CACHORROS (48) / ROCKIN’ RIBFEST (46) / PACIFIC CAFE (41) / LA CUMBAMBA (38) / HI RICKY (31) / MAIZ (30) / FREDDY’S RIBHOUSE (27) / ROSEBUD (26) / MI PI (25) / PEPPERLOUNGE (24) / CRAB ST. SALOON (22) / ANDIE’S (22) / LA DONNA (20) / ART OF PIZZA (13) / BISTRO MARGOT (13) / TILLI’S (13) / ARCO DE CUCHILLEROS (12) / ATHENIAN ROOM (12) / LUCCA’S (12) / ADDIS ABEBA (9) / BROTHER JIMMY’S (4) / DAVE & BUSTER’S (4)

THE BEST IN INDIVIDUAL CATEGORIES

Best Service

What does this category really imply?  Quick and accurate delivery of the food?  Nice smiles and friendly chit-chat?  Frequent refills on coffee and water?  Drinks conveniently left off the bill?  A nice butt?  Who knows?  Calvert would like to include a “Best Waitperson / Bartender” on future ballots.  But it seems to me, many of you already substituted that imaginary category for the one actually listed.  I received parenthetical messages specifically citing the following servers: The bar tending gal at Bistro Ultra, the bar tending fella at Mod, the Polish (?) waitress at 404 Wine Bar and the Italian waitresses at Settimana Cafe and La Donna (my personal favorite).  That being said, here are the winners for “Best Service”.  Please note that these votes were not weighted:

1) 6 VOTES – PARS COVE (Mat Calvert, Jen, John Hayes, Brian, Jodi and Megan)

2) 3 VOTES – ANDIE’S (Nikki, Sarah C. and John C.)

3) 2 VOTES – ARCO DE CUCHILLEROS (Katie B. and Katie F.) / MY PI (Aaron and Guy) / ATHENIAN ROOM (Liz and Sarah P.) / SETTIMANA CAFE (Lisa and Pete)

4) 1 VOTE EACH – La Donna / 404 Wine Bar / Geja’s Café / Freddy’s Ribhouse /   Ina’s /   Pasta Diavolo / Mod / Phoenix / Hi Ricky / Rosebud / Pepper Lounge

Best Atmosphere

It’s hard to argue with the romantic ambience of Geja’s Café – everyone leaves knowing they’re destined for action later in the evening.  And if my memory serves me correct, we actually sat inside a little hut of sorts at Addis Abbeba.  That was cool.  My Pi feels exactly like a deep dish pizza house in Chicago should – dark and shadowy with lanterns and red n’ white checkered tablecloths at every table, lots of wood and beer signs everywhere. The Pepper Lounge was the definition of swanky.  ‘Nuff said. Tilli’s feels ultra hip – like it’s the place to be whenever you happen to be there, assuming that happens to be your sorta thing.  But the atmosphere at Rockin’ Ribfest’s was even better received, most likely due to the psychedelic pop weirdness filling the air courtesy of the Flaming Lips.  It tied for second with Pars Cove, which also received three votes in this category, probably because it feels cozy and tucked-out-of-the way from the hustle and bustle of the Clark/Diversey intersection.  But in the end, it was 404 Wine Bar – with its soft lighting, wine bottle collection, comfy lounge furniture and functional fireplaces that stole the show.

1) 4 VOTES – 404 WINE BAR (Calvert, Nikki, John Hayes and Alyssa)

2) 3 VOTES – PARS COVE (Sarah C., Megan and Pete) / ROCKIN’ RIBFEST (John C., Colin and Nate)

3) 2 VOTES – GEJA’S CAFÉ / ADDIS ABEBA / PEPPER LOUNGE / MY PI / TILLI’S

4) 1 VOTE EACH – Tecalitlan / Athenian Room / Settimana Cafe / La Cumbamba / Piece / Crab St. Saloon / The Executives / Rosebud / Bistro Ultra / Arco De Cuchilleros

Best Value

It doesn’t get much better than great pizza and rarely do you spend more than $12 gorging yourself on it.  So it makes perfect sense that pizza places performed well in this category.  Cafe Lula and Athenian Room pride themselves on cheap eats, so it’s no wonder they appeared near the top three.  But it was the very affordable My Pi with three votes that came in just ahead of them.  Pars Cove scored 5 votes and placed second for its $18 “All You Can Eat” Persian Meal Deal.  And it’s quite possible that its great value put it over the top in the “Best Overall” category. But Piece gets the award.  And I’ve got no issues with that as winner.  I tend to order pizza based on price (as opposed to the grossly-underestimated “serving recommendations” most menus include). At only $16 or so for a large pizza, I figured I’d need close to the whole thing to get full, so Jen and I ordered one with pepperoni and mushrooms.  That was the last time I can remember taking home left-over pizza.  Wow.

1) 6 VOTES – PIECE (John Hayes, Matt Lango, Brian, Sarah C., Alyssa and Alexis)

2) 5 VOTES – PARS COVE (Myself, Jen, Lisa, Megan and Pete)

3) 3 VOTES – MY PI (Colin, Guy and Aaron)

4) 2 VOTES – CAFÉ LULA / ATHENIAN ROOM / LA DONNA

5) 1 VOTE EACH – Settimana Cafe / Bistro Ultra / Pepper Lounge / Tiparos / Rockin’ Ribfest / Art of Pizza / Geja’s Café / Hi Ricky

Best Food

A very important category – as it should be.  The top two here finished as the top two in the overall category (albeit in reverse order).  Geja’s Café placed third.  Again, had it not suffered from a small list of attendees, this might’ve placed higher.  You ain’t NEVER had fondue this good and Geja’s Café never fails to prove it time and time again.  Pars Cove strides into second place with the best Middle Eastern food I’ve ever had (though that’s not to say I’m a connoisseur of the cuisine – cuz I’m definitely not).  The warm pitas and spreads alone make it worth going.  But Settimana Cafe finished first.  And I could agree with that – in a never-ending parade of tasty Italian restaurants throughout the city, Settimana ranks near the top.  And the portions were great too.  The risotto and thin crust pizza quattro formaggio were probably the best I’ve had outside of Italy.  I’ve forgotten what I ate as an entree and that’s the only reason I didn’t vote it myself…

1) 5 VOTES – SETTIMANA CAFE (John Hayes, Sarah C., Lisa, Elizabeth and Pete)

2) 4 VOTES – PARS COVE (Mat Calvert, Brian, John C. and Megan)

3) 3 VOTES – GEJA’S CAFÉ (Jen, Carolyn and Alyssa)

4) 2 VOTES – ARCO DE CUCHILLEROS / MI PI

5) 1 VOTE EACH – Cafe 28 / Pepper Lounge / Andie’s / MOD / Tilli’s / Rosebud / Phoenix / Bistro Margot / La Donna / Lucca’s / Bistro Ultra / Rockin’ Ribfest / Athenian Room / Art of Pizza

THE WORST

Restaurant Club doctrine states that the chooser of the year’s worst RC will purchase an alcoholic beverage for the chooser of the best.  Nikki McIlroy, meet Megan O’Connor.  Megan, what’re you drinking?

How does one measure the badness of a restaurant?  Well, let’s see… Addis Abeba wasn’t horrible, but considering there are two similar-tasting Ethiopian places that charge less and serve more on the VERY SAME STREET, you gotta wonder what they’re thinking.  Sauce? Sauce… hmmmm… I don’t even remember what they served there.  Things covered in sauce I guess?  Offensive in its banality and forgetableness. Brian hated Los Cachorros, but I’ll have to ask him why.  It was my #2 choice overall – I had a great time.  He probably felt as though he were being served late-night, foil-wrapped, drunk-ass burritos and being charged restaurant prices.  Soul Kitchen: in the words of Elizabeth Lindau, “snotty service, overpriced entrees and no soul.”  Misleading names should always be penalized heavily.  La Cumbamba tends to serve whatever they’re cooking and charge you whatever they feel like making. That didn’t exactly do it for Mat Clavert.  And as you can see, even the majestic Pars Cove had its detractors (Alyssa and Amy).  The payment process was an utter disaster, so perhaps that figured into their hatred.  We’ll have to ask them tonight.  Tilli’s was bad.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a noisier, more crowded restaurant in my life. And their hipper-than-thou hostess was a total biznatch with her “Stand by the bar until every single member of your party is here and sitting quietly with his/her hands folded” schtick.  And Phlair?  I didn’t go, but I heard that everything was tasteless, somewhat overpriced and billed in a mysterious, indecipherable foreign script.  But when it comes right down to it, who in their right mind would ever expend the strength necessary to open the front door to a place as shitty as Euro Cafe?  No one.  Ever again.  We learned our lesson and we learned it well.  If any discrimination toward Romanian Cuisine exists in the Chicagoland area, let Euro Cafe lay claim to all the blame.  Unbelievable.  We sat in an unlit, empty room and were tended to by the queen of the living dead. Most dishes were mushy, cold and gray or some combination thereof.  One word: Mamaliga (cornmeal)…

1. EURO CAFE (LITTLE BUCHAREST) – 8 (Morgan, Carolyn, Jen and Myself)

2. PHLAIR – 83 (Alexis F., Megan, Lisa, Sarah C. and John Hayes)

3. TILLI’S – 75 (John C., Lango and Nikki)

4. PARS COVE – 39 (Alyssa and Amy)

5. LA CUMBAMBA – 38 (Mat Calvert)

6. SOUL KITCHEN – 30 (Katie B. and Elizabeth)

7. LOS CACHORROS – 22 (Brian)

8. SAUCE – 8 (Jodi)

9. ADDIS ABEBA – 6 (Colin)

OK, OK, so Phlair received votes from one more person than Euro Cafe. But like the “Best Overall” category, votes are weighted.  But lest someone complain about the near-tie that occurred, keep this in mind… of those voting either Phlair or Euro Cafe “The Worst”, only Jen Malone attended both.  Yet her clear unfavorite was Euro Cafe.  And her vote came complete with an exclamation point (“Euro Cafe!”).  That, alone, was enough to soothe my worries about the possible inaccuracies of my system.

Bistro Ultra, Dave & Buster’s, Crab St. Saloon, My Pi, Rosebud and Lucca’s also received some votes for “Worst Restaurant”, but they were cast halfheartedly by folks who hadn’t been to too many RC’s this years and seemed to be voting for them merely out of being forced to do so.

ATTENDANCE

As I’ve already proudly stated, this year’s Attendance Award is mine! And like Mat Calvert before me and thousands of future great eaters we’ve yet to meet, my anniversary meal tonight will be paid for by the other lubbers present.  The individual’s enthusiasm for RC is what keeps it from joining the “We should totally have a club…” graveyard, so it seems just that attendance should be appreciated accordingly.

While the average RC member (who responded) attended approximately 12 restaurants over the past year, a few of us went above and beyond the all of duty…

1. MATT PRIEST – 43

2. MAT CALVERT – 38

3. JEN MALONE – 34

4. JOHN HAYES / NIKKI McILROY – 28

6. MATT LANGO – 27

7. SARAH CALVERT / BRIAN TALLERICO – 22

9. LISA ROHDE – 21

10. JOHN CUNNINGHAM / ALYSSA STONE – 20

It should also be noted that Sarah Calvert missed the first 3 months of C due to living elsewhere and should prove to be “one to watch” in future Attendance Contests.  Look out!

CHOOSERS

Is this worth mentioning?  Some may think not.  But God Bless the choosers, who also do their share to keep RC afloat in a sea of urban apathy.  The following eleven people accounted of 39 of the 51 restaurants chosen.  In the years to come, let’s aim for a greater distribution of these duties.  If it’s been a long while since you’ve chosen, or, perhaps you haven’t gotten around to doing so at all, it’s time to take hold of the torch and run.  “Run”, I say!  Run ahead in the tracks laid forth by these heroes.  Heroes?  That’s right – that’s what I said.  In a day and age such as this, people like these are needed now more than ever:

MATT PRIEST – 7

ELIZABETH – 6

NIKKI – 4

JOHN C. – 4

MAT CALVERT – 4

JEN – 3

ALYSSA – 3

LISA – 2

BRIAN – 2

ALEXIS – 2

KATIE B. – 2

Wow.  This e-mail has gotten way outta control.  OK, I’m done.  I’ll see many of you tonight and the hopefully, the rest, at a Restaurant Club in the near future…

…or somewhere else; that would be fine too.

RESTAURANT CLUB – 1ST ANNIVERSARY BALLOT RESULTS

Why don’t we start on a negative note? Without further ado, here are your 11 worst restaurants… At the bottom of our list, we have 6 restaurants with one vote each. Let’s give a shout out for the following: the highly strange tastes of OFIE, the forced punk rock thematics of FUEL, the offensive service of THE KIT KAT LOUNGE & SUPPER CLUB, the Denny’s-quality soul fare at WISHBONE, the vegetarian’s nemesis THE METRO CLUB, and BELLA VISTA, which has since heeded our advice and closed the doors to its cave-like interiors after years of serving medicore Italian food in a city full of far more excellent examples of the cuisine.

We then have a three-way tie for third. Clocking in with two votes each, we have the limited menu offerings of the very crowded BOSTON BLACKIE’S, the somewhat pretentious “globally-fused” flavors of FEAST and finally, the toddler-targeted animatronic antics of THE JEKYLL & HYDE CLUB (which also closed minutes after we paid our check).

In second place, it’s hard to argue with the three votes thrown at GILGAMESH. The food, although quite possibly highly authentic, was just plain bland. And not a fine dining experience do a couple of ornate throw-pillows make…

And last and certainly also least, let’s put our hands together for our hands-down champion. After 52 different restaurants and a wide selection of cuisines, atmospheres, and overall experiences, one has to be impressed with any single restaurant that emerges with 7 votes as the absolute worst. Was it the service which insisted on feeding us the same dishes as a group, regardless of what we ordered? Or maybe it was Megan’s pile of goo? Or maybe it was the lukewarm Tandori chicken? Or maybe it was the mango smoothies? Or maybe it’s the letter ‘N’ missing from the eatery’s name, which would turn the owner’s home country into the more logical adjective one would use to describe the type of cuisine served there and modify the word “Restaurant”. Who knows? But no matter how you slice it, it was definitely GAYLORD INDIA RESTAURANT. It has been suggested by some Club members that the chooser of this establishment, Megan O’Connor, be kind enough to purchase a drink at some point in the near future for the one who selected our best restaurant experience, which will become apparent in the upcoming paragraphs.

LEAST FAVORITES:

1. GAYLORD INDIA RESTAURANT (8 votes)

2. GILGAMESH (Closed – 3 votes)

3. JEKYLL & HYDE CLUB (Closed – 2 votes)

4. FEAST (2 votes)

5. BOSTON BLACKIE’S (2 votes)

6. METRO CLUB (2 votes)

7. KIT KAT LOUNGE / SUPPER CLUB (2 votes)

8. BELLA VISTA (Closed – 1 vote)

9. WISHBONE (1 vote)

10. FUEL (1 vote)

11. OFIE (1 vote)

And now, we move on to our favorites. I think it’s a pretty impressive list. My own personal top 10 would probably match up with 9 of them and I would’ve gladly returned to any of them…

And the winning restaurant, with a whopping 177 points as the result of SIX votes (two 1st’s, three 2nd’s & one 3rd)… THE METRO CLUB ! ! !

That’s right – it’s schnitzels all around! Billed as the only Austrian restaurant in Chicago, customers come for the hearty, meaty dishes with rich thick gravys and frosty, bold beers, and stay for the antics of Pepo, the waiter, bartender & accordionist.

FAVORITES:

1. METRO CLUB (177 points – 12 attendees – 2 x 1st place, 3 x 2nd place & 1 x 3rd place vote)

2. BEN PAO (161 points – 10 attendees – 4 x 1st place & 1 x 2nd place vote)

3. ADOBO GRILL (126 points – 7 votes, including 1 x 1st place & 3 x 3rd place votes)

4. IXCAPUZALCO (125 points – 5 attendees – 2 x 1st place & 1 x 2nd place vote)

5. ECHO (122 points – 10 attendees – 1 x 1st place, 1 x 2nd place & 2 x 3rd place votes)

6. ETHIOPIAN DIAMOND (104 points – 14 attendees – 1 x 1st place, 2 x 2nd place & 3 x 3rd place votes)

7. DIXIE KITCHEN & BAIT SHOP (104 points – 10 attendees – 1 x 1st place & 3 x 2nd place votes)

8. MISTO (92 points – 9 attendees 1 x 1st place & 2 x 3rd place votes)

9. PRIVATA CAFE (84 points – 7 attendees – 1 x 1st place & 2 x 2nd place votes)

10. MEDIEVAL TIMES (82 points – 7 attendees – 2 x 1st place & 2 x 2nd place votes)

11. MASHED POTATO CLUB (80 points – 8 attendees – 1 x 1st place & 1 x 3rd place votes)

12. SOUL VEGETARIAN EAST (59 points – 6 attendees – 3 x 1st place, 1 x 2nd place & 1 x 3rd place vote)

13. KIT KAT LOUNGE (58 points – 13 attendees – 1 x 1st place & 3 x 2nd place votes)

14. FEAST (55 points – 14 attendees – 1 x 1st place & 2 x 2nd place votes)

15. BOSTON BLACKIE’S (49 points – 16 attendees – 1 x 1st place, 1 x 2nd place & 1 x 3rd place vote)

16. SOUK (47 points – 8 attendees – 1 x 2nd place vote)

17. EZULI (45 points – 11 attendees – 1 x 1st & 1 x 3rd place vote)

18. THE PALM (31 points – 11 attendees – 2 x 3rd place votes)

19. SHINE (29 points – 7 attendees – 2 x 1st place votes)

20. FUZIO (28 points – 15 attendees – 1 x 2nd place & 2 x 3rd place votes)

21. VINCI (28 points – 7 attendees – 1 x 1st place & 1 x 3rd place vote)

22. OFIE (20 points – 11 attendees – 2 x 3rd place votes)

23. RAW BAR AND GRILL (19 points – 12 attendees – 2 x 3rd place votes)

24. LA TASCA (19 points – 5 attendees – 1 x 2nd place vote)

25. RED LIGHT (17 points – 8 attendees – 1 x 1st place vote)

26. GAYLORD INDIA (16 points – 13 attendees – 1 x 2nd place vote)

27. TIZI MELLOUL (11 points – 6 attendees – 1 x 3rd place vote)

28. GILGAMESH (Closed – 8 points – 13 attendees – 1 x 2nd place vote)