Chicago's Hard Rock Cafe is a must for tourists, but like many chains, it tends to be more of a hit-or-miss with locals. The hearty rock menu features an assortment of steaks, salads, sandwiches, burgers and smokehouse specials. If you're going to be a tourist for the evening, you might as well go all the way and start with Joe Perry's "rock your world" quesadilla, stuffed with pineapple, barbecue sauce, mango-peach hot sauce and melted cheese. Entrees at Hard Rock Café – like the New York strip or smoked rib pork chops with sweet maple-mustard glaze and white cheddar smashed potatoes – are fit for a rock n' roll king.
If you're feeling really hardcore, order up the "legendary" 10-ounce burger topped with seasoned bacon, two slices of cheddar cheese, crisp fried onion ring and fresh veggies. Or get a little patriotic with the red, white and blue burger, grilled with buffalo sauce, Cajun seasoning and topped with crumbled blue cheese and a crisp fried onion ring, served alongside a heaping pile of seasoned fries.
Nibble away while you check out the cafe's cluttered walls, adorned with autographed guitars (including one signed by Nirvana members), albums, posters and band photos. You'll need to get off your derriere to scope out all of Hard Rock's nooks and crannies – if it conjures awkward glares, just chalk it up to being an out-of-towner. If you haven't blown all your dough on food and drinks, take your tourism the extreme and check out Hard Rock's gift shop.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Stacy Warden