When it comes to spooning out chili and scooping up ice cream, Lindy and Gertie's has no time for novices: This joint has been in the comfort food business since 1924 and shows no signs of stopping. A favorite spot for families and folks who like to grab a quick bite at the bar, the no-frills space reminds patrons of its simple but serious history with dark wood, old time sports photos and DIY booth-and-bar seating.
The famous chili remains as thick and robust as ever. The ground beef and tomato chunks are nonnegotiable, but the inclusion of macaroni, cheese, onions and sour cream is yours for the deciding. Polish sausage, hand cut fries and pizza round out the menu the greasy way, while ice cream options sweeten the load. Order up a hot fudge sundae topped with homemade whipped cream and Nabisco wafers, a banana split or an uber-thick strawberry shake. The bar serves up pints of beer to top off the calorie-happy meal.
Lindy and Gertie's is a bit of a hike from downtown Chicago, but if your chili cravings are something to contend with and you're bound downtown, there's still hope. Lindy's allows Chili-philes to place online orders (see Web site) for 12-ounce trays of the microwaveable treat. Shady but true: The folks at Lindy's swear that these suckers (packed with nitrogen) require no refrigeration and will last up to two years. (Centerstage not responsible for lost appetite.)
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg