While we never tire of trying one of the city's hot, new restaurants, there's something to be said for a classic — a special place that conjures memories of old Chicago that simply cannot be replicated by one of the new kids on campus. Chances are you've been to Italian Village, a local institution that's been around in the same location in the Loop for 85 years as of this month.
From the beautiful paintings created by Daniel Burnham to the intricate light fixtures and "village-like charm," not much has changed in this place since the day it first opened. And seriously, there's just something cool about being able to dine in the same restaurant where Frank Sinatra had his wedding reception, Pavarotti celebrated his 53rd birthday, and even Al Capone enjoyed a carb fix. We could actually devote an entire story to the famous faces that have eaten here, but we've got other news to cover.
To celebrate its 85 delicious years in Chicago, the Village is offering daily lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., September 17 through 21. For just $8.50, you'll get your choice of soup (we vote for the amazing homemade minestrone) or salad, select entrée of the day (think chicken breast pizzaiola, meat ravioli), and spumoni or lemon ice. Show up on the actual anniversary date (September 20), and you'll get the addition of a slice of cake and a special gift — because you're never too old for presents.
Italian Village, 71 West Monroe Street (between Wabash and Michigan Avenues), 312-332-7005.
Photo: Courtesy of Italian Village