Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Our Picks for Guy

Yo, Guy Fieri! Give me a minute, dude.

Love your show, and you’ve featured a fair number of solid Chicago joints over the last umpteen seasons of Triple D, which I appreciate. But bro-ski, you’re killing us here on the North side. We’ve got some awesome places with killer food, but we are getting none of your love. Check out the list below for some of our faves, including some cool ethnic spots that you’ve missed. Hit us up!

Ban Le Sandwich & Bakery
Bite into perfectly crusty, freshly made Vietnamese baguettes stuffed with pickled daikon and carrots, fresh cilantro and your choice of filling. Go for the lemongrass-marinated BBQ pork or the Vietnamese meatballs. 5014 N. Broadway, Chicago, 773-561-4424

Burt’s Place
A true mom & pop, everything here is freshly prepared by Burt, who also happens to have the most incredible, heroic beard. You need to make a reservation and order your pizza in advance, but don’t let that deter you. At least you know they won’t run out of dough before you get there! 8541 Ferris Ave., Morton Grove, 847-965-7997

Cozy Noodle 
The grooviest Thai restaurant around, the walls are lined with wacky collections of vintage lunchboxes, pez dispensers and bobble heads under the approving gaze of a giant Elvis (white jumpsuit and all). Great lunch specials, and the menu ranges from mild to spicy. Filled with college students. 1018 Davis St., Evanston, 847-733-0101

Cross Rhodes
Carrying on in the tradition of late owner Jeff Russell, they’ve got the best Greek salad, spanakopita, gyros and Greek chicken around. I’ve been eating here for 23 years and I still crave it. And if you can resist the super-rich double chocolate cake, you’ve got more will power than me! 913 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-475-4475


D’s Haute Dogs
Sure, you can have a burger, or a regular hot dog or brat, but that’s not why you’re here. Aim for The Zeus (gyros sausage, tomatoes, onions, cukes, feta and tzatziki) or maybe The Rubens (corned beef sausage, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing) to get the real feel of the place. The suburbs’ answer to Hot Doug’s. 551 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, 847-386-6238

Lucky Platter
Owner Eric Singer is a lover of outsider and garage sale art, and his place has a funky-cool feel that brings in families and hipsters for breakfast, lunch and dinner. From the beloved Apricot Cheese Flakey to the Tandoori Chicken Sandwich and Pasta with Turkey Meatballs, this is Evanston’s soul food. And psst! Guy! There’s a Friday night Prime Rib special you’ll dig. 514 Main St., Evanston, 847-869-4064

Michael’s Chicago-Style Redhots
Mr. Fieri, it’s never too late for your bar mitzvah, and I suggest you have the party here (like every other kid on the North Shore). Natch, they have great char-broiled dogs, burgers and fries, but it’s the chopped salads that have the parents lined up. 1879 2nd St., Highland Park, 847-432-3338

Mrs. D’s Diner
If you don’t know “the D’s” on the way in, you’ll know them before you leave. It’s just that kind of place; the walls filled with hand-drawn pictures and messages of love to owners Christina and Dmitri Kapetan and their classic diner food. Here, you feel like family. 415 4th St., Wilmette, 847-256-2580

Pita Inn
The lunch line is insane, and one bite of the chicken shawarma or kifta kabob is enough to make you a believer. I love the fatoush salad and the gourmet falafel sandwich. Great for party deliveries, too. Glenview, 847-759-9990; Skokie, 847-677-0211; Wheeling, 847-808-7733

Prairie Joe’s
If there’s a better place to play “I Spy,” I have yet to find it. Filled with the fanciful art of owner Aydin Dincer and random garage sale finds, the menu boasts homemade soups, awesome vegetarian and diner specials, fountain favorites and more. 1921 Central St., Evanston, 847-491-0391 (below: eggplant, feta, pesto sandwich)


First opened in 1948, their trademark 12-foot hot dog icons still proudly stand at the corner of Devon, Nagle and Milwaukee Avenues on the city’s NW side. It’s the classic Chicago hot dog stand, writ large. I’m a fan of the “Whoopskidawg,” their version of a Polish sausage, especially in their whimsical packaging. Everything is “super” here! 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, 773-763-0660; 333 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, 847-459-1900

Taco Diablo
This feels like it’s been around forever, though it’s new this year. Wash down your chorizo and egg or your carne asada taco with a Jarrito or Agua Fresca. Or have proprietor Daniel Kelch make you a kick-ass margarita. Muy caliente! 1029 Davis St., Evanston, 847-868-8229

Tank Noodle
You’re not here for the atmosphere (which, for the record, is mostly formica and fake plants). Wait in line, cram in to your table, and prepare your taste buds for a ride. From self-wrapped spring rolls to congee, hot steamy pho to seafood fire pots, it’s a wild one. 4953 N. Broadway, Chicago, 773-878-2253

Taste of Cuba
Pressed Cuban sandwiches filled with roasted pork, sliced ham and pickles are at their best paired with a tropical mango milkshake, especially with a side of Yuccas Fritas with house mojo sauce. And the Ropa Vieja! Dios mio! The closest you’ll get to Cuba without a visa. 3918 W. Touhy Ave., Lincolnwood, 847-674-2822

Teddy Fabz
They will win your heart with their fry basket. Zucchini sticks, fried pickles (with apricot chipotle sauce!), onion rings and sweet potato fries will bring you joy (and add a few pounds). This family-owned business is a neighborhood favorite. 663 Lake Cook Rd., Deerfield, 847-498-5656