If you’re heading to Wrigley Field this season (and even Sox fans will probably do so once or twice), below is a dizzying array of dining and drinking options, from coffee and breakfast pastries to post-game bourbons.
West Town Bakery & Tap. This small storefront in the Hotel Zachary is the place for excellent coffee and great pastries (including the cakeballs from the West Town original). There is some seating, but grab-and-go is a big part of the business. Craft beers and boozy shakes are in the mix.
Budweiser Brickhouse Tavern. On the east side of Clark Street, directly overlooking Gallagher Way, is this restaurant by the Four Corners restaurant group. When the Cubs are on the road, the restaurant offers a $30 weekend buffet brunch, which you can augment with drink packages. The lunch and dinner menu is mostly sandwiches and pizza, and there’s plenty of room and plenty of TV screens.
Smoke Daddy. This massive barbecue outpost (300 seats) in Hotel Zachary has the same superior ‘cue as its Wicker Park parent, and a smoked-wings appetizer that’s a great value. But weekend brunch is another draw, and at $19, hard to resist (bottomless mimosas and the like, $16 additional).
Big Star. Tacos, tacos and more tacos at this Hotel Zachary outpost, a copy (though much larger) of the original Big Star in Wicker Park. Arrive early; this place is mobbed in the hours before game time — but, because it’s a taco and beer/booze operation, food arrives quickly and tables turn over just about as fast.
Rizzo’s Bar & Inn. No, the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo has no association with this place (the owner’s name is Rizzo, in a fortunate break). The pub-menu restaurant has good burgers and some silly ones (including a 72-ounce “Notorious Burger” — why?), and a spacious, glass-roof patio that makes a good hangout for fans without tickets.
Union Full Board. Two blocks south of Wrigley, in the Wheelhouse Hotel, Union Full Board opens three hours before every home game. The kitchen specializes in Detroit-style pizza (think thick foccacia with toppings; think rectangular; think pretty darn tasty), but there’s also a weekend brunch for you early risers. And a rooftop patio will debut this season.
Dutch & Doc’s. Attached to the Hotel Zachary but not accessible from the hotel itself, this Boka Group restaurant has a mature enough menu — including a legit steak — to be a dinner destination even if our heroes are playing elsewhere. The majority of the menu is pub food, naturally, including a very good steak sandwich.
Mordecai. Another Hotel Zachary restaurant, this one by Matthias Merges’ Folkart group. Love the battered cheese curds here, and the fish and chips, but the menu has great entrees, serious cocktails and a scholarly collection of rare spirits, whiskeys in particular. A place, in other words, where you’ll want to linger.