Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chillin' with a bowl of chili


Any day now we should expect Cinner's Chili Parlour & Cocktail Lounge (4757 N. Talman Ave., 773-654-1624) to make its debut in Lincoln Square. We're hearing that it'll be in early March, but I'm gonna go with at least mid-March. They've also added vegetarian items to the menu, including Nutty Spaghetti with a spicy peanut sauce, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms as well as Mt. Healthy, two slices of "meatlessloaf" with broccoli and carrots.

Hey, but if you want that chili fix right now, here are a bunch of my faves:

Chili Mac's (3152 N. Broadway, 773-404-2898). The hoppin' Lakeview joint has made a name for itself for its 5-Way Chili that you can get in original Cincinnati, Texas Hot Jailhouse, vegetarian or turkey.

Halsted's Bar & Grill (3441 N Halsted St., 773-348-9696). Their jumbo bowl of Chicago Stadium Turkey Chili has just the right spice, with lean ground turkey and black beans topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Karyn's Cooked (738 N. Wells St., 312-587-1050). Vegetarians can chow down too at this River North spot with the perfect meatless chili that is served with a side of steaming hot cornbread.

Luxbar (18 E Bellevue Pl., 312-642-3400). Head to the Gold Coast for a nice comforting bowl of Steak & Black Bean Chili. Get it five ways with macaroni, cheddar, japapenos, onions and sour cream. And for an extra few bucks, you can also get two Gold Coast sliders like a Kobe burger, buttermilk fried chicken or turkey burger.

Minnies (1969 N. Halsted St., 312-943-9900). The cheery cafe specializes in all things small, so order your tiny bowl of chili to accompany your favorite tiny sandwiches like the tenderloin, grilled cheese or grilled veggie Minnie.

Silver Cloud (1700 N. Damen Ave., 773-489-6212). They've got regular chili on the entree menu, but this Bucktown bar is most famous for its appetizer portion of Frito Pie, with the Fritos baked in their homemade chili and cheese.

Curtain call for Cabaret

During its heyday, Vegas-vibed Cabaret (15 W. Hubbard St., 312-245-3100) managed to snag all the stars: From Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn—who had a private party here after “The Break-Up” premiered in Chicago—to Michael Jordan and even Brit’s former flame Kevin Federline. But when managing partner Todd Rubin jumped ship last fall to actually take a gig in Vegas (he’s the marketing director for hot new spot Prive), I knew it was just a matter of time.

Last night (Saturday, Feb. 23) marked Cabaret’s last hurrah, so it’s lights out on that big-ass marquee on the busy River North strip . . . at least for now. Who knows what’s going in that space. But I’ll be on the case. . .