Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cool Things To Do On Dad's Big Day . . .

McGee's "Classic Car Brunch" in 2008. (Photo: Freddy Love)

I had a rad dad.

He was the type of guy who'd lock himself in his basement art studio for hours listening to Miles Davis and sipping on scotch as he painted African-inspired artwork or penned radical poetry. He'd design the biggest and best kite on the block and then take my brother and me to the park to test it out. Or he'd sneak off and bring back new pets—much to Mom's chagrin—ranging from baby sharks to hamsters to an exotic talking bird.

Now Dad wasn't the type of guy you'd take to a run-of-the-mill brunch on his special day, so we had to be creative every year or we'd bore him to death. So naturally I always keep that in mind when people ask me where they should take their dads (or significant others, etc.) on Father's Day.

One of my fave Dads' day events is the Classic Car Brunch at McGee's Tavern. It's a chance for him to proudly roll out that vintage ride he's been keeping in mint condition all these years. Or if he doesn't have one, there will be plenty there to admire. Look for classic cars to line Webster Avenue at Sheffield all afternoon. There's a bonus if you've got a muscle car to flex yourself: Park it and you'll get brunch for free. 10am-3pm Sunday.

6 Corners BBQ Fest: The BBQ-lovin' father might love it if you take him to this brand-new festival in Portage Park. The two-day, block-long event includes 'Q, live bands, beer garden and more. Bring wet naps! Noon-10pm Saturday; noon-8pm Sunday. $5 suggested donation.

Bistronomic: The newcomer Gold Coast eatery helmed by awesome French chef Martial Noguier is doing a pretty meaty deal that dads are certain to approve. Glazed short ribs, braised lamb shoulder and a flat iron steak are some of the specials, which will come with suggested beer pairings from Trumer Pils, Duvel and local Goose Island "Sofie." And since it's supposed to be a nice day, you can choose to dine on the canopied sidewalk patio. 5-10pm Sunday.

Chicago Firehouse: If your pop's a thrill seeker, he'll love knowing that you took him to the venue where "Backdraft" was filmed. The landmark firehouse building's history goes back more than 100 years and if you get the right server, he's likely to tell you all about it. The restaurant has a meat-centric menu, in-house butcher and a spacious back patio. 9:30am-3pm brunch and dinner 3-9pm will be offered.

Festa Pasta Vino: Give your dad an old-school weekend at this annual festival in the Heart of Italy. Sha Na Na, The Bronx Wanderers and a Rat Pack tribute band perform. A number of area restaurants will be serving up signature Italian cuisine and wine. Friday-Sunday.

Prairie Fire: It's a la carte brunch at Sarah Stegner's funky West Loop restaurant, with a special Father's Day omelet station, Dad's Supreme Bloody Mary topped with jumbo shrimp and blue cheese olives, and Peekytoe Crab Benedict. The dinner menu will include BBQ ribs, twice-baked potatoes and a signature crunchy slaw.

Real Men Cook: And there's nothing manlier than a bunch of dudes hovering over grills with humungous pieces of meat. This year's event happens at Chicago State University and a number of high-profile pops will be serving up their signature dishes. 3-6pm Sunday. $20 (adults); $10 (children). Get tickets here.

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