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<br>Chowtown

Chowtown
Photo: Lollapalooza

Restaurants Worth Listening To

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Chowtown
| Photo: Lollapalooza

With Lollapalooza in town it only seemed appropriate to take a look at some of the restaurants in the city with both the best food and and great music. Check out the map below for the cream of the crop that Chicago has to offer.


· All Lollapalooza Coverage [-ECHI-]

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Three Aces

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This Little Italy spot boasts a tagline of "the Italian Countryside meets the American farmhouse...in Keith Richards' basement bar." Loud music is pumped through the speakers during service and live music (blues, rockabilly, rock) is often played. A recent comment by a customer on Trip Advisor complained of the loud rock music, proving the adage that, if it's too loud, you're probably too old.

Big Star

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This insanely popular taqueria's roots lie in the central California honky tonks of the 40s and 50s. Merle Haggard and Buck Owens ruled then and they rule now. Parties have been thrown here in honor of Haggard and Waylon Jennings. Think of it as the antithesis of the big hair/glitzy country belched out of Nashville.The managers and a few of the staff bring in and pick out the records played. The bar has amassed a sizable collection of records (purchased from all over the country) since opening. Paul Kahan even donated a couple of his speakers to the place when they opened.You'll hear everyone from Buck Owens, the Louvin Brothers, Ernest Tubb and classic country artists, to Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Lighting Hopkins on the blues spectrum, to American rockers like ZZ Top, the James Gang and Jim Ford while you're wolfing down tacos and slammin' back bourbon here.

Graham Elliot Bistro

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He's been in a rock band, he curates Chow Town at Lollapalooza, hung out and worked with The Roots' Questlove — was there any doubt that one of Graham Elliot's restaurants would make this map? From the man himself: "Music was one of the main reasons we opened the Graham Elliot Bistro. The host stand is a Marshall half stack, the check presenters are records (7"), there are saint candles featuring musicians, etc. It only made sense to show off the relationship of food and music." The playlist changes nightly based on whatever the team and Elliot are into at any given moment. You'll hear an eclectic mix of "punk, emo, indie, classic, rock, 80's college rock. Bands such as Zeppelin, Pixies, Prince, Jawbreaker, The Get Up Kids, Passion Pit..."

La Sirena Clandestina

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It's no surprise that John Manion's take on the cuisine of Brazil has taken off. It feels comfortable and is a great place to "hang." Come in for a lively mix of Latin inspired music curated by Frank Orrall, leader of Poi Dog Pondering. Orrall will often be found playing live music in the late night hours here as well.

Au Cheval

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Probably the most unique aspect of the music at Au Cheval is how it's played: on reel-to-reel tapes. The playlists are created by Scottie McNiece of Uncanned Music and the music is all over the place (from Cass McCombs to De La Soul).The music selection is pretty nostalgic collection and the volume it's played at is crucial to service.

Hot Doug's

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"It's about time I was asked about the music. I'm a bit bored with talking about sausage!," jokes owner Doug Sohn, the man behind both the counter taking your order and curating the tunes. The music, he says, is "a reflection of what I like. And, on a personal note, it is a great source of energy for me in what is generally a long hard day working in a restaurant." Focusing on "power pop recorded from about 1974 to 1984, the high school and college years where most music preferences are formed. Having said that, we will play pretty much everything, excluding free-form jazz and jam bands. If it's catchy, I'll play it."

Trenchermen

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The music here, curated by the staff, reflects the "different moods and feelings throughout dinner service", stretching into the late night bar crowd. Atmospheric tunes start out the evening (Devotchka, Yo La Tengo), instrumental music as the dining room starts filling up and then into themes (70s punk/pre-punk, uptempo jazz). "Chill" nights get a 60s rarities mix (Rodriguez, Yardbirds). Uncanned Music's Scottie McNiece (popping up again on this map) took feedback from the staff and crafted playlists and hosts Monday night record parties.

Storefront Company

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Positioned near music venues Double Door and Subterranean, this Wicker Park eatery is deeply influenced by its artists and musicians. You'll hear a wild mix of contemporary and classic music. From White Lies to New Order, Chromeo to the Cure, Grimes to Leonard Cohen, the playlist is a collaboration between the partners and the chef. Operating Partner/Marketing Director Claudia Gassel and Partner Steve Harris are also owners of Debonair Social Club, giving more heft to the restaurants musical roots.Sample Playlist:White Lies: Bigger Than Us, New Order: Thieves Like Us, David Bowie: Fashion, Yaz: Bad Connection, Joy Division: She's Lost Control, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, The Knife: Deep Cuts and The Cure: Fascination Street

Kuma's Corner

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Heavy Metal and burgers come together to form an unholy union here at Kuma's Corner. Be prepared for blaring metal turned up "to 11" here. The restaurant hosts album listening parties every now and then as well. Look for burgers named after the known and the unknown metal gods, like "Lair of the Minotaur" next to "Mastodon" next to "Slayer." The streets will flow with the blood of the non-believers, indeed.

Longman & Eagle

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Longman & Eagle owner Peter Toalson curates the music here with some help from the more musically "astute" staffers. Toalson, owner of music mecca the Empty Bottle, comes with a deep pedigree in knowing music that will fit the Logan Square restaurant, for sure. Featuring artists as varied as Black Flag, Cheveu, Colette Magny, Furry Lewis, Hank Thompson, J.Dilla, Joe McPhee, Irma Thomas, Lee Fields, Mack Allen, Meade Lux Lewis, Motorhead and The Swan Silvertones, the music program is a "critical component of the overall experience."

Bub City

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This new "Urban Cowboy" style joint is probably the antithesis of Big Star. Owing more to the high hair, sparkly guitar country scene (at least in the decor), folks get their drink and eat on while a solid mix of country's best and brightest from across the ages plays (there's often live music as well). And if that's not your thing, you can still marvel at the giant beer can flag of America hanging over the bar. Yee-Haw!

Bill Kim wants the music at bellyQ to be the same as the food: unexpected, like a "punch in the mouth." Kim cites Earth, Wind and Fire (a favorite of Kim's wife), his love of salsa (Willie Colon, Eddie Santiago or Hector Lavoe), newer artists like Anthony Hamilton or some reggae (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh) as making the rounds on the restaurant's speakers.

Nellcôte

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Nellcôte may be on here more for its inspiration and for the musicians who have hung out here than for the actual music it plays. The entire restaurant is built to resemble and in honor of the legendary French mansion that the Rolling Stones recorded the bulk of their classic 1972 album "Exile on Main Street." The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, the Fray and Edward Sharpe (of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), Florence & the Machine, Gary Clark Jr., and Lollapalooza founder / Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell have all stopped by at one point or another.

Mercadito

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Matching the social, high-energy environment, the music at Mercadito emphasizes the guests desire to have a good time with great food. New Wave/Alternative icons New Order, Tears for Fears and the Killers get regular spins courtesy of the restaurant's general manager.

Ada Street

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Probably the most unique aspect of Ada St.'s music is that the guests help pick the selections, all of which are on vinyl. Chef Zoe Schor says, "It's like a grown-up juke box, only you get to play an entire album. It's special for the guest who gets to set the tone for the entire restaurant for 40 minutes."The vinyl collection spans from old standards, jazz and blues to country and bluegrass to contemporary rock. "Each artist brings something special when their album is being played. Sad and soulful Tracy Chapman makes for an entirely different meal than loud and rollicking Bruce Springsteen," Schor says.

Homestead on the Roof

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Fans of Chris Curren know his passion for music. At the late, great Blue 13, Curren and staff would throw "Rock 'n Roll Dinners." Now that the Executive Chef is at Homestead, he's bringing his love for music with him. "...we wanted that specific take on farm-to-table to go into our mix of music which is a lot of folk-y and rock songs that are not 'in your face.' Music dictates feeling. We want everyone to feel comfortable with the music we're playing," Curren says."I put the playlist together by myself. I'm constantly adding songs and taking songs out of our playlist to fit the changing mood and seasonality of the restaurant."Here's a sampling of the folk and rock artists heard at Homestead:Mumford & SonsManchester OrchestraThe LumineersThe New AmsterdamsAlabama ShakesPhillip PhillipsWe Are AugustinesThe Lone BellowThe NationalWe Were Promised JetpacksThe Civil WarsBrand NewMatt & KimJack White

Three Aces

This Little Italy spot boasts a tagline of "the Italian Countryside meets the American farmhouse...in Keith Richards' basement bar." Loud music is pumped through the speakers during service and live music (blues, rockabilly, rock) is often played. A recent comment by a customer on Trip Advisor complained of the loud rock music, proving the adage that, if it's too loud, you're probably too old.

Big Star

This insanely popular taqueria's roots lie in the central California honky tonks of the 40s and 50s. Merle Haggard and Buck Owens ruled then and they rule now. Parties have been thrown here in honor of Haggard and Waylon Jennings. Think of it as the antithesis of the big hair/glitzy country belched out of Nashville.The managers and a few of the staff bring in and pick out the records played. The bar has amassed a sizable collection of records (purchased from all over the country) since opening. Paul Kahan even donated a couple of his speakers to the place when they opened.You'll hear everyone from Buck Owens, the Louvin Brothers, Ernest Tubb and classic country artists, to Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Lighting Hopkins on the blues spectrum, to American rockers like ZZ Top, the James Gang and Jim Ford while you're wolfing down tacos and slammin' back bourbon here.

Graham Elliot Bistro

He's been in a rock band, he curates Chow Town at Lollapalooza, hung out and worked with The Roots' Questlove — was there any doubt that one of Graham Elliot's restaurants would make this map? From the man himself: "Music was one of the main reasons we opened the Graham Elliot Bistro. The host stand is a Marshall half stack, the check presenters are records (7"), there are saint candles featuring musicians, etc. It only made sense to show off the relationship of food and music." The playlist changes nightly based on whatever the team and Elliot are into at any given moment. You'll hear an eclectic mix of "punk, emo, indie, classic, rock, 80's college rock. Bands such as Zeppelin, Pixies, Prince, Jawbreaker, The Get Up Kids, Passion Pit..."

La Sirena Clandestina

It's no surprise that John Manion's take on the cuisine of Brazil has taken off. It feels comfortable and is a great place to "hang." Come in for a lively mix of Latin inspired music curated by Frank Orrall, leader of Poi Dog Pondering. Orrall will often be found playing live music in the late night hours here as well.

Au Cheval

Probably the most unique aspect of the music at Au Cheval is how it's played: on reel-to-reel tapes. The playlists are created by Scottie McNiece of Uncanned Music and the music is all over the place (from Cass McCombs to De La Soul).The music selection is pretty nostalgic collection and the volume it's played at is crucial to service.

Hot Doug's

"It's about time I was asked about the music. I'm a bit bored with talking about sausage!," jokes owner Doug Sohn, the man behind both the counter taking your order and curating the tunes. The music, he says, is "a reflection of what I like. And, on a personal note, it is a great source of energy for me in what is generally a long hard day working in a restaurant." Focusing on "power pop recorded from about 1974 to 1984, the high school and college years where most music preferences are formed. Having said that, we will play pretty much everything, excluding free-form jazz and jam bands. If it's catchy, I'll play it."

Trenchermen

The music here, curated by the staff, reflects the "different moods and feelings throughout dinner service", stretching into the late night bar crowd. Atmospheric tunes start out the evening (Devotchka, Yo La Tengo), instrumental music as the dining room starts filling up and then into themes (70s punk/pre-punk, uptempo jazz). "Chill" nights get a 60s rarities mix (Rodriguez, Yardbirds). Uncanned Music's Scottie McNiece (popping up again on this map) took feedback from the staff and crafted playlists and hosts Monday night record parties.

Storefront Company

Positioned near music venues Double Door and Subterranean, this Wicker Park eatery is deeply influenced by its artists and musicians. You'll hear a wild mix of contemporary and classic music. From White Lies to New Order, Chromeo to the Cure, Grimes to Leonard Cohen, the playlist is a collaboration between the partners and the chef. Operating Partner/Marketing Director Claudia Gassel and Partner Steve Harris are also owners of Debonair Social Club, giving more heft to the restaurants musical roots.Sample Playlist:White Lies: Bigger Than Us, New Order: Thieves Like Us, David Bowie: Fashion, Yaz: Bad Connection, Joy Division: She's Lost Control, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, The Knife: Deep Cuts and The Cure: Fascination Street

Kuma's Corner

Heavy Metal and burgers come together to form an unholy union here at Kuma's Corner. Be prepared for blaring metal turned up "to 11" here. The restaurant hosts album listening parties every now and then as well. Look for burgers named after the known and the unknown metal gods, like "Lair of the Minotaur" next to "Mastodon" next to "Slayer." The streets will flow with the blood of the non-believers, indeed.

Longman & Eagle

Longman & Eagle owner Peter Toalson curates the music here with some help from the more musically "astute" staffers. Toalson, owner of music mecca the Empty Bottle, comes with a deep pedigree in knowing music that will fit the Logan Square restaurant, for sure. Featuring artists as varied as Black Flag, Cheveu, Colette Magny, Furry Lewis, Hank Thompson, J.Dilla, Joe McPhee, Irma Thomas, Lee Fields, Mack Allen, Meade Lux Lewis, Motorhead and The Swan Silvertones, the music program is a "critical component of the overall experience."

Bub City

This new "Urban Cowboy" style joint is probably the antithesis of Big Star. Owing more to the high hair, sparkly guitar country scene (at least in the decor), folks get their drink and eat on while a solid mix of country's best and brightest from across the ages plays (there's often live music as well). And if that's not your thing, you can still marvel at the giant beer can flag of America hanging over the bar. Yee-Haw!

BellyQ

Bill Kim wants the music at bellyQ to be the same as the food: unexpected, like a "punch in the mouth." Kim cites Earth, Wind and Fire (a favorite of Kim's wife), his love of salsa (Willie Colon, Eddie Santiago or Hector Lavoe), newer artists like Anthony Hamilton or some reggae (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh) as making the rounds on the restaurant's speakers.

Nellcôte

Nellcôte may be on here more for its inspiration and for the musicians who have hung out here than for the actual music it plays. The entire restaurant is built to resemble and in honor of the legendary French mansion that the Rolling Stones recorded the bulk of their classic 1972 album "Exile on Main Street." The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, the Fray and Edward Sharpe (of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), Florence & the Machine, Gary Clark Jr., and Lollapalooza founder / Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell have all stopped by at one point or another.

Mercadito

Matching the social, high-energy environment, the music at Mercadito emphasizes the guests desire to have a good time with great food. New Wave/Alternative icons New Order, Tears for Fears and the Killers get regular spins courtesy of the restaurant's general manager.

Ada Street

Probably the most unique aspect of Ada St.'s music is that the guests help pick the selections, all of which are on vinyl. Chef Zoe Schor says, "It's like a grown-up juke box, only you get to play an entire album. It's special for the guest who gets to set the tone for the entire restaurant for 40 minutes."The vinyl collection spans from old standards, jazz and blues to country and bluegrass to contemporary rock. "Each artist brings something special when their album is being played. Sad and soulful Tracy Chapman makes for an entirely different meal than loud and rollicking Bruce Springsteen," Schor says.

Related Maps

Homestead on the Roof

Fans of Chris Curren know his passion for music. At the late, great Blue 13, Curren and staff would throw "Rock 'n Roll Dinners." Now that the Executive Chef is at Homestead, he's bringing his love for music with him. "...we wanted that specific take on farm-to-table to go into our mix of music which is a lot of folk-y and rock songs that are not 'in your face.' Music dictates feeling. We want everyone to feel comfortable with the music we're playing," Curren says."I put the playlist together by myself. I'm constantly adding songs and taking songs out of our playlist to fit the changing mood and seasonality of the restaurant."Here's a sampling of the folk and rock artists heard at Homestead:Mumford & SonsManchester OrchestraThe LumineersThe New AmsterdamsAlabama ShakesPhillip PhillipsWe Are AugustinesThe Lone BellowThe NationalWe Were Promised JetpacksThe Civil WarsBrand NewMatt & KimJack White

Related Maps