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RPM Italian

On The Blackboard: May 11

By Lauren Mandel

With the bevy of incredible deals and specials that are happening around Chicago these days, it can be hard just to zero in on the best spot to head to for that company happy hour. And what about Mother’s Day brunch? And is it even possible to find an affordable but elevated lunch anywhere in the city? Yes, yes it is. Here are seven of our top picks for dining and drinking experiences available right now.


Arbella

Prix fixe dinner at Arbella
The term “prix fixe” may be French for “this might hurt a little” but not so at this River North lounge. After ordering one of their creative cocktails, choose their $26 prix-fixe dinner, which includes a snack, a starter, and a main plate. The only problem you might face? Choosing just three of Arbella’s many eclectic dishes.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

Mother’s Day brunch at Bottlefork
When you’re thinking of ways to pamper your mom this Mother’s Day, we would hope you’re including brunch. But rather than obsessing over your decision of where to dine, let us make it easy for you: Bottlefork is offering complimentary Mom-osas to all the fabulous moms out there. Then, when she pairs those bubbles with a delicious brunch dish, like the cast iron French toast or pastrami hash, you can bask in the certainty that you’re her favorite child.
Neighborhood: River North MAP


Chop Shop

Chop Shop happy hour
If you’re looking to venture away from the downtown area for happy hour, Chop Shop is the ideal choice. Nestled in a busy area of Wicker Park, Chop Shop offers what will quickly become your favorite summer drink: slushies. At just $5 each from 3 to 5 p.m. every Friday, you can feel free to order as many of them as you can handle. And with a different happy hour special happening every weekday, you have plenty of delicious options.
Neighborhood: Wicker Park MAP

Dolce Italian lunch special
Dolce Italian is an upscale hotel restaurant serving upscale hotel dishes, so you probably wouldn’t expect this spot to offer one of the city’s best lunch specials. But for just $10, you can choose from a limited yet delicious menu that includes a pizza, salad, or pasta, plus a glass of wine or a beer. Sure, you might have to head back to work after that beer or wine, but for just $10, you’ll manage.
Neighborhood: River North MAP


Bar Lupo

Bar Lupo hoagie lunch
During the workweek, finding that elusive combination of fast and delicious in a lunch can sometimes seem all but impossible. Enter Bar Lupo’s hoagie time lunch special. This trendy Italian spot switches gears for lunch, offering different types of classic hoagies for less than $10. The Butcher’s Hoagie offers all the classic Italian meats you know and love, while the Meatball Hoagie is piled high with meatballs, ricotta, and giardiniera. You’ll probably want to go back again and again to ensure you can try all the different varieties.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

RPM Italian aperitivo hour
Not only is it a challenge to secure a reservation at RPM Italian, to nudge it to the top of the “never gonna happen” list, this Lettuce Entertain You hotspot tends to be a bit pricey for dinner. But, thankfully, the restaurant offers what Italians know as aperitivo hour, basically the equivalent of the American happy hour. During the week from 4 to 6 p.m., you can order $8 spritzes, $7 glasses of wines, and a variety of ever-changing small plates. It’s the ideal way to enjoy the allure of RPM Italian without paying too dear a price.
Neighborhood: River North MAP


SteakBar

SteakBar brunch buffet
Buffets tend to get a bad rep in the culinary world—they’re meant to feed a crowd, which means you have to expect quality might be sacrificed in the name of quantity. But SteakBar in Old Town is here to change your bad attitude. Their three-floor brunch buffet includes classics like mini waffles and bacon, plus not-so-traditional brunch dishes, like boozy gelato and mac-and-cheese.
Neighborhood: Old Town MAP

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