Hyde Park fixture Medici popular with students and the Obama family

January 12, 2013 9:23:34 PM PST
Despite the numerous reports about where the First Family likes to eat when they're back in Chicago, there is one restaurant in Hyde Park that's always made the Obamas feel right at home.

Medici has been a popular hangout for students and professors at the University of Chicago for 50 years.

If only the walls could talk. The spacious, two-story dining room has played host to Nobel Prize winners and presidents.

Medici has been a fixture in Hyde Park for years and shows no signs of slowing down.

"We're kind of an eclectic mix of a lot of different things. We're a bakery, a deli, kind of the neighborhood hang-out," Medici's Kirsten Esterly said.

Every day at Medici begins with bread.

The bakery sits next door to the restaurant and it houses dozens of freshly-baked breads, muffins and pastries.

They double as fixtures on the restaurant's menu, especially in the sandwich department. For example, toasted cranberry walnut bread is the basis for a turkey-cranberry sandwich featuring creamy brie.

Bacon-bleu cheese burgers are also a big deal and so is the pan pizza.

The most popular is the "garbage" version which comes with pretty much everything: sausage, peppers, onions, ham and mozzarella, topped off with large pepperoni slices.

It's not all college-level food though. Daily specials might feature grilled fish, mounded with seasonal vegetables and mashed potatoes.

One thing that's never changed is a fascination with milkshakes.

But the First Family connection isn't touted or bragged about here, like some other places in Hyde Park.

Now being able to say the leader of the free world and his family have been customers doesn't hurt business but Medici has been successful long before there was a President Obama.

With pan pizza like this, they're going to be successful for years to come.