Rooftop dining a Chicago summer treat

Dining alfresco is an annual, albeit brief, indulgence in the summertime and despite the number of sidewalk cafes, there aren't as many rooftops serving dinner, but the Hungry Hound has found at least five worth the trip.

August 2, 2013 8:45:13 PM PDT
Don't let the biker bar motif scare you away. The food options at The Twisted Spoke in West Town have always been solid and the rooftop deck is a pleasant respite from the busy corner below. One of the city's better beer and bourbon lists certainly helps.

In Lincoln Square, Gene's Sausage Shop and Deli grills up much of what it sells in its massive store. Their rooftop, open for lunch and dinner from Thursday through Sunday, has mostly communal picnic tables, and their kitchen does German right.

"Potato pancakes, sauerkraut, five different salads - cold salads - we also do pretzel sandwiches on the rooftop as well," said Yolanda Luszcz, co-owner of Gene's Sausage Shop & Deli.

In Ravenswood, the Fountainhead has a new chef, and a beautiful new rooftop with an outdoor kitchen, serving deviled eggs and hearty sandwiches. If the weather cooperates, try to snag a table up here.

The view is slightly more impressive back downtown on East Randolph, where Tavern at the Park has a dramatic rooftop open for dinner only, facing Millennium Park. No matter what you order, it's bound to taste better when you're facing one of the nation's most beautiful parks.

And finally, in Ukrainian Village, Homestead is hidden away above a Roots Pizza shop on Chicago Avenue. It's literally farm-to-table, considering their massive garden.

"I think seeing that we're taking things right out of where you're eating dinner and putting them on the plate, that translation goes a long way," said Chris Curren, the Chef at Homestead.

Curren's food is ambitious - think squid ink corzetti pasta coins with grilled octopus - but eating it up on the roof, with the city noise at bay, makes it less stressful.

"We've got buildings on either side that go up, and you almost feel like you've left the city for a little bit," he said. "A lot of the noise is gone because we are up from the street, and blocked in like that so I think that does give us a definite advantage."

Twisted Spoke
501 N. Ogden Ave.
(312) 666-1500

Gene's Sausage Shop & Deli
4750 N. Lincoln Ave.
(773) 728-7243

1968-70 W. Montrose Ave.
(773) 697-8204

Tavern at the Park
130 E. Randolph St.
(312) 552-0070

1924 W. Chicago Ave.
(773) 904-1145