Take the Purple Line to Foster for a taste of Hecky's secret sauce.
When you exit the Foster L stop, the first thing you'll notice is a Tibetan gift shop and New Thought Community Center…and not much else. But head east for several blocks to the Northwestern University campus and find galleries and concert halls, or head a few blocks southeast to check out ethnic restaurants and a popular place to grab a few beers or some coffee. So put on your walking shoes (don't forget to bring a hearty appetite) and get ready to experience the best of the best around the Foster L.
Best of the nightlife
The after-work crowd drops in daily to unwind, but after a few hours, NU students file in and usually hold reign into the wee hours of the morning. The interior features wood floors, red hues and three large screen TVs, as well as a jukebox and seating for about 80. This popular spot can be whatever you want it to be: a lounge, a grill/restaurant or a sports bar.
Good for groups
Call ahead to find out if "the band" is in the house, as this guitar–carrying duo is just as entertaining as a full-fledged band. While they jam in the background, patrons at this festive Mexican spot order up everything from chimichangas and burritos to a variety of quesadillas (five to choose from) and tacos. Las Palmas serves five different enchiladas smothered in everything from mole and red sauce to green sauce. Steak, chicken and combination fajitas are offered, as well as traditional plates with rice and beans. Soups like chicken and tortilla are served super-hot along with appetizers like chicken fingers and shrimp cocktail. Groups and couples favor the nachos supreme (to share) before the main dish arrives. Las Palmas' full bar includes Mexican beers and a wide variety of liquors and domestic and imported beers. The restaurant seats around 150, comfortably.
Evanston Chicken Shack
This is a completely stripped-down joint. The few tables and chairs are so uncomfortable that you'd think that they were designed not to be dined at. The food is total comfort, though: hot, fast and greasy. Expect fried chicken (served with fries, bread and coleslaw), wings, catfish nuggets, fried okra, perch and hotlinks. If you're in the mood for liver, gizzards or giblets, you can get that here, too. It's awfully cheap; you can get a quarter light chicken with fries, slaw and bread for less than $5.
Where to chill
Pick-Staiger Concert Hall
Music lovers arrive in droves, some solo, others in pairs, to enjoy classical, jazz, choral, chamber and opera music in this Northwestern University campus facility. The tunes are performed by a variety of guest artists, hailing from across the country and from Northwestern itself, via its School of Music. Pick-Staiger is also home to professional performance organizations such as Chicago Chamber Musicians, Symphony II, Symphony of the Shores, Chicago String Ensemble and Performing Arts Chicago.
Like all legendary restaurants, Hecky's has a secret. Psst: "It's the sauce." The infamously tasty barbecue sauce used by this suburban hot spot comes from an old New Orleans recipe handed down from owner Hecky Powell's Creole grandmother. Since 1983 Hecky's has dished up some of the Chicago area's best ribs and barbecue. Full- and half-slabs of regular and baby back ribs, rib tips (including a "snack pak" size), and barbecued and fried chicken dominate the menu, which also includes sandwiches. As appropriate for any barbecue, don’t pass up tasty sides like cole slaw, red beans and rice, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, green, cornbread and corn on the cob. Peach cobbler provides the sweetest finish, assuming you have room.
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