Does walking more than 10 steps in the cold seem impossible? Then don't. These restaurants, located less than a stone's throw from the nearest L stop, will let you trade freezing for feasting.
Get brunch off the Davis Purple Line's Le Peep
This restaurant proudly proclaims, "The next best thing to breakfast in bed is breakfast at Le Peep." And how true it is, considering the Evanston location is just a few steps from the Purple Line, preserving that early morning just-go-out-of-bed warmth. And do go hot with a steaming serving of biscuits and gravy or Belgian waffles. For a decadent treat, sample the Gooey Buns, an English muffin broiled with cinnamon, brown sugar, toasted almonds and cream cheese.
Have a romantic date off the Berwyn Red Line's Francesca's Bryn Mawr
You don't have to make the long haul from the Belmont L to enjoy the cuisine of Rome and beyond. Insert a little Tuscany into your evening by walking just east of the Bryn Mawr L. There you'll find everything that has made hour-plus waits at the Clark location an unquestioned norm: Italian favorites like carpaccio tre colore and a four-cheese pizza that combines the traditional mozzarella with Mascarpone, Blue and Swiss. Not toasty enough? Don't miss the extensive Grappa offering.
Check out a hip spot off the Damen Blue Line's del Toro
Heat things up Spanish-style at del Toro, a newish addition to Wicker Park that shows no signs of losing its buzz...and is located just a quick block south of the Damen L stop. Get a hefty glass of Rioja and dive into Andrew Zimmerman's menu of cold and hot small plates, which run from sardine and avocado bruschetta to much-hyped squid that come stuffed with chorizo and dusted with squid ink.
Grab lunch off the Grand Red Line's Weber Grill Restaurant
Outdoor grilling is nice, but indoor can be even better. Especially when the grill is heating up right across the street from the Grand L stop. The Weber grill is a classic, and the food isn't far behind. With food and atmosphere that ranks well above the typical corporate chain, the Weber Grill is a great place to grab a quick bite while shopping, meet for after-work drinks at the restaurant's Smokey Joe's Bar, or sate your need for filet mignon, prime rib or a Black Angus burger.
Go Pan-Asian off the Diversey Brown Line's Satay
So close it seems an adjunct of the Brown Line, Satay sits just a few feet from the Diversey stop. While undoubtedly cozy, chartreuse walls, magenta neons and a New Age beat flow through the Pan-Asian eatery. A solid choice for a group (or duo) unable to settle on a choice of eats, Satay presents the expected Japanese and Chinese offerings, with Thai, Malaysian and Caribbean selections rounding out the menu: You'll find maki, Jamaican jerk chicken with plantains, roasted duck in coconut red curry and chicken salad teeming with spices, fresh mint and Thai basil.
Get after-work eats off the Merchandise Mart Brown Line's Kinzie Chophouse
If you take the Brown Line home from work, this is the place to stop for an after-work bite. Located just a block north of the Merchandise Mart, feel free to pass up the great restaurant at "Chicago's Neighborhood Steakhouse" and head to the back bar. From 3-6 p.m. on weekdays, the $2.95 bar menu is all but unbeatable. Nosh on a quarter-pounder cheddar burger with steak fries, crispy calamari or a Caesar salad while taking a load off. Its menu of specialty drinks is sure to warm even more.
Sate your sushi craving off the Southport Brown Line's Rise
You won't have to trek very far to get your sushi fix, thanks to Rise's steps-from-the-L locations. With a look that leans toward the Los Angeles side of things, this sleek spot comes bedecked in cool blues and grays. You'll find the expected spicy tuna maki as well as dressed up selections like the Fire Roll, maki with salmon, shiso and jalapeno wrapped in melted provolone. To reduce your time in the cold a bit more, Rise is conveniently located next to a handful of Southport's best bars, making for a night that's fun, not frigid.