Every neighborhood must have its go-to Chinese joint. For over 30 years, Mark's Chop Suey has served as Boystown's standby. Centered between Minibar and Sidetrack, Mark's promises a resort from a long day's work and fresh ingredients delivered daily.
The restaurant appears at first to be a take-out spot, but the space equally suits the dine-in crowd. Don't be shy. Seat yourself (snag the only streetside table, if it's available). A sole server holds down the entire fort. Join your party in counting the number of passersby stumbling the sidewalk while text messaging on their cell phones, or wave to friends strolling by.
Just about every stereotypical Boystown resident walks in, from the gym rat to the bear. However, the restaurant's staple crowd is mostly transplants from other Midwestern states exploring life in the big city.
The easy-going character of this audience jibes well with the minimalism of the room. Jade-colored walls match the bamboo shoots centered on each table along with an arrangement of cacti near the window. Framed Chinese zodiac posters speck one wall. A giant fan dots another, along with an image portraying a Chinese riverside community where women hang laundry outside modestly built straw homes.
Like other Chinese restaurants, Mark's piles it on; food spills off the plate with each stab of the fork. Those who stick with safe choices like sweet and sour chicken or the General Tso's chicken (the restaurant's No. 1 seller) will find solace in the hong sue chicken: breaded chicken, mushrooms, bok choy, water chestnuts and snow pea pods swimming in a brown sauce, $7.75. Mark's is BYO and delivery is available as far south as Division Street and as far west as California Avenue.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez