Willard Says...

November 29, 2018

The Best of Chicago for 2018

By Jonathan Zimmerman

It is officially the season of giving and Willard Jones Real Estate is here to help.  To contribute to your holiday fun, we hereby present the first annual (possibly) Willard Jones Real Estate Best of Chicago Awards for 2018.  Apologies in advance to anyone we may have missed or offended.  The only ground rule is that the winner must do business in the City of Chicago.  Without further ado, away we go.


Best Deep-Dish Pizza: Lou Malnati’s (multiple locations); runner-up: Pequod’s (2207 N Clybourn)

Best Thin Crust Pizza: Martino’s (3431 W Peterson); runner-up: Pete’s Pizza (3737 N Western)

Best Hot Dog: Superdawg Drive-In (6363 N Milwaukee); runner­­-up: Downtown Dogs (804 N Rush)

Best Italian Beef: Mr. Beef (666 N Orleans); runner-up: Al’s Beef (1079 W Taylor)

Best Cheeseburger: Twisted Spoke (501 N Ogden); runner-up: Au Cheval (800 W Randolph)

Best Corned Beef Sandwich: Manny’s (1141 S Jefferson); runner-up: Eleven City Diner (1112 S Wabash)

Best Ice Cream: Chocolate Shoppe (5337 W Devon); runner-up: Margie’s Candies (1960 N Western)

Best Gyro: Nick’s Drive-In (7216 N Harlem); runner-up: Hub’s (5540 N Lincoln)

Best Ribs: Gale Street Inn (4914 N Milwaukee); runner-up: Twin Anchors (1655 N Sedgwick)

Best Steak: Prime & Provisions (222 N LaSalle); runner-up: Chicago Chop House (60 W Ontario)



Best Italian Restaurant: Zia’s Trattoria (6699 N Northwest Hwy); runner-up: Tufano’s (1073 W Vernon Park)

Best Mexican Restaurant: El Cid (2645 N Kedzie), runner-up: Cafe El Tapatio (3400 N Ashland)

Best Mediterranean Restaurant: Naf Naf Grill (multiple locations); runner-up: Old Jerusalem (1411 N Wells)

Best Asian Restaurant: Sunda (110 W Illinois); runner-up: Joy Yee (2139 S China Place)

Best Deli: Tony’s Italian Deli & Subs (6708 N Northwest Hwy); runner-up: Fumare Meats (131 N Clinton)

Most Romantic Restaurant: Tango Sur (3763 N Southport); runner-up: Geja’s Café (340 W Armitage)

Best Brunch: Gather (4539 N Lincoln); runner-up: Lula Café (2537 N Kedzie)

Best Food Hall: French Market (131 N Clinton); runner-up: Revival Food Hall (125 S Clark)



Best Dive Bar: Old Town Ale House (219 W North); runner-up: Burke’s Web Pub (2026 W Webster)

Best Sports Bar: State (935 W Webster); runner-up: Public House (400 N State)

Best Beer Garden: Sheffield’s (3258 N Sheffield); runner-up: Chief O’Neill’s (3471 N Elston)

Best Rooftop Bar: Cindy’s (12 S Michigan); runner-up: The J. Parker (1816 N Clark)

Best Local Beer: Revolution Brewing (3340 N Kedzie); runner-up: Half Acre (2050 W Balmoral)



Best Neighborhood: Old Town; runner-up: Lincoln Park

Most Interesting Street: Lincoln Avenue; runner-up: Milwaukee Avenue

Best L Line: Brown Line; runner-up: Blue Line

Best L Station: Washington – Wabash; runner-up: Cermak – McCormick Place

Best Movie Theater: The Music Box (3733 N Southport); runner-up: Davis (4614 N Lincoln)

Best Live Music Venue: The Elbo Room (2871 N Lincoln); runner-up: Lincoln Hall (2424 N Lincoln)

Best Live Theater: Second City (1616 N Wells); runner-up: Windy City Playhouse (3014 W Irving Park)

Best Barber Shop: Civic Opera Salon (20 N Wacker); runner-up: none

Best Yoga Studio: The Space Between (222 W Hubbard); runner-up: none

Best Park: Lincoln Park; runner-up: Millennium Park

Best Hotel: Alise (former Hotel Burnham – 1 W Washington); runner-up: Four Seasons (120 E Delaware)

Best Touristy Thing to Do: Architectural Boat Tour; runner-up: visit the Museum Campus

Best Sports Venue: United Center; runner-up: Guaranteed Rate Field

Best College Sports Program: Loyola Men’s Basketball; runner-up: Northwestern Football



Best Office Building Lobby: Franklin Center (227 W Monroe); runner-up: Santa Fe Building (224 S Michigan)

Best Office Building Exterior: 77 West Wacker; runner-up: Wrigley Building (400-410 N Michigan)

Best Classic Architecture: The Rookery (209 S LaSalle); runner-up: Monadnock Building (53 W Jackson)

Best Roof Top Deck: Civic Opera Building (20 N Wacker); runner-up: One Prudential Plaza (130 E Randolph)

Most Iconic Building: Willis Tower (233 S Wacker); runner-up: Merchandise Mart

Most Exciting New Development: The 78; runner-up: Lincoln Yards

Best Redevelopment: Old Post Office; runner-up; Tribune Tower

Best Tenant Rep Agency: CBIZ Gibraltar; runner-up: Colliers

Best Tenant Rep Broker: Jim Raisher (Corporate Real Estate Solutions); Tony Karmin (Colliers)

Best Landlord Rep Agency: Cushman & Wakefield; runner-up: Telos Group

Best Landlord Rep Broker: Dan Shannon (Aspire Properties); Aaron Zaretsky (Urban Innovations)

Best Co-Working Space: 1871 (Merchandise Mart); runner-up: Tech Nexus (20 N Wacker)

Now, bring on the debate!  Let us know who we excluded and how crazy we are for a certain selection.  Happy Holidays!