Conventions - April 2002

Chicago Activities
By Bill Paris

Chicago is our kind of town. It has lots of restaurants and attractions to indulge in when not on the show floor. We here at Auto Laundry News have compiled a crème de la crème entertainment guide for The Windy City:


Second City
Any fan of comedy knows where the legends got their start - at the Second City Theater in Chicago. "Saturday Night Live" alumni Bill Murray, John Belushi and Dan Akroyd as well as "SCTV" veterans John Candy, Eugene Levy and Harold Ramis have all graced this stage. Their 88th Revue (unnamed as of press time) on the Main Stage plays at 8:30 PM Tuesday through Thursday, and 8 and 11PM on Friday and Saturday. Call toll free at (877) 778-04707, or check out secondci for more details.

Chicago (at Pheasant Run Dinner Theatre)
The musical, set in the vaudevillian era of show business, follows the
corrupted lives of some entertainers in Chicago. Artistic director Diana Martinez ensures a high level of competence for the Broadway musicals regularly revived in this air-conditioned theater, situated in a sprawling resort complex in tourist-frequented St. Charles. The sight lines and acoustics are excellent and the food isn't bad. Sunday at 12:30 PM and 5:45 PM, Friday at 7 PM, and Saturday at 4 PM and 8:30 PM. 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles, (630) 584-6342.

House of Blues
Outsider Art. Down-home Southern cooking. An eclectic offering of live music. You get it all at the House of Blues! You might just see the Blues Brothers there at the bar! 329 N. Dearborn, call (312) 923-2000 or (312) 559-1212.

Cats (Shubert Theatre)
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical revival is playing at this vintage theater (built in 1906), which is a showplace from an earlier era that still sets the standards for today. The lobby is small, but the auditorium, with its excellent sight lines and fair acoustics, is an ornate palace of the arts, just as the Shubert brothers intended it to be almost a century ago. Sunday at 2 PM, Tuesday at 7:30 PM, Wednesday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM, Thursday at 7:30 PM, Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM. 22 W. Monroe Street, (312) 977-1700 or (312) 559-1212.

Blue Man Group
If you missed them the last ICA show in Las Vegas, do not miss them in Chicago. They are bald, blue, and hilarious! If you like music, love to laugh, and want to be visually astounded, see them at the Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted Street. Sunday 3 PM and 6 PM, Wednesday 8 PM, Thursday 8 PM, Friday 7 PM and 10 PM, and Saturday 4 PM, 7 PM, and 10 PM. For tickets, call (773) 348-4000, or visit them on the web at

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (United Center)
Their "Tour of America" showcases the musical talents of this newly-reunited quartet. Thursday, April 25th at 8 PM. Price: $40.50 to $86. Limited seating at $226.

1901 W. Madison Street, (312) 455-4500 or (312) 559-1212.

Donny Osmond (Chicago Theatre)
Donny plays the 3,500-seat Chicago Theatre, which began life as a Balaban and Katz movie temple. After years of neglect, it was restored to its former glory as a sumptuous performance palace and it's now a vital and pioneering part of the North Loop renaissance. Acoustics vary greatly with the production's miking, but seats are comfortable, if often distant from the huge stage. Saturday, April 27th at 8 PM.175 N. State Street, (312) 902-1500 or (312) 559-1212.

Baseball is in full swing at Wrigley Field, with home games throughout the Car Care World Expo 2002. Watch the Cubs play the San Francisco Giants at 7:05 PM Tuesday and Wednesday, and 1:20 PM on Thursday. On Friday catch the Cubs against the Los Angeles Dodgers at 2:20 PM, and at 1:20 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Call (773) 404-CUBS, or click on If you're more of an American League baseball fan, you're out of luck - the White Sox are on the road during the show.

Mia Francesca
It has inspired many sequels, but partisans pronounce the Wrigleyville original "still the best of the group" for "fabulous", "innovative" Northern Italian fare that's even more "terrific after the terrifically long wait" ("wish they took reservations"); it "sets the standard" as a "great date place" that "can't be beat for the price." 3311 N. Clark St. (School St.), (773) 281-3310.

Via Carducci
At this Italian "storefront" in Lincoln Park, "the single room is so crowded that lines form" daily for "abundant portions of sumptuous food"; the menu "overflows with tempting options" and the owners "make you feel right at home" - this is "what a neighborhood restaurant should be." 1419 W. Fullerton Ave. (Southport Ave.), (773) 665-1981.

Pizzeria Uno
Founder Ike Sewell, now deceased, introduced Chicago to deep-dish pizza when he opened Pizzeria Uno in 1943, and it has become the city's signature dish. Pizzeria Due opened a short hop away (at 619 N. Wabash) in 1955 and offers the same menu in a larger space. Many tourists are surprised when they hear their pizza will take a minimum of 45 minutes to prepare, though a sign outside warns them of this fact. An "Express Lunch" is available between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. The room's not much, a total of 18 small tables and five booths, plus an eight-seat bar. (Pizzeria Due is more lavish, and can handle parties of 30-40 people.) The pizza, not the atmosphere, brings 'em in. 29 E. Ohio St., (312) 321-1000.

Shula's Steak House
Shula's Steak House, the national chain from the celebrated NFL coach turned restaurateur Don Shula, arrives inside the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The menu boasts the "biggest and the best" steaks including a signature 48-ounce porterhouse. With locations in Florida, Michigan and Maryland, the restaurant's theme honors the 1972 Miami Dolphins' 17-0 perfect season. The décor includes NFL sports memorabilia and the menus are hand-painted on NFL footballs. 301 E. North Water St., (312) 670-0788.

Gene & Georgetti
Founders Gene Michelotti and Alfredo Frederighi opened what manager Tony Durpetti says was Chicago's first steak house in June 1941, a full 40 years prior to this neighborhood's being named "River North." It endures as something of a throwback to a meatier, more macho era. Autographed pictures of Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope hang on the wall of the first-floor bar/dining room. Recent visitors include auto magnate Lee Iacocca, comedian Jackie Mason, 56 members of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, the mayor of Milan, Italy, and the Italian consul general. They all experienced the creations of chef Mario Navarro, who has been cooking at G & G since 1975. Dress is mainly business, or "nice casual." 500 N. Franklin St., (312) 527-3718.

Mr. Biscuit
A down-home, Southern breakfast joint, Mr. Biscuit is modest in appearance and inexpensive in price. With just seven tables, the restaurant isn't prepared for a big rush, which is just fine for area customers who would like to keep this secret place to themselves. While you are eating, you can have your car washed next door at Mr. Biscuit's hand car wash. 6765 S. King Drive.

Museum of Science and Industry
The museum has fascinated children and adults for generations with such exhibits as the Race Car Gallery, which displays cars that raced at the Indy 500 and shows video highlights of past race performances. Other popular attractions include a U-505 German submarine from World War II and the Omnimax Theatre, with its curved, five-story screen and booming sound system. 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, (773) 684-1414.

Field Museum
The Field's mission is to examine and explain the world's living environment. Galleries are designed to engage kids and adults with colorful displays featuring some of the world's most notable scientific collections. Visit "Chocolate -The Exhibition," an indulgent interactive exhibit exploring the history, culture, botany and ecology of chocolate. Displays engage all of the senses and visitors can take home a sweet treat. 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, (312) 922-9410.

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