Want to eat like Oprah? (And we all know she loves to eat.) Here are some of Oprah's favorite Chicago restaurants, "favorite" being defined as a restaurant Oprah has given a "shout out" to either on her show or in the press.
Saying Table Fifty-Two is an Oprah fave is a no-brainer -- chef and co-owner Art Smith was previously Oprah's personal chef, so obviously she's a big fan of his cooking. That cachet, along with Smith's deft handling of Southern cuisine and the mere 60-odd seats, means you'll have to scratch and claw for a reservation here.
- Cuisine: American Southern
- Address: 52 W. Elm St., Chicago
- Phone: 312-573-4000
- Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, lunch 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., dinner 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.; Sunday, brunch 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., dinner 4:00 - 8:30 p.m.; closed Mondays
In an interview with the local NBC affiliate, Oprah said that Ralph Lauren's venture into the dining business "is one of my favorite restaurants. It looks just like Ralph Lauren's house inside — it's gorgeous. You know, I don't get out much, but I've even braved cold Chicago winter nights to get there." Of course most of us proletariats have not been inside Ralph Lauren's house, so we'll just have to take her word for it.
- Cuisine: Steakhouse
- Address: 115 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago
- Phone: 312-475-1100
- Hours: Monday - Thursday 11:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.; Friday - Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
I have a feeling that Oprah's "favorite things" at this 4 star fine dining restaurant are well-known pastry chef Gale Gand's expertly prepared desserts.
- Cuisine: American Contemporary
- Address: 676 N. St. Clair St., Chicago
- Phone: 312-202-0001
- Hours: Open for dinner Monday - Thursday, 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Friday, Saturday, 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.; closed Sundays
Alinea chef/owner Grant Achatz was a guest on Oprah's show, talking about his battle with cancer that almost cost him a big portion of his tongue and jaw -- which would have been devastating to the man who's been called one of the most revolutionary chefs in the country.
- Cuisine: Contemporary
- Address: 1723 N. Halsted, Chicago
- Phone: 312-867-0110
- Hours: Open for dinner Wednesday - Friday, 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., Saturday - Sunday, 5:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.; Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
Oprah's best friend Gayle King went on a search for "America's Top 20 Burgers" and placed Poag Mahone's 9-ounce hamburger at number 18. I would liked to have seen Oprah's home base place a little higher on the list, but I'll take what I can get.
- Cuisine: Burgers/Bar Food
- Address: 333 S. Wells St., Chicago
- Phone: 312-566-9100
- Hours: Open Monday - Friday, 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.; closed weekends
Just west of Oprah's huge duplex condo in Water Tower Place, the talk show queen has been known to pop into this trendy sushi spot from time to time, often bringing along a celebrity who is in town to tape her show.
- Cuisine: Contemporary Japanese/Sushi
- Address: 600 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago
- Phone: 312-822-9600
- Hours: Lunch Monday - Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.; Dinner Monday - Thursday 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m., Friday - Saturday 5:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m., Sunday 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.; late night lounge
OK, I'm kind of cheating here because I don't know if Oprah likes Wildfire or not -- I only know she's fond of the location. The building housed Oprah's own foray into the restaurant business in the 80s, The Eccentric, which Oprah fans flocked to thinking it would be stocked with dishes from Oprah's other celebrity personal chef, Rosie Daley
. It wasn't, and the restaurant eventually closed and became Wildfire, a good but pretty generic steakhouse.
- Cuisine: Steaks/American
- Address: 159 W. Erie St., Chicago
- Phone: 312-787-9000
- Hours: Open for dinner nightly: Monday - Thursday, 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.; Friday, 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.; Saturday, 4:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.; Sunday, 4:00 - 9:00 p.m.