The Wife and I are heading to Chicago tomorrow, and will be taking in the Cubs/Red Sox game on Friday from the right field bleachers (lower corner, closest to the well/foul line). We’ll be at a Wrigleyville bar before the game (which is at 1:20), and then after the game. Any suggestions? If you’re going to be free and in the area before or after, name a (good) place, and we’ll be there. Unrelatedly, if anyone has a recommendation for a good, casual (i.e., not a fancy sit-down place) restaurant (preferably a quirky local place) in the River North area or in the Loop, we’d love to hear it.

  • Yesterday, top Cubs prospect Anthony Rizzo tried to make a play in foul territory for the Iowa Cubs, slid into a fence near the dugout while chasing a pop up, and was immediately pulled from the game. We all tensed. Reports from fans at the game trickled out, which ranged from abject terror to cautious optimism. Thankfully, the Cubs say Rizzo bruised his knee, and is day-to-day. No injury is good news, but, all things considered, this is a relief. Rizzo will see an orthopedist today just to fully check things out, but, ultimately, the Cubs are apparently confident that the injury isn’t serious.
  • Speaking of Rizzo, Baseball America offers up some glowing thoughts on how absurdly good he’s been at the plate this year.
  • Interim hitting coach James Rowson on his toughest task, being added to the big club midseason: “I feel like it’s just building relationships. While I’m here, I’m just going to start learning these guys, talking to them, getting to know them and building relationship. That’s the way it usually works. The stronger relationship you build, the better off it works.” He describes his approach to teaching players as very individualistic – different strokes for different folks, if you will. (I totally just thought of that.)
  • Alfonso Soriano says he won’t participate in the Home Run Derby, even if he makes the All-Star Game. I know there’s a fair bit of silliness there, but, I can’t lie, I would have loved to see him in the Derby. He says he wants to protect his knees, though, which I can appreciate.
  • Dave Kaplan offers five bright spots in this otherwise gloomy Cubs season.
  • Geovany Soto could be back with the big club, following his rehab assignment at AAA Iowa, after this weekend.
  • MLBullets at BCB discuss, among other things, the return of Brian Roberts (OMG BRIAN ROBERTS!), which is a great story.
  • gblan014

    If you’re looking for a place for lunch, Mr. Beef (although it’s a well known place and you might’ve been already) is pretty cool. Take the Brown to Chicago Station, then west on Chicago for about 1 block, then south on N. Orleans for about 2 blocks. In a pinch, you could have dinner there but I’d stick to lunch. It’s very Chicago-y and inexpensive.

  • Norm

    You like ribs? Hit Twin Anchors. An old Frank Sinatra hangout…Great food.

    • JB88

      Twin Anchors is great (and one of the few places in the city you can nab an Anchor Steam), but that is not in River North or the Loop, it is in Old Town, which is still pretty close to River North.

      It depends on what you are in the mood for. Chicago is one of, if not the, best food cities in America. Tell us for what you are looking and we can make recommendations.

      As an aside, though, if you are looking for good food and don’t want fancy/pretentious, I really can’t recommend either the loop or River North. Both areas tend to cater to tourists and the food isn’t as top notch as it is in other places in the City.

      • Brett

        The Wife is a vegetarian, and I am not, so we tend to like sandwich places, Mexican places, Indian places, etc. It doesn’t have to be in River North or the Loop (we’re staying in River North, so I was just shooting for convenience), and we’ll actually probably be walking through Old Town anyway at some point. Would Twin Anchors be satisfactory to a vegetarian, too?

        • JB88

          That, I couldn’t answer you. Is your wife a complete non-meat eater or a vegetarian who eats fish? I ask that seriously, because I’d probably have a few different suggestions based on that.

          There is great Indian in the city, but it is pretty far north. If you want a sort of out-of-the-box Mexican place, I’d highly recommend Chilam Balam on Broadway (it is pretty darn close to Wrigley–walk four or five blocks east to Broadway, turn right on Broadway and walk down until just about Wellington. If you watched Top Chef Texas, you’d have seen the chef, a guy named Chui. Anyway, it is cash only, but an absolutely stellar and reasonably priced Mexican place. The kid who owns the place (and I literally mean kid, the chef is 23), is a Rick Bayless protegy (Bayless hosts a show on Mexican cooking on public access and also owns the highly successful Frontera Grill/Topolobampo restaurant in River North and also won Top Chef Masters for you cooking geeks in the audience).

          If you want a place to eat after the Cubs game on Friday, that’s where I’d probably go. It would definitely work for your wife too.

          • Brett

            This is awesome. Thanks, JB (and she’s of the totally-doesn’t-eat-meat variety).

            • Mak

              Brett — a great spot in river north is xoco. It’s skip bayless’ “fast food” spot; amazing Mexican sandwiches (tortas). They also specialize in mexican chocolate and coffee. Line can be intimidating but moves quickly — counter service and seat you right after you order (very organized inside so you don’t have to worry about not getting a seat after you order).

              On the corner of Clark and Illinois I believe (or somewhere very close to that). As far as wrigleyville, I usually hit Luckys on Clark — great sandwiches. I won’t be around Friday though.

              • mak

                Rick Bayless, not Skip Bayless!! (Although they are brothers), would anyone ever go to a skip bayless restaurant?

                • JulioZuleta

                  Are they really brothers?

                  • mak

                    indeed. “The first child of John and Levita Bayless, he was named John Edward Bayless II on his birth certificate, but his father immediately began calling him Skip or Skipper. The name stuck, and Skip Bayless was never called John by his parents. He eventually had his name legally changed to Skip. His brother is the chef, restaurateur and TV personality Rick Bayless.” []

  • NCMoss

    Anybody else forget that Soto existed?

  • HuskerCub

    Best Burger I ever have had was at Hackney’s on printer row. I believe it was stuffed with Chrorizo.

    • MaxM1908

      Hey Hey! I live right around the corner from that Hackney’s! It’s a good place. Ace, if you really want a great burger, though, you should check out Burger Bar near North and Clybourn. Laid-back atmosphere and a killer burger.

      • Brett

        That might be the ticket. Looks like they have a great selection of veggie burgers, too.

        • MaxM1908

          They do. My wife-to-be is also a vegetarian and that is a place that she doesn’t object to. I think she usually gets their veggie burger and enjoys it. If you want to be truly decadent, get the Belly Up burger–a burger topped with pork belly. It will kill you, but you’ll enjoy clogging your arteries in the process.

      • Beer Baron

        I’ll second that – Burger Bar is good stuff. And its right off the red line so easy to get to from River North.

        • Jim L.

          I’ll third that.

  • BD

    Since Brian Roberts is back, when do the “Brian Roberts to the Cubs” trade rumors start back up??

    • djriz

      when we rehire hendry.

  • Ash

    I don’t believe for one second that Soriano doesn’t want to be in the HR derby because of his knees. I’m certain he’s worried that his 1st round line will be 3 K’s and a pop up to the catcher.

    • EQ76


  • Billy

    C’mon now, Sori’s been hot for the past month now. I wish he would participate as a good showing could increase his trade value

  • Packman711

    I always go to Rebel before the game; not too crowded, still pretty close.

    If you want quirky, you want Billy Goat. D4 is a pretty legit restaurant/pub.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Hey Brett, Is there anyway you could write an article giving us your blueprint of what you would like to see the cubs to do with all moves. So say you are Theo and you put on your GM hat and you say what players you would get for International signings upcoming with your $2.9 million dollar budget, then you also say which guys trade (Demp? Garza? Lahair? Soriano? Starlin (highly unlikely)? Dejesus?) and who would you trade them too who? for which package of prospects? Then you get to pick what guys you would try and pick up in the off season, any big name free agents (Grienke, Hamels, Hamilton!?!? ha jk in my dreams)? Then give us your starting 2013 roster? I would be really interested in getting your take on what they should do with respect to specific moves. This would be the ultimate article!! Would be really excited to read what you would want and get a realistic plan from you. Lets be honest this season is lost and me and a lot other fans are mostly looking forward to the international signing period and want to see what guys we get and what we get in return for trades and I want to see that #1 pick in the draft be our next year. So channel your inner Theo and if you could give us your blueprint!! It be sick to see what you would do

    • Jp

      We Already had our chance at Hamilton and we failed so we don’t deserve that one. Plus if we thought Farnsworth was wild on the town Hamilton would make him look like a choir boy. How nice would he have looked the last 4+ years In center for the cubs? I’m down with picking up Hamels next year as well

      • hansman1982

        in the words of Ron Santo

        “oh, geez”

        Drafting Hamilton was a favor to Hamilton’s associates in the Reds organization who were more concerned about him getting sober and staying alive than it was about getting talent.

        • Jp

          Did we or did we not draft Hamilton and sell his rights to the reds for 500 grand salary relief? And did he or did he not Hit 19 hrs in 90 games for the reds? We had our chance and decided 500K was important, jeez we spend that on Soriano’s perks for penthouses on road games every year.

          • Norm

            oh geez

          • Jim L.

            Not exactly how you put it, the Reds asked the Cubs, without naming the player they wanted, if they would make a selection if the player was there. Hendry did it as a favor to the Reds. The Cubs really never had Hamilton’s rights, they made the pick for the Reds.

        • Toby

          Are we still talking about how the Hamilton Rule V draft story? Why do Cub fans have this notion that the Cubs screwed this up by giving Hamilton away? Hamilton, as talented as he is, was an addict and Tampa left him unprotected. Yes, as far fetched as it sounds, the Cubs and Cincy had an agreement that the Cubs would take Hamilton with immediately trade him to Cincy. There’s a few of these deals on the day of the Rule V draft every year. Everyone agreed that Hamilton was an extremely talented player, but his prior drug history made him a risk. No one could envision how his story is turning out.

    • Brett

      I tend not to do those kind of imaginarium type posts (they strike me as far more fluff than substance, because it’s all concocted from whole cloth). But I will definitely be soon looking at each tradable piece on the Cubs, the likelihood they get moved, what kinds of returns we could expect, etc.

  • CubsFanBob

    Cozy on Sheffield a block away from the stadium is awesome if you like Thai food. It’s BYO beer but there is a liquor store on the other side on clark.

  • John Breslin

    I for one don’t think there is anything the slightest bit gloomy about this season. The experienced midwesterner takes his vacation to Florida in the middle of winter, to escape the worst of the weather. Similarly, anyone could see this season coming, so why not just follow my lead and escape to more pleasant things? The time for this team is in 2 or 3 years. There is just no way around that. So, if you want gloomy, God bless you, just enjoy it. As for me, I will wait until these clouds pass to come back home for real.

  • Drew

    I agree with cubsfanbob. Cozy Noodle is the place to go, especially if you are with a vegetarian. It is cheap and delicious. Also, the decor is out of this world. I won’t spoil it by trying to describe it.

    • Brett

      Sweet. Thanks, gents.

  • cubs1967

    Has anyone figured out the exact date Rizzo can come up and not gain a year’s of service to avoid the early arb process??………just so we know when he is “ready” which coincentally will be the same day……

    • mak

      Soemthing like June 23 or so. Another month I think to totally avoid Super 2.

  • Cubbyswagger

    Brett- I love this site! I’m kind of addicted… But this is my first post. You combined The Cubs and vegetarian restaurant suggestions- my specialties. You have to bring your wife to The Chicago Diner on Halstead and Roscoe. So close to Wrigley. 100% veggie- but you’ll love it too (I promise). Great sandwiches and more. A local gem. Plus- the owner, Mickey, is a huge Cubs fan with great stories about the old days and a great resource for Cubs tickets as a season ticket holder. Buy some extra stuff to go and bring it to Wrigley (they do let outside food in- I do it all the time).
    The other suggestions are great- I love Cozy’s and the other suggestions, but The Diner is a must.
    Keep up the great work and enjoy the game Friday!

    • Brett

      Thanks for the compliments, the suggestions, and for commenting!

  • JulioZuleta

    When are you going back?

    • Brett

      Who and where?

  • JulioZuleta

    You, how long are you staying?

    • Brett

      We’re there tomorrow morning through early Saturday afternoon. Kinda in your neck of the woods.

      • JulioZuleta

        If you go to Old Town, walk down Wells Street, it’s really nice. I’m pretty sure there’s a Wrigleyville block party going on this weekend, which should be a good time.

  • die hard

    Rizzo not here til Sept now

    • Carew

      Being pessimistic is not cool

  • Cubbies4Life

    I’ll be there with my gal pals Friday and Saturday! Going to the game on Saturday night. We’ll definitely try Cozy Noodle. Anyone going to that game? We’ll be in the nosebleed section cuz we didn’t want to trade our firstborn children for good seats… The Husband and I (and, yes, I’m making fun of Brett’s reference to “the wife”) saw the Cubbies beat the Padres on Memorial Day. I’m hoping for another victory. Hey, anything can happen, right?