NATO, come stuff your face here!

If a band of NATO summit attendees should wander out of the security zone, where would you send them to eat?

May 11, 2012

(flickr/adactio)
Chicago hot dog.

Whenever a city wants to put its best foot forward, it’s forced into a kind of existential quandary, even when food is the only thing at stake. It might sound easy to suggest good eats when a family member from out of town comes to visit. But when an entire city’s culinary and cultural cred is the issue, what’s a world-class metropolis to do?

Well, a corps of Chicago officials took a stab at solving this problem for us. You may have heard Chicago’s got its own host committee for the NATO summit planned for Chicago on May 20-21. Back in March, The Chicago NATO Host Committee carted up some of Chicago’s finest gastronomic offerings and shipped them off to a reception during “Chicago Week,” a kind of summit kick-off for NATO big-wigs in Brussels. Here’s a list of participants and products:

  • Eli's cheesecake
  • Lou Malnati's pizza
  • Manny's corn beef
  • Vienna hot dogs
  • Ann Sather cinnamon rolls
  • Garrett's popcorn
  • Bergoff soda
  • Fisher nuts

It turns out there’s more news on this, because, apparently, it wasn’t enough to send treats overseas from Chicago. No, we’re hosts, after all, not just ambassadors. The Illinois Restaurant Association is sponsoring a program that, according to the host committee, will offer summit attendees presentations by more than 100 local restaurants. Early Friday morning, the committee’s Jen Martinez-Roth wrote to explain that the following vendors will present in the designated summit media center:

  • Metropolis Coffee
  • Hoosier Mama Pie Co
  • Urbanbelly-BellyShack
  • Vermillion
  • The Gage
  • Goose Island Brewery
  • Purple Pig
  • Arun’s

We’re glad the committee’s done so much legwork, but editors, reporters and producers at our shop noted that the committee had left out some notable places: Valois (Hyde Park cafeteria),  Mysore Woodlands (South Indian fare on Devon Avenue) and Lawrence’s Fisheries (all-hours access to fried shrimp and fish), just to name a few. But, come to think of it, the committee left out a few thousand other suggestions the rest of Chicago could have come up with. So, how to fill the gap?

That’s where you come in.

Here’s the big ask: If a hungry crew of NATO summit-goers (or even NATO summit protesters) were to wander away from the security zone, where would you send them to eat? Somewhere that serves food that’s unique to the Chicago region? Maybe somewhere that has OK food, but the ambience or locale will leave visitors plenty of symbolism to chew on? Or, maybe you figure a dignitary from, say, Poland (NATO member since 1999), wants a taste of home and you know of a spot that serves Polish food and does it … just so.

Well, here’s your chance. We want your suggestions below. And, if you still have international good will to expend, check out Tuesday morning’s Eight Forty-Eight program, where we’ll have our food bloggers and callers dish on your recommendations.

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