Best restaurant when you're on the doughnut diet

Chuck's Do-Nuts

What goes round comes round. "Quality Donuts Since 1948," the sign promises, and Chuck's Do-Nuts delivers. Each and every day, Chuck's bakers cook up two dozen kinds of doughnuts, and then charismatic owner Dan Imo presides over the day's purchases. He gets a little help from his peanut gallery of regulars who perch at the low counter and drink coffee -- the regular kind, of course, not some newfangled flavored swill. Since the day the storefront opened over fifty years ago, Chuck's most popular doughnut has been the raised glazed, and with good reason: It's raised high and light, with a soft, spongy texture and little pockets of air for fluffiness, and it's glazed with a sugar mixture done right. But that doughnut only scratches the surface of Chuck's delights. The glazed chocolate cake doughnut is like a breakfast brownie; the custard-filled Bismarck tastes like a Boston cream pie; and the chocolate icing on the plain cake is better than some of them fancy French ganaches. Doughnuts may be all the rage these days, but Chuck's proves that with age comes wisdom -- and the best doughnuts in town.

Lunch doesn't have to be the time to fill your moaning stomach with mediocre, artery-clogging food designed to fortify you for the horrors ahead (or kill you before you return to the boardroom). It can be a time to retreat, to return to simpler times and simpler pleasures. After all, that's what chef Kevin O'Brien did when he closed his restaurant in Heritage Square and turned a wagon-shaped lunch cart dating from the 1930s -- all he and his wife could afford at the time -- into O'Brien's Wings & Things. The Things include such down-home delights as chicken-fried chicken sandwiches, plus hamburgers packaged as singles, doubles or triples and served with white-wine-marinated mushrooms or green olives. But the tasty wings are really the thing here, and O'Brien's homemade dressings and sauces -- everything from ranch to raspberry to sesame -- really make them fly.

Lunch doesn't have to be the time to fill your moaning stomach with mediocre, artery-clogging food designed to fortify you for the horrors ahead (or kill you before you return to the boardroom). It can be a time to retreat, to return to simpler times and simpler pleasures. After all, that's what chef Kevin O'Brien did when he closed his restaurant in Heritage Square and turned a wagon-shaped lunch cart dating from the 1930s -- all he and his wife could afford at the time -- into O'Brien's Wings & Things. The Things include such down-home delights as chicken-fried chicken sandwiches, plus hamburgers packaged as singles, doubles or triples and served with white-wine-marinated mushrooms or green olives. But the tasty wings are really the thing here, and O'Brien's homemade dressings and sauces -- everything from ranch to raspberry to sesame -- really make them fly.

Tired of the typical Asian lunch deal, where a buck a scoop nets you nothing but dried-out rice and sesame chicken that tastes like candy-coated cardboard? Then head over to Santino's, where chef/owner Sonny Rando puts out an Italian spread that gives new meaning to the word abbondanza. For $9.95 a person, diners can tuck into soups, salads, breads, mini calzones, meatballs, pizzas, pepper poppers and mozzarella sticks, along with a choice of five or six entrees each day -- including some of Rando's well-known specialties such as chicken cacciatore and vodka ravioli -- as well as fruit salad and chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert. Business types will appreciate the quiet repose of the place, sports fans will enjoy their favorites' autographs on the regular menu, and chow hounds will marvel at so much meal for the money.
Tired of the typical Asian lunch deal, where a buck a scoop nets you nothing but dried-out rice and sesame chicken that tastes like candy-coated cardboard? Then head over to Santino's, where chef/owner Sonny Rando puts out an Italian spread that gives new meaning to the word abbondanza. For $9.95 a person, diners can tuck into soups, salads, breads, mini calzones, meatballs, pizzas, pepper poppers and mozzarella sticks, along with a choice of five or six entrees each day -- including some of Rando's well-known specialties such as chicken cacciatore and vodka ravioli -- as well as fruit salad and chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert. Business types will appreciate the quiet repose of the place, sports fans will enjoy their favorites' autographs on the regular menu, and chow hounds will marvel at so much meal for the money.
Chicago Style Beef & Dogs
Courtesy Chicago Style Beef and Dogs Facebook
Luanne and Joe Margotte, proprietors of the Chicago sandwich shop on West Colfax, are displaced Chicagoans in thought, word and deed. As such, they serve up the authentic comfort food of their hometown --Vienna beef hot dogs piled with yellow mustard, relish, chopped onions, tomatoes, pickles and sport peppers; overstuffed Italian beef and sausage sandwiches dripping with juice; pork chops Maxwell Street-style, topped with brown mustard, grilled onions and more sport peppers; even Salerno butter cookies. They also pipe in WGN radio broadcasts of Cubs and White Sox games via the Internet. The place is like a miniature Second City, right down to a pride of place bordering on comic hostility.
Luanne and Joe Margotte, proprietors of the Chicago sandwich shop on West Colfax, are displaced Chicagoans in thought, word and deed. As such, they serve up the authentic comfort food of their hometown --Vienna beef hot dogs piled with yellow mustard, relish, chopped onions, tomatoes, pickles and sport peppers; overstuffed Italian beef and sausage sandwiches dripping with juice; pork chops Maxwell Street-style, topped with brown mustard, grilled onions and more sport peppers; even Salerno butter cookies. They also pipe in WGN radio broadcasts of Cubs and White Sox games via the Internet. The place is like a miniature Second City, right down to a pride of place bordering on comic hostility.
Meritage
Why are some of the country's most influential business types hanging out in Broomfield? They're wining and dining at the Omni Interlocken, one of Colorado's newest and swankiest hotels, which boasts not only a swell (read: powerful and majestic) view of the mountains, but also a big-deal golf course (John Elway doesn't hold his Celebrity Classic on just any old piece of sod, you know). Housed within the Omni's impressive confines is the Meritage, a classy restaurant with a massive stone fireplace and a patio that allows diners to appreciate that swell view. The food's pretty good, too, since chef Thomas Ryan, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, spent time at a few Ritz-Carltons before he was made master of this kitchen catering to masters of the universe. Everyone who's anyone seems to be gathering here to golf and then ink the deal -- while putting away a fair amount of man-food, such as venison loin and portabellos with polenta. As a server overheard a big-biz guy say to a dining companion at the end of one dinner, "Hey, I'd suck out your eyeballs and skull-fuck you like in that movie, but I'm too full."

Readers' choice: Morton's of Chicago

Why are some of the country's most influential business types hanging out in Broomfield? They're wining and dining at the Omni Interlocken, one of Colorado's newest and swankiest hotels, which boasts not only a swell (read: powerful and majestic) view of the mountains, but also a big-deal golf course (John Elway doesn't hold his Celebrity Classic on just any old piece of sod, you know). Housed within the Omni's impressive confines is the Meritage, a classy restaurant with a massive stone fireplace and a patio that allows diners to appreciate that swell view. The food's pretty good, too, since chef Thomas Ryan, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, spent time at a few Ritz-Carltons before he was made master of this kitchen catering to masters of the universe. Everyone who's anyone seems to be gathering here to golf and then ink the deal -- while putting away a fair amount of man-food, such as venison loin and portabellos with polenta. As a server overheard a big-biz guy say to a dining companion at the end of one dinner, "Hey, I'd suck out your eyeballs and skull-fuck you like in that movie, but I'm too full."

Readers' choice: Morton's of Chicago

Billy Lam has been cooking up great, inexpensive food at his Chef's Noodle House in Aurora for six years now, and a few months ago, he decided to use his noodle on the other side of town. The result is Yan-Kee Noodle, which turns out killer noodle and rice bowls, many of which sell for under five bucks but contain enough food to feed two at lunch or stuff one at dinner. The soups, each $3, are also big enough for a meal. Everything is made to order by Lam in the big, hot wok behind the counter, and most of the dishes feature wonderful sauces, including a powerful ginger-soy or a creamy curry peanut. Another couple of bucks buys you a pair of Lam's crispy-shelled egg rolls filled with chicken and scallions. This Yan-Kee Noodle's a dandy.

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