From the outside, The Portage seems just like any number of
corner storefront restaurants that dot Chicago's neighborhoods. But
once you enter this charming spot in Portage Park, you'll discover
not only hidden outdoor dining, but an eclectic menu of traditional
American fare cooked to perfection.
Owned and operated by Chicagoans with decades of restaurant
experience, The Portage is classy while remaining friendly and
The well-stocked bar serves terrific mixed drinks alongside
perfectly prepared Kiddie Cocktails (with extra cherries). Although
the menu changes seasonally to take advantage of the freshest
ingredients, diners can always find a great variety of trendy food
(duck fat fries) and classic meals (southern fried chicken).
Proteins range from fish and scallops to chicken and steak, all
priced between $12 and $20. It also offers vegetarian entrees,
salads and appetizers.
The Kids' Menu, priced at $5.95, includes chicken strips, mini
corn dogs and a junior-sized Kobe burger. Those meals come with
soda, hand-cut fries and even a scoop of house-made ice cream for
dessert. My 10-year-old insisted his made-to-order Kobe burger was
the "best meat ever." I thought the same thing about my perfectly
grilled pork chop. And we were honestly battling each other for the
last bite of our mac and cheese appetizer. Finishing our meal off
with classic apple pie and ice cream, we left completely
It's no wonder that families were waiting to get in. Speaking of
which, The Portage is a cozy space, with limited seating for large
groups. I highly recommend making reservation for the outdoor
patio, lit by string lights and completely hidden from traffic. You
may still have to wait for a bit, but it's worth it.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.
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