Chicago Fun With a Greek Touch

Chaser's Sport's Bar and Grill half-price burgers
Every Thursday

Chaser's Sports Bar & Grill in Niles is serving up their famous burgers for half-price (with drink purchase) every Thursday. Drink specials include $14 domestic buckets and $5 Stella Pints.

Other weekly specials include half-price pizza every Monday with $4 fireball and $5 Sam seasonal pints.

Wednesdays offer 89¢ boneless wings (with drink purchase). Domestic Pitchers $9 and $5 Angry Orchard Pints.

Fridays enjoy $20 imported buckets and $5 summer shandy pints. Saturdays $9 domestic pitchers, $5 anti-hero pint and $4 modelo bottle.

Sundays $14 domestic buckets, $20 import buckets, $5 Lagunitas pint.

Established in 1992, Chaser's is family owned and takes great pride in serving delicious food in a fun and casual setting. Specialties include pizza, burgers, wings, salads, cheesesteaks, pastas and more. The spacious bar area is the perfect setting for enjoying drinks, games and plenty of sports action on Chaser's many flat screens.

Event Hours:

Every Day 11am-12am

Event Location:

Chaser's Sports Bar & Grill • 9003 N Milwaukee Ave • Niles IL 60714 • (847) 470-8800

Knievel Duo Band Live at Niko's Red Mill Tavern in Woodstock
Sat Dec 11

Niko's Red Mill Tavern in Woodstock welcomes everyone to enjoy live music by Knievel Duo featuring vocalist Krysten Knievel, daughter of American icon Evil Knievel.

Playing music that spans decades of great classic rock, southern rock, blues, 80's, country and modern rock, Krysten and the band promise to deliver a truly memorable high-energy and action packed performance.

Bring family and friends to enjoy great music, food and drinks at Woodstock's favorite restaurant and bar. Video gaming also available.

Niko's Red Mill Tavern is well known around the Woodstock area for their friendly service, great live acts and delicious food including great appetizers, burgers, wraps, sandwiches and other tavern favorites. The restaurant features cozy seating, plenty of tv's for sports lovers plus indoor and outdoor bar.

Event Hours:

Sat Dec 11 (8pm-11pm)

Event Location:

Niko's Red Mill Tavern, 1040 Lake Ave • Woodstock IL • 60098 • (815) 338-6455

Live Music at Jimmy D's District Restaurant & Bar - Arlington Heights
Saturdays (Nov & Dec)

Jimmy D's District Restaurant and Bar in Arlington Heights welcomes everyone to enjoy great live entertainment during the month of November (no cover, first come-first serve seating).

Come and experience a wide variety of musical styles while feasting on Jimmy D's famous appetizers, salads, burgers, wraps, pastas and other house specialties. Weekly specials and kid's menu are also available.

Sunday brunch every week (11am) features pancakes, omelets, hash & eggs, breakfast burritos, french toast, biscuits & gravy and more. Bottomless mimosas and bellinis also served.


• Dennis Caravello (Nov 6)
• Bec Bradshaw (Nov 13)
• The Difference (Nov 20)
• Bill Nixon (Nov 24) - note: this event is on a Wednesday.
• Dennis Caravello (Nov 27)
• Nick Sanzeri (Dec 4)
• EloveA (Dec 11)
• Tim Phillips (Dec 18)

Event Hours:

Saturday nights (7pm)

Event Location:

Jimmy D's District Restaurant & Bar • 1718 W. Northwest Hwy • Arlington Heights • 60004 • (847) 255-1340

Jimmy D's District is well known in Chicago's northwest suburbs for serving great food in a clean and comfortable setting. Menu items include appetizers, sandwiches, ribs, burgers and more. The popular restaurant and bar also features exciting events throughout the summer months.

Best Gyros in Chicago, Opa Chicago Top 10

Over the last few decades, Gyros has certainly gained a reputation as one of the more popular Greek food items on menus across Chicagoland.

Gyros are essentially sandwiches made with thinly-sliced beef, lamb or chicken which is then placed in a pita or flatbread. Most gyros are topped with onions and tomatoes and enjoyed with Tzatziki sauce, a white creamy topping made from strained yogurt, cucumbers, salt, pepper, garlic and dill.

With this flavorful mixture served relatively cheap, it’s no wonder that Gyros has been a popular choice for hungry Chicagoans for over 50 years.

As the meaty dish is thought to have originated in Greece, the very first Gyros in America was actually served in the Chicagoland area. According to Elk Grove Village based Devanco Foods, the first gyros was reportedly served in 1965 at The Parkview Restaurant in Chicago by owner George Apostolou, also known as “Papa George,” the father of today’s gyros.

Also prominent in the early days of gyros was Chris Tomaras who opened Kronos Gyros in 1975 and is responsible for developing and marketing “Gyrokones,” large uncooked masses of gyro meat. Tomaras also invented the Kronomatic vertical meat broiler which helped standardize mass gyro production thus allowing gyros to spread to restaurants across the country.

Today Kronos is the world’s largest manufacturer of Gyros providing enough of the savory meat for 600,000 sandwiches per day. Other notable suppliers include Grecian Delight, Devanco Foods and Olympia.

The secret behind Kronos success? Tomaras told reporters in 2009 that it’s all in the ingredients...”we use the best beef and lamb and then run the meat through a four-ton grinder where bread crumbs, oregano and special seasonings are added.”

Incidentally, Gyros comes from the Greek word “Geero” which means “turn.” And nothing seems to be turning consumer’s heads - and taste buds - like those wonderful cones of
meat spinning every day in restaurants across America.

We now turn your attention to our favorite gyros spots across Chicagoland.

• Mykonos Greek Restaurant (Niles)

Serving Chicago's northwest suburbs since 1981, the mainstay eatery is proud to serve authentic Greek dishes including char-grilled octopus, fresh sea bass, roast leg of lamb, pastichio, greek-style meatballs and famous homemade gyros. Enjoy cocktails, extensive wine list, daily specials and lush outdoor dining in Mykonos cozy patio area.
8660 W Golf Road • Niles IL 60714 • (847) 296-6777
Visit the Mykonos website...

• Charcoal Flame (Morton Grove)

Mediterranean delights are prepared by house chefs Gregory and Gus at this cozy diner where customers love their famous homemade gyros, kabobs, gourmet burgers, salads, hot dogs and Italian beef. Try the skirt steak sandwich, barbecued ribs, pastichio, avgolemeno (egg-lemon) soup and the boneless Greek pork chops. Full Catering menu also available.
6800 W Dempster Street, Morton Grove IL 60053 • (847) 966-1200
Visit the Charcoal Flame website...

• Brandy's Gyros (Chicago - Des Plaines - Hanover Park - Schaumburg)

Known for their famous gyros, bbq ribs and Athenian chicken, Brandy's uses only fresh ingredients to bring you a wide array of delicious Greek specialties and American favorites. Char-broiled burgers, chicken sandwiches, vienna beef hot dogs, italian beef and tasty mexican choices are just part of an extensive menu that has something for everybody. Five convenient locations to serve you.
6262 N. Harlem Ave, Chicago, IL 60631 • (773) 763-5862
Visit the Brandy's Gyros website...

• Kostas Gyros (Algonquin)

Friendly neighborhood restaurant serves delicious roasted chicken, barbecued ribs, beef sandwiches, salads, hot dogs, wraps, souvlaki and more. Nice variety of gyros sandwiches includes regular gyros plate, tuscan gyros, southwest gyros and Italian gyros. Kosta's can also cater any special event. Video gaming available inside restaurant.
4053 Algonquin Road, Algonquin IL 60102 • (847) 515-7181
Visit the Kostas Gyros website...

• Apolis Greek Street Food (Lisle & Glendale Heights)

Traditional and authentic gyros is made from top-sourced pork, lamb and chicken at this Greek hot spot in Lisle and Glendale Heights. Using hometown recipes, the family owned restaurant prides itself on serving quality gyros, kabobs, greek-style fries, spinach pie, dolmades, flaming Saganaki, pork chops and more. Delivery available.
1109 Maple Ave • Lisle, IL 60532 • (331) 775-2135
Visit the Apolis website...

• Charkies (Carol Stream)

A genuine passion for food excellence drives this friendly eatery where guests can feast on great gyros, burgers, chicken sandwiches, Italian beef, pasta dinners, kabobs and more. Try the spinach pie and baklava. Free soup with any dine-in purchase every day. Video gaming available.
570 Schmale Road • Carol Stream IL 60188 • (630) 510-1212
Visit the Charkies website...

• Downers Delight Restaurant (Downers Grove)

American and Mediterranean specialties abound at this cozy diner serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Diverse menu includes pancakes, crepes, french toast, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, bbq ribs, steaks and more. Enjoy freshly sliced gyros in the Mediterranean frittata, gyros wrap, gyros skillet, gyros sandwich and the gyros and feta omelet. Daily specials, full bar and outdoor dining available.
401 75th Street, Downers Grove IL 60516 • (630) 241-9671
Visit the Downers Delight website...

• Franksville Restaurant (Chicago)

Celebrating over 50 years of excellence, Franksville is proud to serve their famous gyros, Chicago-style Vienna hot dogs, burgers, tacos, chicken, barbecued ribs, homestyle milkshakes and more. Still one of Chicago's favorite food spots, the iconic restaurant also serves cheese fries and their famous foot long hot dog served with generous amounts of green relish, onions, mustard and tomato slices.
3550 N Harlem Ave • Chicago IL 60634 • (773) 237-5848
Visit the Franksville website...

• Christy's Restaurant & Pancake House (Wood Dale)

This friendly, old-school diner serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and is known for their signature pancakes, omelets, skillets, sandwiches, salads, wraps and more. Try their amazing dinner specialties, pasta dishes, southern fried chicken and popular Greek selections including gyros platter, grecian chicken, chicken gyros platter and greek style skirt steak.
200 E Irving Park Road • Wood Dale IL 60191 • (630) 595-4845
Visit the Christy's website...

• Rose Garden Cafe (Elk Grove Village)

Serving delicious and hearty portions in a relaxed setting, Rose Garden Cafe is proud to serve classic breakfast items plus great burgers, salads, pasta, gyros, broasted chicken, steaks, bbq ribs and more. Daily specials include their famous stuffed peppers (Thursdays) and cream of chicken soup (served daily). Banquets for up to 140 people.
111 E Higgins Road, Elk Grove Village IL 60007 • (847) 952-1881
Visit the Rose Garden Cafe website...

• Burnt Toast (Algonquin & Elgin)

Contemporary breakfast and lunch spot serves their famous banana split pancakes, breakfast tacos, chocolate crepes, smoked sausage skillet, gyros with eggs and more. Try the gyros sandwich and great daily lunch specials including chicken pot pie. Catering and outdoor patio available at both locations. Private room available at Elgin only.
2520 Bunker Hill Dr. Algonquin IL 60102 • (847) 854-9552
Visit the Burnt Toast website...

• Omega Pancake House & Bakery (Downers Grove & Schaumburg)

The famous restaurants are both known for serving quality food in newly remodeled dining rooms. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, Omega's extensive menu offers classic breakfast entrees plus sandwiches, burgers, wraps, chicken, pasta, steaks, salads and their famous gyros. The popular in-house bakery also serves various cakes, pies and pastries.
1300 E Ogden Ave, Downers Grove IL 60515 • (630) 963-0300
Visit the Omega website...

• Around The Clock Restaurant & Bakery (Crystal Lake)

Long standing family restaurant serves their famous 3-egg omelets, belgium waffles, french toast, sandwiches, crisp salads, wraps, pastas and more. Enjoy the gyros plate, chicken souvlaki, broiled skirt steak and great daily specials. In-house bakery prepares award-winning cakes, pies and pastries.
5011 Northwest Hwy, Crystal Lake IL 60014 • (815) 459-2100
Visit the Around The Clock website...

• Goodi's Restaurant (Niles)

Now under new ownership, Goodi's maintains its reputation for great food and service offering great burgers, ribs, chicken, hot dogs, beef sandwiches and famous gyros. The extensive menu also includes salads, pastas, pulled pork, Athenian skirt steak, kabobs, wraps, paninis and more. Check the board for great daily specials. Private parties for up to 40 people. Catering available.
9645 N Milwaukee Ave • Niles IL • 60714 • (847) 583-9500
Visit Goodi's website...

• Paps Ultimate Bar & Grill (Mount Prospect)

This friendly bar and grill has been serving the Mount Prospect area for over 21 years with their famous gyros, pizza, black angus burgers, wings and other favorites. Great drink specials, plenty of tv screens for sports fans and fun activities in the spacious bar area.
1904 S. Elmhurst Road • Mt. Prospect, IL 60056 • (847) 806-7733
Visit Paps Bar & Grill website...

• Tasty Waffle (Romeoville)

Spacious and bright eatery renowned for tasty entrees including oven baked pancakes, french toast, crepes, paninis, salads, wraps, USDA certified black angus burgers, steak sandwiches and more. Guests can enjoy their flavorful gyros in various dishes including the gyros skillet, burrito, benedict, gyros & feta omelet and pita sandwich.
642 S Weber Road, Romeoville IL 60446 • (815) 439-8151
Visit the Tasty Waffle website...

• Nick's Drive In (Chicago)

It's all about the homemade gyros at this casual old-fashioned diner celebrating 50 years on the northwest side. Also known for their burgers, hot dogs, Greek chicken, Italian Beef and more. Check the daily specials board and try their famous rice pudding and spicy Greek potatoes.
7216 Harlem Ave, Chicago, IL 60631 • (773) 631-5045

• Squabs Gyros (Melrose Park)

Bustling restaurant popular for its fresh homestyle cooking and generous portions. Grecian specialties include kabobs, Athenian style chicken, souvlaki, Greek salad and Squab's famous gyros. Other signature items include barbecued ribs, italian beef, broasted chicken, char-broiled burgers and more, including homemade soup prepared every day. Catering also available for your upcoming special event.
2348 Mannheim Road • Melrose Park IL 60164 • (847) 455-5205
Visit the Squabs Gyros website...

• Billy Boy's (Chicago Ridge)

Popular eatery on the south side known for flavorful gyros, outstanding bbq ribs, burgers, Greek Chicken, hot dogs and unique sandwiches. Hard working crew keeps this place clean and running smooth. Proudly serving Chicago's south suburbs since 1976.
6400 95th Street, Chicago Ridge IL • (708) 599-8406
Visit Billy Boy's website...

• QP Greek Food With a Kick (Hoffman Estates)

Greek-style pitas, meatballs, wings, pork chops, ribs, chicken and flaming Saganaki are just the beginning at this cozy and stylish Mediterranean eatery. Enjoy unique flavors with a kick in the clean and contemporary setting. Daily specials available along with QP's famous Gyros and Avgolemeno Soup. Try the popular Greek Feta Pizza and Caesar Salad. Full bar and catering.
830 N Roselle Road • Hoffman Estates IL 60169 • (224) 353-6999
Visit the QP website...

• Papa Chris' Place (Chicago)

A true neighborhood favorite, this popular spot on Chicago's northwest side serves their signature gyros, burgers, hot dogs, Polish sausage, Greek salad, barbecued ribs, kabobs and more. Try their homemade rice pudding and baklava. Celebrating over 30 years of great food, friendly service and catering.
6235 W Touhy Ave, Chicago IL 60646 • (773) 631-4322
Visit Papa Chris' website...

• Dengeos (Skokie)

Friendly and spacious eatery serving up their signature Gyros plus BBQ Ribs, Greek Chicken, Skirt Steak, Salads, Burgers and more. Staff is friendly and attentive while portions are very generous.
3301 Main St, Skokie, IL 60076 • (847) 677-7911 (Two locations including Skokie and Buffalo Grove).
Visit Dengeos website...

• Johnny's Beef & Gyros (Chicago)

Serving the Lincoln Park area since 2005, Johnny's serves world class Chicago street food including their popular gyros, black angus chuck burgers, Italian beef, specialty salads and more. Other popular items include charbroiled chicken sandwiches, Maxwell street polish, homemade tzatziki spread and other Greek specialties. Two locations to serve you (Chicago and Joliet)
2300 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 • (773) 697-8885
Visit the Johnny's Beef & Gyros website...

• Annie's Pancake House (Skokie)

Relaxed and cozy eatery, this pancake house serves hearty and generous portions of their famous omelets, french toast, crepes, pancakes, sandwiches, salads, chopped steak, wraps and delicious daily specials. The popular gyros omelet is a must try. Homemade soups prepared every day.
4900 Oakton Street, Skokie, IL 60077 • (847) 675-7562
Visit the Annie's website...

• Zeus Restaurant (Chicago)

Unassuming and casual hangout known for their huge portions and clean environment. Enjoy their famous Gyros Sandwich/Plate, Gyros Cheeseburger, Italian Beef, Kabobs. Greek Chicken and more.
806 Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607 • (312) 258-8789
Visit Zeus Gyros website...

• Charcoal Delights (Chicago)

This bright and welcoming eatery uses an old-fashioned cooking process, "charcoal barbecued broiled," to serve delicious burgers, Vienna hot dogs, country broasted chicken, beef sandwiches, bbq ribs and their famous gyros. Friendly staff with top notch service.
3139 W. Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 • (773) 583-0056
Visit Charcoal Delights website...

• Mr. Greek Gyros (Chicago)

Long time Chicago favorite serving their famous Gyros Pita, Gyros Dinner Plate, Gyros Philly plus homemade beef, burgers, kabobs, hot dogs and more. Open 'til 4am for your late night cravings. You'll love their thick-cut fries.
234 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60607 • (312) 906-8731
Visit Mr. Greek Gyros website...

• Greek Islands (Chicago)

A classic restaurant destination for 48 years, they serve homemade gyros and traditional Greek specialties. Known for their quality and consistency, the popular restaurant serves Pastichio, Dolmades, Roasted Lamb, Moussaka, desserts and more.
200 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60661 • (312) 782-9855
Visit Greek Islands website...

• Athenian Room (Chicago)

Charming and cozy neighborhood restaurant serving delicious gyros, Greek feta burger, chicken kalamata, kabobs, spinach pie and more. The dining room is reminiscent of a small taverna in Greece.
807 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 • (773) 348-5155

• Twins Gyros (Harwood Heights)

Known for their famous gyros and juicy chicken, this family owned restaurant makes their own tzatziki sauce and serves a very extensive menu. Popular items include their homemade soups, Italian beef, hot dogs, burgers and wings. The Greek fries are highly recommended!
4870 N Harlem Ave, Harwood Heights, IL 60656 • (708) 867-1313
Visit Twins Gyros website...

• Gyros Express (Villa Park)

Flavorful and tender gyros is the main attraction at Gyros Express where an extensive menu also features burgers, souvlaki, Greek chicken, rib-eye steak, flaming Saganaki, Avgolemeno (Egg Lemon Soup), Spinach Pie and tempting desserts. Soft drinks, beer and wine available.
750 N Addison Road • Villa Park IL 60181 • (630) 530-4433
Visit the Gyros Express website...

• Gyro Grill (Tinley Park)

Serving Chicago's southside, this exciting new eatery serves fresh Greek street food including gyros, kabobs, pitas, wings, spinach pie and more. Try the Saganaki bites and their unique egg rolls stuffed with gyro meat, feta and grilled onions. Fresh, fast and delicious food using time-tested Greek family recipes seven days a week.
15960 S. Harlem Ave. Tinley Park IL 60477 • (708) 620-8440
Visit the Gyro Grill website...

• Craving Gyros (Lake Zurich)

This cozy little spot in downtown Lake Zurich will surprise you with their famous gyros, vienna hot dogs, italian beef, charcoal broiled angus burgers and more. Very friendly staff is known for their personalized service. Gyros is fresh and hot served with homemade tzatziki sauce! Dining area is clean and comfortable which also includes outdoor patio.
2 E. Main Street, Lake Zurich IL 60047 • (224) 677-5115

Bowl of healthy Greek yogurt

The health benefits of yogurt have always been touted by health-conscious Americans. But these days, even those who once resisted yogurt are now embracing the Greek way. Few foods today pack as healthy a punch in such small serving sizes as Greek yogurt. The nutrients of Greek yogurt can help keep you fortified while also helping you lose weight. The richer texture of greek yogurt is also a big sell for lovers of the grecian brand.

Greek yogurt is made by separating out the liquid whey, explains Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “This results in a thicker texture with fewer carbohydrates and sugar, and more protein than regular yogurt,” she says.

The Power of Protein

Protein is essential for good health. It is vital to cell growth, building muscle, and repairing tissue. As you age, you need more protein to keep your skin healthy and to fight off illness. Greek yogurt is a great way to boost your protein levels while avoiding heavy foods like meats. “Have it for breakfast and add in a handful of walnuts and blueberries,” Rumsey says. “Use it as a substitute for sour cream on top of chili or baked potatoes.”

Probiotics Help with Digestion

Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics. These are microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast. These normally live in your intestines, and having good microorganisms in your intestines helps keep you healthy, says Shane Griffin, a certified nutritional practitioner and founder of Whole Life Balance. “Without a healthy balance of good bacteria from probiotics, too much bad bacteria can build up and cause damage to our immune systems,” Griffin says.

Probiotics are great for the digestive system, and especially helpful to people who suffer from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, he adds.

Good source for workout recovery

Greek yogurt can be a healthy and satisfying treat after a tough workout. Not only will it tide you over until your next meal, but it actually contains protein that can repair damage done by exercise.

“Greek yogurt is rich in the amino acids which make up proteins, and proteins are the building blocks for regenerating muscle tissue and repairing fiber damage,” explains Griffin. Add a banana or some berries for a nutrition-packed post workout snack.

Find Homemade & Premium Brand Greek Yogurt at these fine restaurants and grocers throughout Chicagoland:

• Billy's Pancake House (Palatine)

Serving breakfast and lunch daily, this long standing restaurant offers up hearty omelets, gourmet pancakes, skillets, french toast, belgian waffles, blintzes, crepes and more. Lunch items include freshly ground burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, paninis, quesadillas and creative specials. The homemade Greek yogurt is served with honey, granola and daily topping.
440 W Northwest Highway • Palatine IL 60067 • (847) 358-0600
Visit the Billy's Pancake House website...

• QP Greek Food With a Kick (Hoffman Estates)

Cozy and stylish Mediterranean restaurant serves Greek-style pork chops, broasted chicken, salads, feta pizza, meatballs, avgolemeno (egg lemon) soup, flaming saganaki and more. Try the homemade gyros, oven roasted potatoes and spanakopita (spinach pie). After your meal, enjoy QP's famous homemade Greek yogurt (with honey and walnuts, or daily topping). Daily specials, full bar, drive-thru and catering.
830 N Roselle Road • Hoffman Estates IL 60169 • (224) 353-6999
Visit the QP website...

• 95th Produce Market (Hickory Hills)

Established grocer offers a wide selection of fresh fruit, produce, meats, vegetables, seafood, bakery items and more, including products from Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Italy and Arabic countries. Dairy and cheese department features brand names like Deans, Tropicana, Life Way and Fage Greek yogurt. Other Grecian products include spinach pie, Greek coffee, kefalograviera cheese (saganaki), Kalamata black olives, makaronia and extra-virgin olive oil. Check their weekly ad for great specials!
7759 West 95th Street • Hickory Hills IL 60457 • (708) 598-1300
Visit the 95th Produce Market website...

• Spartan Brothers Imported Foods (Chicago)

Since 1967, this neighborhood food store has been offering fresh meats, extra-virgin olive oil, imported Greek cheese, roast lamb, pork, chicken and a wide selection of Mediterranean pastries. Try the local fresh baby lamb, Athenian sausage and homemade Greek yogurt.
7140 N Harlem Ave • Chicago IL 60631 • (773) 631-0088

Find homemade and other brands of quality Greek yogurt at these fine establishments throughout Chicagoland. Our favorite grocers offer homemade "Ya-Ourti" at Columbus Food Market in Des Plaines and Spartan Brothers (Touhy & Harlem) in Chicago. Other recommended sources include 95th Produce Market (Hickory Hills), Nature's Best (Westmont), Fiesta Market (Mount Prospect) and Village Market Place (Skokie).

You can also enjoy homemade Greek yogurt at some of our favorite restaurants including Plateia Mediterranean Kitchen (Des Plaines), Kefi Greek Cuisine (Palos Heights), Billy's Pancake House (Palatine), Mykonos Greek Restaurant (Niles) and Briki Cafe (Addison).

Read more about Greek yogurt:

The best Chicago Saganaki Greek Cheese Appetizer

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the light. I was just a kid enjoying dinner with my family when it suddenly appeared. The flame shot wildly towards the ceiling before being tamed by lemon juice and a waiter’s steady hand. The whole experience lasted only a few seconds but it changed my life forever.

It was a delicious rite of passage that delighted my senses on so many levels. Never before had I witnessed such a unique display of cheese, brandy, lemon and fire...presented finally with
a glorious shout of OPA! And my family ate it up.

Of course, we’re talking about Saganaki, the famous Greek cheese appetizer that is flambeed and served table side at restaurants throughout Chicagoland. That night, dinner out became a sort of celebration, a spontaneous reminder of how the little things often bring the most joy. It was almost as if our waiter had declared a one word blessing on our family as he placed the anticipated cast-iron plate at the center of our table...OPA!

Oh, the simple things in life.

But what does OPA actually mean? And why is it mostly associated with the lighting of Saganaki? Greeks and non-Greeks both agree that the word has very favorable connotations and is often used to express a myriad of positive emotions. Even though the expression is sometimes used to express playful frustration following mishaps, today it's very common to hear OPA! shouted at weddings, dances, birthdays and of course, restaurants serving the popular appetizer.

Legend also has it that the very first "SOS" (Saganaki OPA shout), happened right here in Chicago in the mid 1960’s. At Chicago’s late great Parthenon Restaurant (which lasted for 48 years on Halsted Street), owner Chris Liakouras was just trying to be creative one day when he took some random advice from an unknown female customer to flame the Saganaki she had ordered. And he happily obliged. But, alas, controversy quickly ensued when fellow restauranteur Petros Kogiones at the nearby Dianna’s Opa claimed his first OPA declaration occurred years earlier. In those days, an order of Saganaki cost $1.25 while a gallon of gas was 35 cents.

But no matter who started the verbal tradition, shouts of OPA! carry on every day at restaurants around Chicagoland, the country and even the world. Hungry patrons love to order the cheesy appetizer as a tasty and fun way to begin a great meal. And depending on where you dine, chances are you’ll be enjoying one of several fine brands of Saganaki cheese including Kefalograviera, Graviera and Kefalotyri. Brandy is the spirit of choice poured right before the cheese is flamed adding a zest of flavor to the mix and evaporating quickly to avoid a soggy Saganaki.

While the Greeks are definitely known for enjoying a wide variety of delicious foods within their culture, Saganaki certainly boasts strong cross-over appeal that makes it a unique staple on so many restaurant menus. So if you’re out today and feeling a little cheesy (sorry), let the gooey goodness of the endearing Greek cheese melt your taste buds and warm your heart.

Just like it did that night during my childhood when a tall waiter served our family with our very first Saganaki while joyfully shouting OPA! The aroma of flamed cheese wafting over our table created a memory this kid will never forget.

Oh, the simple things in life.

Enjoy flaming Saganaki at these fine Chicagoland restaurants:

• Mykonos Greek Restaurant (Niles)

Serving authentic Greek cuisine for over 40 years, this legendary restaurant is known for their Charcoal Octopus, Souvlaki, Aegean-Style Salmon, Roast Lamb, Moussaka, Pastichio, Greek style fries and flaming Saganaki. Outdoor dining, full bar and catering available.
8660 W Golf Road • Niles IL 60714 • (847) 296-6777
Visit the Mykonos website...

• Niko's Red Mill Tavern (Woodstock)

This bustling restaurant features spacious dining areas with indoor and outdoor bars where customers can enjoy appetizers, burgers, wraps, pulled pork and other tavern favorites. Try the Greek Pizza, Mediterranean Wrap and flaming Saganaki. Niko's also hosts great live entertainment all year long.
1040 Lake Ave • Woodstock IL 60098 • (815) 338-6455
Visit Niko's website...

• Johnny's Kitchen & Tap (Glenview)

This Glenview favorite serves their famous wood roasted chicken, baby back ribs, rotisserie roasted pork, burgers, steaks, seafood and more. Start your meal with flaming Saganaki and enjoy Johnny's full wine list, craft beers, martinis and tempting desserts. Live entertainment in the lounge every weekend. Full catering available.
1740 Milwaukee Ave • Glenview IL 60025 • (847) 699-9999
Visit Johnny's website...

• KEFI Greek Cuisine (Palos Heights)

Grecian signature dishes abound at the restaurant whose name signifies joy, spirit and passion. Favorites include grilled octopus, pastichio, braised lamb, village salad, dolmades, greek-style meatballs, pork chops and more. Begin your dining experience with a flaming Greek cheese Saganaki (OPA)! Daily specials and homemade soups available.
12200 S Harlem Ave, Palos Heights IL 60463 • (708) 361-9610
Visit the Kefi website...

• The Greek Islands (Chicago & Lombard)

The landmark restaurant is known for its consistency, quality, value and spacious yet cozy dining areas. Specialties include Pastichio, Roast Lamb, Dolmades, Hot or Cold Octopus, Greek Salad, Fresh Seafood, Lamb Chops and of course, flaming Saganaki. Say OPA! to Chicago's most popular Greek restaurant.
200 S Halsted St • Chicago IL 60661 • (312) 782-9855
Visit the Greek Islands website...

• The Village Squire (South Elgin)

With 4 regional locations, this rustic English-style pub serves appetizers (including flaming Saganaki), burgers, salads, wraps, bbq ribs, prime rib, aged steaks and more. Enjoy their spacious dining areas and lounge with plenty of flat screen TV's for your enjoyment. House drinks include Squire's famous Mai Tai, Margarita, Rum Barrel and Bloody Mary.
480 Randall Road • South Elgin IL 60177 • (847) 931-0400
Visit the Village Squire website...

• Palm Court (Arlington Heights)

Renowned for its outstanding cuisine, relaxed elegance and first-rate service, Palm Court has served prime steaks, chops, fresh seafood, pasta and more since 1979. The spacious facility features cozy dining rooms, lounge area, fireplace room and banquet area. Nice selection of desserts, wines, beer (domestic and imported), cocktails and specialty martinis.
1912 N Arlington Heights Road • Arlington Heights IL 60004 • (847) 870-7770
Visit the Palm Court website...

• Rose Garden Cafe (Elk Grove Village)

Serving up quality homestyle dishes in a retro setting, Rose Garden Cafe boasts an extensive menu featuring pancakes, french toast, crepes, burgers, salads, Greek chicken, Saganaki, pasta, gyros, prime steaks, bbq ribs and more. Daily specials include their famous Pot Roast (day varies) and cream of chicken soup (served daily). Banquets for up to 140 people.
111 E Higgins Road, Elk Grove Village IL 60007 • (847) 952-1881
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• Chaser's Sports Bar & Grill (Niles • Lake Zurich • Schiller Park)

Friendly neighborhood bar serving salads, homemade pizzas, jumbo wings, pastas, bbq ribs and more. Begin your meal with one of Chaser's famous appetizers including nachos, breaded mushrooms and flaming Saganaki (OPA)! Daily food and drink specials include 1/2 off pizzas (Mon), 89 cent boneless wings (Wed) and $20 imported buckets (Fri).
9003 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles IL 60714 • (847) 470-8800
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• Yianni's OPA! Greek Cuisine (Bannockburn)

Using the most wholesome ingredients available, Yianni's serves authentic Greek cuisine including dolmades, lamb chops, moussaka, chicken riganati, fresh seafood and hearty appetizers including flaming Saganaki (OPA)! Full bar and cocktails available. 2535 Waukegan Road, Bannockburn IL 60015 • (847) 607-9002
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• Union Ale House (Prospect Heights)

Executive chefs prepare creative, home-cooked meals at this friendly neighborhood pub and grill. Dishes include their flaming Saganaki, salads, award winning pizza, black angus burgers, prime rib and more. Full selection of domestic and craft beers along with brand name wines and liquors. Video gaming also available.
1211 S Wolf Road • Prospect Heights IL 60070 • (847) 947-8175
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• Ki's Steak & Seafood Restaurant (Glendale Heights)

Since 1934, this landmark restaurant has served prime aged steaks, fresh seafood, black angus burgers, bbq ribs and other signature dishes. Appetizers include calamari, baked oysters, shrimp de jonghe and flaming Saganaki (OPA)! Outdoor patio, Champagne Sunday brunch and catering available.
705 North Avenue, Glendale Heights IL 60139 • (630) 469-4757
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• Apolis Greek Street Food (Lisle)

Family recipes are used to prepare Greek style pork chops, skewers, chicken burgers, salad bowls and kabobs. Enjoy their famous Saganaki, gyros, dolmades, Greek style fries, pitas, dips and more. Kids meals, desserts and Greek beer available. Apolis can also cater any special event.
1109 Maple Ave • Lisle, IL 60532 • (331) 775-2135
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• Ellwood Steak and Fish House (DeKalb)

Refined and upscale restaurant serves prime cut USDA steaks, bone-in chops, fresh seafood, gourmet burgers, pastas, salads and more. Appetizers include calamari, shrimp de jonghe, salmon cakes, filet skewers and flaming Greek cheese Saganaki (OPA)! Unwind in the 1879 lounge. Full wine list, desserts and after dinner drinks.
2219 Sycamore Road, DeKalb IL 60115 • (815) 901-0270
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• Draft Picks Sports Bar (Naperville)

This spacious restaurant and bar serves great appetizers, flaming saganaki, burgers, wraps, salads, signature pizzas and more. Drink specials, live entertainment, plenty of flat screen tv's and private banquet room for up to 100 people.
523 Fairway Drive, Naperville IL 60563 • (630) 904-1111
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• Artopolis Cafe Bakery Agora (Chicago)

European-style cafe serves their unique ouzo saganaki, brick oven pizza, signature sandwiches, salads, flatbreads and more in a cozy loft setting. The bakery features artisan breads, sweets, cakes and Greek frappes. Full bar, wine list and wines by the glass. Shop for a variety of specialty items and gifts in the Agora gift shop.
306 S Halsted Street, Chicago IL 60661 • (312) 559-9000
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• Jameson's Charhouse (Arlington Heights)

The popular steakhouse serves award-winning steaks, chops, filet mignon, rack of lamb, black angus burgers and more in their cozy multi-level dining areas and lounge. Appetizers include shrimp cocktail, oysters rockefeller, fried calamari and flaming Saganaki (OPA)! Private room can accommodate special events for up to 120 people.
1331 W Dundee Road, Arlington Heights IL 60004 • (847) 392-7100
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• Papagalino Pastry & Cafe Shop (Niles)

Celebrating over 20 years, this casual restaurant and bakery is known for their Greek/European pastries, gourmet wraps, sandwiches, souvlaki, pasta and flaming Saganaki (OPA)! Relax in the cozy dining room or outdoor patio with a Greek frappe and an assortment of their famous desserts including Tiramisu, Baklava, Black Forest Cake, Bougatsa and more.
9014 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles IL 60714 • (847) 803-9260
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• Jimmy's Charhouse (Elgin)

The spacious, yet cozy restaurant and bar is known for its certified aged steaks & chops, prime steak burgers, wood roasted specialties and great daily specials. Try the bbq ribs, mediterranean shrimp, fried calamari and flaming Greek cheese saganaki (OPA)! Catering for any special occasion, banquet room for up to 100 people.
2290 Point Blvd, Elgin IL 60123 • (847) 783-0200
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• Billy Boy's Restaurant (Chicago Ridge)

Since 1976, this friendly eatery on Chicago's southside has been serving their famous bbq ribs, gyros, chili cheese dogs, wraps, salads, signature sandwiches and more. Appetizers include homemade soup, mozzarella sticks, pizza puffs, spinach pie and Billy Boy's Saganaki Bites, a unique take on the classic Greek appetizer. Liquor department includes a full selection of brand name beers, wines and liquors.
6400 W 95th Street, Chicago Ridge IL 60415 • (708) 599-8406
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• Andrew's Open Pit & Spirits (Park Ridge)

Well known for their wood roasted chicken, rotisserie pork roast and bbq baby back ribs, the spacious restaurant and lounge also serves up steaks, chops, burgers, fresh seafood and more. Start your meal with great appetizers including flaming Saganaki (OPA)! Daily food and drink specials also available. Banquet room for any special event for up to 80 people.
2610 Dempster Street, Park Ridge IL 60068 • (847) 824-3800
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• Naxos, A Greek Island Restaurant (Itasca)

Taste the spirit of the Mediterranean with signature Greek items including Grilled Calamari, Cold Octopus Salad, Greek Meat Balls, Fresh Red Snapper, Beef Tenderloin Kabob and Roast Leg of Lamb. Enjoy Naxos famous Avgolemeno Soup and Flaming Saganaki. Full bar and catering.
933 W Irving Park Road • Itasca IL 60143 • (847) 250-5410
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• Woodfire Tavern (Long Grove)

The contemporary restaurant and pub serves their signature barbecue, pizza, burgers, appetizers, salads, wraps and more. Enjoy the sports themed pub where guests can unwind with food and drink while big screen tv's show all the latest sports action. Start your meal with a flaming Saganaki! Private room available for any special event.
4868 IL-83 • Long Grove IL 60047 • (847) 478-1160
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• Demetri's Greek Restaurant (Deerfield)

Serving the north shore for over three decades, Demetri's offers classic Greek items including Moussaka, Fresh Seafood, Grilled Octopus, Roast Leg of Lamb, Gyros Platter and more. Guests also love the flaming Saganaki, Greek Salad, Jumbo Shrimp, Dolmades and Avgolemeno (Egg Lemon Soup). Cozy outdoor patio in warmer months.
660 Lake Cook Road • Deerfield IL 60015 • (847) 940-0777
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• American Tap Pub & Eatery (Addison)

Great food, craft beers, video gaming and fun abound at this popular local pub and eatery. The menu includes flaming Saganaki (OPA!), burgers, wings, flat breads, salads, sandwiches, wraps and great entrees including chicken kabobs, steak & frites, homemade meatloaf and more. Plenty of TV screens to enjoy all your favorite games. Great food and drink specials every day.
701 W Lake Street • Addison IL 60101 • (630) 628-5800
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• Spectrum Bar & Grill (Chicago)

Located in the heart of Chicago's Greektown on Halsted Street, the long standing sports bar is known for its great food, drinks and live entertainment. The menu boasts American, Greek and Cypriot influences famous for grilled souvlaki, flaming Saganaki, pork chops, thin crust pizza and more. Fully stocked bar with beer, wines and cocktails.
233 S Halsted Street • Chicago IL 60661 • (312) 715-0770
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• Thassos Greek Restaurant (Palos Hills)

The newest Greek restaurant on the south side, Thassos has already earned a reputation for its outstanding food including Chicken Riganati, Fresh Whole Sea Bass, Appetizers, Salads, Pastichio, Roast Lamb and more. Enjoy flaming Saganaki and other traditional Greek favorites in Thassos' dining room or spacious lounge area.
11011 SW Hwy • Palos Hills IL 60465 • (708) 671-8958
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• QP Greek Food With a Kick (Hoffman Estates)

Greek-style pitas, meatballs, skewers, ribs and chicken are just the beginning at this stylish Mediterranean eatery. Enjoy unique flavors with a kick in the clean and contemporary setting. Daily specials available along with QP's famous Saganaki and Avgolemeno Soup. Try the popular Greek Feta Pizza and Caesar Salad. Full Bar and catering.
830 N Roselle Road • Hoffman Estates IL 60169 • (224) 353-6999
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• Basil's Greek Dining (Aurora)

Blending old school values with modern flair, Basil's is a celebration of authentic Mediterranean dining serving appetizers, salads, pastas, shish kabobs, pork chops and more. Beautiful dining room with adjacent bar is the perfect setting to enjoy signature Greek dishes including Pastichio, Mediterranean Sea Bass, Grilled Octopus and Double Cut Lamb Chops. Private parties for up to 75 people.
4000 Fox Valley Center Drive • Aurora IL 60504 • (630) 692-1300
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• Blossom Cafe (Norridge)

A favorite family restaurant in Norridge, Blossom Cafe serves all your favorite breakfast items plus sandwiches, burgers, wraps, chicken, pasta, steaks and more. Popular Greek items include Greek chicken, salads, pork chops, Mediterranean Shrimp, Skirt Steak and flaming Saganaki. Banquet room available for up to 120 people.
8349 W Lawrence Ave • Norridge IL 60706 • (708) 453-5300
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• Alexander's Cafe (Elgin)

Enjoy an extensive menu at Alexander's featuring appetizers, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, tacos, chicken, pasta, fresh seafood and more. Grecian specialties include Athenian Salmon, Mediterranean Chicken, Greek Salad and flaming Saganaki. Weekend specials include Alexander's famous Prime Rib of Beef.
1725 N State St • Elgin IL 60123 • (847) 888-4146
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• Plateia Mediterranean Kitchen (Glenview)

A creative twist on traditional Greek cuisine, Plateia offers a refined setting to enjoy award winning Lamb Chops, Honey Custard Sweet Crepes, Biftekia, Chicken Skewers, Pastichio, Atlantic Grilled Salmon, Beet Salad, flaming Saganaki and more. Accommodating 20-150 people for private parties and other special events. Beautiful outdoor patio in seasonal months.
9860 N Milwaukee Ave • Glenview IL 60016 • (847) 296-2230
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