Despite its myriad dazzling options, it's heartbreakingly typical to emerge from the grocery store carrying nothing but Beefaroni and two tubes of sunflower seeds, as together they are only 99cents. Feast at a restaurant that succeeds where you fail, at The Grocery
Cheffed by a 15-year resto vet (Pops For Champagne, Japonais, one sixtyblue), Grocery's a dark-wood paneled bistro made casually historic with old-school Chi and Evanston paintings, and serving up straightforward gourmet grub sourced mainly from non-specialty supermarket runs (or walks, as there's a Dominick's across the street). The streamlined lunch menu rotates soups (e.g., potato leek w/ baked pancetta), salads (poached egg atop prosciutto/asparagus/frisee/parm), and sandwiches like Italian beef and olive oil-poached tuna w/ 9-yr aged cheddar (8-yr aged cheddar was too busy watching Biker Mice). Dinner's more robust, with shared plates hot (roasted boneless pork ribs w/ sauerkraut & apples, oysters Rockefeller) and cold ("Caesar Style" steak tartare), hearty mains (sausage-stuffed chicken thighs w/ Gorgonzola polenta, tagliatelle w/ calamari & clams in spicy tomato-olive ragout), and desserts like a chocolate-stuffed Monte Cristo, more fattening than a Four Musketeers.
As for booze, Grocery's strictly BYOB. Stop by the wine shop next door, and they'll suggest pairings based on the resto's menu, assuring you won't waste valuable time amongst the dazzling options, only to walk out choking your Thunderbird.