5 DIY restaurants to try around Chicago this weekend

Chicago If your Dad taught you anything, it's the value of doing things for yourself -- provided those things don't involve live electrical wires. Or sex. Or sex AND live electrical wires. So make Dad proud this weekend by hitting these five do-it-yourself Chicago restaurants that put you in charge.

Blackwood BBQ: This counter-service BBQ spot is fit for on-the-go lunch crowds, especially if said crowds like Angus beef brisket smothered in PBR-infused BBQ sauce, and Panko-and-cheddar-crusted mac & cheese. You'll be tasked with picking both the meat (pork, brisket, chicken), the make (salad, sandwich, platter), and any of five different BBQ sauce styles. Continue Reading

Blaze Pizza

Blaze Pizza: People have been calling this speedy pizza joint “the Chipotle of pizzas” for a few good reasons: its efficient assembly line-style, reasonable prices, and a build-it-yourself option for their 11in pizzas. Choose between regular or gluten-free crust, six sauces, seven cheeses, and a selection of basic meats and veggies.

Naf Naf Grill

Naf Naf Grill: Can you say "wallet-friendly Middle Eastern fare"? Can you say it in an Irish accent that sounds kinda Jamaican? Cool. Things are pretty simple here: you choose your meat, your meal, and your sides, then re-choose them when you realize you didn't order a fresh-baked pita with marinated chicken shawarma, homemade fries, and a zillion other meal accompaniments like tahini and hot pepper mix.

Flickr/H. Michael Miley

iCream: Get in touch with your inner-mad scientist at this futuristic ice cream shop in Wicker Park, where you pick from six liquid bases (ice cream, milk shake, low-fat yogurt, etc.), a variety of sweeteners, and over 30 flavors, which they then transform into ice cream, thanks to an industrial stand mixer outfitted with a state-of-the-art liquid nitrogen tank.


Falafill: Hello, array of Middle Eastern-inspired fixins that run the gamut from pickled mango and ginger, to cooked-to-order falafel and baba ghanoush.