Unlike most other book shows, CIROBE is a one-city operation (hint: the C does not stand for closeouts). As those who've attended CIROBE—many of them 15-year veterans—know well, Chicago lives up to its rep as a mecca for foodies. Herewith, some favorite eateries of several regulars.
Joseph Fortin, sales director, Book Sales Inc.: "Gene & Georgetti [312-527-3718, 500 N. Franklin St.] serves very good steak. It's family-owned and goes back a number of years. And Coco Pazzo [312-836-0900, 300 W. Hubbard St.] in the warehouse area serves a great combination of Italian and seafood."
Marshall Smith, CIROBE cofounder: "I have to preface this by saying it's hard for me to go to this restaurant during the show, because I always go for lunch: Moon Palace [312-225-4081, 216 W. Cermak Rd.] in Chinatown. The hot-and-sour soup there is about as good as any in the Western world."
Brad Jonas, CIROBE cofounder: "Naha [312-321-6242, 500 N. Clark St.] is my favorite restaurant. It continues to be inventive and impressive—great food, great service and it's always fun."
Gene Paquette, v-p, Powell's Books Wholesale: "This is a place everyone goes, Tuscany [312-829-1990, 1014 W. Taylor St.], and it has great legs. Its front dining room is still one of the great places in Chicago to have a meal."
Chris Eaton, v-p of purchasing, American Book Company: "Lawry's the Prime Rib [312-787-5000, 100 E. Ontario St.]. It's plain, but it's a good place to get great beef. It's fun for a group of people and not overly expensive."
Scott Profitt, Main Book Shop, Sarasota, Fla.: "We're sort of stick-in-the-muds. My wife's favorite place is Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill [312-661-0381, 449 N. Clark St.]. We go there every year and it's consistently wonderful—great margaritas and great tequilas. For lunch, right there in the Hilton, Kitty O'Shea's [312-294-6860, 720 S. Michigan Ave.] does a leek-and-potato soup and has Guinness Stout on tap that I have at least once every show."
Lawrence Adamo, sr. sales representative, Abrams: "Food is always part of these events. People work all day, and they're starving. I used to love going to Printer's Row, which closed. It's just a lament. Subsequently I went to Rhapsody [312-786-9911, 65 E. Adams St.] by Symphony Hall and Crofton on Wells [312-755-1790, 535 N. Wells]. They were both very nice."
Karen Thomas, Kudzu Book Traders: "The Kudzu consensus is Wildfire [312-787-9000, 159 W. Erie St.], which has a neat atmosphere, and Sullivan's of Chicago [312-527-3510, 415 N. Dearborn], which has really, really great steaks."
Caroline Green, sales and marketing manager, Phaidon Press: "I thought Blackbird [312-715-0708, 619 W. Randolph] was quite lovely. The chef won the James Beard Best Chef of the Midwest in 2004."
Roberta Rubin, owner, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court: "Kevin Restaurant [312-595-0055, 9 W. Hubbard St.] is wonderful, good food and a beautiful presentation. One restaurant I love is Park Grill Chicago [312-521-7275, 11 N. Michigan Ave.] in the new Millennium Park. It's fun because there's an ice-skating pond in front of it. Opera [312-461-0161, 1301 S. Wabash Ave.] is very crazy, avant garde. And then there's always little Italy and an old favorite, The Rosebud [312-942-1117, 1500 W. Taylor St.]."