A friend of mine who I used to work with in Cleveland is in the Chicago office this week for a conference, so I went out with her and a few friends to grab dinner after work yesterday. Typically, in cases like these we will take an out-of-towner to a decent restaurant downtown because the visitor usually stays at a downtown hotel. But this week there is some large plastics expo/trade show, so all the downtown hotels are full.
Yes, all of Chicago's downtown hotels have no rooms available (at least not at a reasonable* rate). This actually happens more often than you would think. While Chicago is a big city we don't have a lot of hotel space in the downtown area, so the next time you're thinking of taking a trip here (and don't stay at my place) make sure to check the trade show schedule at McCormick Place. That might determine whether you can actually find a room.
Anyway, because T.Ro was staying out in the 'burbs, we had to find a restaurant out in the 'burbs. So one friend suggested a place out in Oakbrook Terrace called Redstone Grill. From the outside, it looked like any other chain restaurant in the 'burbs - with the exception of having the largest parking lot I had ever seen. It was easily 5-6 times larger than the actual restaurant itself, and populated largely with expensive sports cars with personalized license plates proclaiming "I U DOIN" and "DLCVITA". Obviously, a classy joint.
Once I met up with folks inside, one of them** told me that this place was the place in the area for swinging singles over 40 on the weekends. From the look of things inside, it was only slightly less so inside. Acres of slightly overweight, gold chain wearing, polo shirt and sports coat-clad bronzer aficionados lurked up by the bar, or tried to make conversation with the hostess - an attractive young woman in her early 20's who obviously believed that her DD's could defy gravity sans foundation garment. Who knows, maybe the "Look, my tits are level with my bellybutton" look draws the older guys.
The rest of the dinner was pretty uneventful, I have to admit. Although the waitress tried to peer pressure me into drinking more booze and needled me a bit when I only ate half my hamburger. But I wasn't disturbed, I had to drive 45 mintues to get home and the hamburger itself was a half-pound of beef. I wasn't about to let an aggressive waitress drive me to obesity and a DUI.
* Reasonable being less than $500 a night, probably
** Who had friends in the suburbs and had been there previously