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April 15, 2005

Dining Out:
Killer Margarita's and So Much More!

BY
ANDY FARRIESTER

Killer Margarita's and So Much More!
How many times have you walked by that restaurant on Clark Street? You know? The one that supposedly has "Killer Margaritas". It's time to stop walking by and run in, fast as you can! You may ask me. "Why should I run in as fast as I can?" Please sit and let me explain. Welcome to Andy's tour guided expedition of eating our way in any given neighborhood. This month, we are starting on Belmont and heading east. For some people may construe this as a walk past a plethora of noisy clubs, tattoo parlors, androgynous kids, dressed or lack of, for the evenings festivities which are under way. No, tonight will not be a walk through of that certain sex shop with the whip and sling. No. This short Jaunt will take us safely away from the seedy side of Belmont and onto Clark. Once you are on Clark, you're almost there. Be strong, my young one's. The smell of coffee coming from the corner is alluring but I need for you to be strong. Fight the urge to give up 10% of your weekly salary for a sub par cup of dark roasted coffee. Once you have passed that threshold, you are in the clearing. I can see Cesar's up ahead. The glowing neon beckons us to come in. The sidewalks are tricky in these here parts. So stand your ground, or you're bound to end up hitting the pavement in the street. We're here. Just look into these massive windows looking out onto the street. Press your face against the pane, just like you did at the department store every Christmas. "Oooooh, what's that?" You ask. That, my friend, is what I've been talking about ever since we got off the damn el...That is the signature drink here at Cesar's. "The Killer Margarita" a pleasant punch of Tequila, triple sec and Lime. Of course, Cesar's has to do up everyone in town with the dizzying selections of Margaritas that they have to offer.

Killer Margarita's and So Much More!
Cesar's is a family owned and managed, with two restaurants. The original stands at 3166 North Clark, across the street from The Pointe shopping center. The second location is in a beautiful brown stone at 2924 North Broadway, on the corner of Oakdale and Broadway. I feel somewhat silly even giving you directions. You know that you know this place, or someone you know has mentioned it before. I mean, hello! " KILLER MARGARITAS !" That should say it all. Hopefully you can make your way to the correct place without veering too far off course. Both restaurants are brightly lit from the outside with every color under the neon rainbow, touting their margaritas. So, as long as you know what to look for, you'll be fine. I'm merely your guide to get you here. Please stop me along with way if you have any questions. I will do my best to answer all. Today our adventure starts out at the Belmont L station (Belmont/Sheffield). As we leave the station, we will head East on Belmont toward Clark Street. The original Cesar's will be right around the corner at Belmont and Clark. You may have noticed it before, the place with large windows looking out onto Clark Street. Some of the best people watching can be had here. They didn't lie to me, the margaritas were most definitely "KILLER". Now, we will make our way to the newest member of the Cesar's family, the Broadway location.

Killer Margarita's and So Much More!
Cesar's, 2924 North Broadway; 773-296-9097

Cesar's on Broadway is a completely different monster than that of its counterpart on Clark. The restaurant is housed in a majestic building, rising above Broadway and Oakdale. The neon signs, dotting almost every square inch of the facade, should make it easy for you to locate if you become lost on your way. The interior of Cesar's is just as bright and colorful as the neon signs that light up this stretch of Broadway at night. Walls painted in bright hues of yellow and orange are set off by colorful murals depicting everything from a skeleton imbibing on a "Killer Margarita" to one in the just opened Last Call Lounge that looks suspiciously like someone that I know; surrounded my something that all men have...Take my word for it. You have to see this mural to understand what I'm saying. Cesar's is four floors of fun, food and Margaritas. Now, to the reason we are here in the first place. The food and Margarita's!

Killer Margarita's and So Much More!
For starters, I recommend the Tortipizza, which is exactly what it sounds like. A "pizza", with layer upon layer of Chihuahua cheese, refried beans, fresh, ripe tomatoes and onions. It’s a great choice for an appetizer to share between two. Be sure to wash this first course down with, what else? A margarita of your choice, frozen, on the rocks; salt or no. Whichever way you take your poison, Cesar's will ensure that you enjoy it. After racking my brain with the mathematical possibilities as to how many ways one can get a Margarita here, I've come to the conclusion that you can have it almost any way you want it. I can only speak from experience, that after your first "Killer Margarita", you will most definitely have to venture into the entree section of the menu. Out of the massive selection that I had to choose from, I highly suggest you try the carne asada. A more than accommodating serving of skirt steak, grilled to your liking. With a cut such as this, I would only ask that the chef to grill it just above Medium Rare. At least, that is my preference. All entrees are served with rice, beans and a cup of soup. After being served a meal fit for a King, I wouldn't mind dipping into one more margarita. Not a restaurant to be outdone, Cesar's offers daily specials, Monday thru Thursday. Please see ChicagoPride.com's daily calendar for a list of said specials. Daily specials are only applied per diner, with order of an entree. These daily specials are only the tip of the margarita-burg, here at Cesar's. Just one visit to the restaurants web-site; www.killermargaritas.com, and you could be the lucky winner of a dinner for two or a party for you and ten friends, held upstairs in the Last Call Lounge . Know that you are lucky, if you live in this neighborhood. It's not often that you run across a business in a tightly populated neighborhood, as Lakeview, where the owners literally give away their wares to ensure that you make many return visits. I, for one, will be there when you are; almost always.

Cesar's hours are Monday thru Thursday, 11 am to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday 11 am to 11 pm, with exceptions of Last Call Lounge which is open till midnight on Friday and Saturdays. The restaurant will be open Sundays, soon. For lunch, there is an Express Menu . Menu items that make it easy for you to grab a bite in that precious time called lunch break. Why not grab one margarita just so that you can make it through the remainder of the day. Cesar's also boasts the largest sidewalk cafe in this neck of the wood. I've known many who can whittle away a day, putting back margarita after margarita. NO! I'm not talking about you, Trista. I'm talking about me. Ok!? You can also host your party at Cesar's. Be it a small get together with you and twelve friends or an ego stroking one for you and your small, intimate gathering of one hundred. Cesar's prides itself on ensuring that every guests needs are met and that you stumble home safely. The restaurant continues it's gracious ways by offering ChicagoPride.com Members a 20% discount now through May 7th. (download the VIP coupon)

Now that our tour is coming to an end, I implore you to sit and relax at the bar with a MEGA margarita. Order up a plate of appetizers and know that you are one of the lucky ones that this place caters to. Cesar's is a restaurant with a downtown sensibility in an uptown neighborhood. A place where friends meet and you're more than likely to make new friends. Some people say that tragedy brings people closer together but I believe that what actually brings people together is a bunch of margaritas and good times. Until we meet again. Eat well, dance like no one's watching and remember to say I love you.

Cesar's daily specials (offer only valid with order of an entree)
Monday- $4 large margarita
Tuesday- $2 Corona beer
Wednesday- $4 Sangria
Thursday- $4 Lime Margarita

 
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