When I found out that it was just steps off the red line at Belmont, I made plans with my friends, Lynnie and Debbie, to make a day of it - do some sampling at Home Run Inn and then make our way to Daley Plaza for the opening day of the Christkindlmarket. The location is super convenient and it made for a fun trip as we planned our day around it.
So, us three suburban gals hopped on the red line and hit Home Run Inn between lunch and dinner (they're open for lunch Friday - Sunday) ready to try out pizza and more. There's a nice selection of cocktails that we perused on our tablet menu, including this totes adorbs "Tea for Two" served in a carafe in this cute bucket with two glasses for the classic drink that is super smooth and goes down probably a little too easy. Lynnie enjoyed her sampling.
Debbie opted for a sweeter beverage, the Georgia Peach.
And I went for a refreshing glass of hard root beer.
On the appetizer menu, we tried out the popular bleu cheese fries. Not just bleu cheese fries, but but bleu cheese fries topped with bacon. I can't kid anyone into thinking that it is remotely healthy, but it is so worth the calories. This could have easily been my meal and I could have stopped there, but there was more to taste...so much more. So I begrudgingly stopped myself after a little scoop and saved room to keep tasting.
Next we tried out the bruschetta, a classic appetizer that I love. Every place seems to have their own little spin on it and I loved that rather than mini toasted Italian bread slices, this was served with large, thick slices of garlic cheese bread. Then that little bit of fresh parmesan on top finished it nicely. Again, I wanted to overindulge. That bread melted in your mouth.
Other appetizer options included mozzarella sticks, pretzel sticks with beer cheese dipping sauce and brown mustard and Tuscan white bean hummus.
With five salads on the menu, we had to sample one, so we settled on the HRI Signature Salad - a blend of romaine with marinated pasta, parmesan, bacon, black olives, sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans and craisins tossed with house gorgonzola Italian dressing. This was a great mix of flavors and textures and the dressing was very light. The salads come in small, entree or family portions. Pictured is a small. I'm thinking the family size would feed a small army. :) Portions of everything were very generous and great for sharing.
Now onto the centerpiece of the sampling - the pizza. I don't think I had ever tried anything besides the sausage pizza, so I wanted to sample something different. These are the 8" personal size pizzas, which each had six slices.
There are a number of specialty pizzas on the menu along with the option of creating your own. Some of the featured pizzas are Laura's Favorite with spinach and plum tomatoes on garlic butter crust, the Mediterranean with Turkey sausage, roasted red peppers, black olives and fresh garlic and the Garlic Fireball with sausage, jalapeño peppers and giardiniera on garlic butter crust.
We tried out the Nick's Super with sausage, mushroom and bell peppers and onions and a grilled artichoke, roasted garlic and spinach (and we added onions,) with a white wine cream sauce. Both were fantastic with great flavor, a nice flaky crust and perfectly cooked.
If somehow you live around Chicago and don't prefer pizza (is that even possible?), you can also choose from a variety of sandwiches and pastas. They also have a kids menu with options of pizza, mac & cheese, chicken nuggets, grilled chicken with carrot sticks or rigatoni.
By the time we got to dessert, I didn't think I could take another bite, but managed a couple. We tried the Ghirardelli Chocolate Bomb Cupcake. They've also got three other gourmet cupcakes and they even have some in to-go cups at the front counter. This one had rich, dark Ghirardelli chocolate cupcake with chocolate chips, topped with creamy mousse and chocolate fudge. This chocoholic gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up.
And at the recommendation of manager, Fernando, we also sampled their Signature Cookie Monster dessert. Actually, this is the mini version. It's got a warm chocolate cookie crust topped with vanilla ice cream whipped cream, chocolate chips and chocolate sauce.
The atmosphere is trendy, yet cozy. Loved the exposed brick and the hardwood floors that were flawlessly smooth, but without that blinding shiny glossy look. Props on the bar, too, where the brick is carried over with subtle under lighting, giving a classy vibe.
And I always say that a place can have the best food, but the experience isn't complete unless the service is awesome. Shout out to Tiwan for the great job as a server for our group.
HOME RUN INN
CHICAGO - LAKEVIEW LOCATION
3215 N. Sheffield Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
***Disclosure: I did receive a complimentary meal. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.