Saturday is my favorite day. After a long week of classes and hard work, I spend my Saturday with friends having fun. And if you’re anything like me, fun always involves some great food.
I usually spend weekend mornings at crew practice with my team, and I like to spend my afternoons hanging out with my friends from my house. Maybe we’ll hop on the CTA to check out a museum, or we’ll stay in and watch a movie. No matter what we do, come dinner time, I’ll be hungry.
The UChicago dining halls are closed on Saturday nights, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t great food to be found on campus, in the neighborhood of Hyde Park, and all around Chicago. With all of these exciting options, making plans for Saturday dinners with my friends is often one of the highlights of my week. Here are some of my go-to Saturday night dinner plans:
- Chinatown. Chinatown is only a few stops away from campus on the Red Line and is home to some of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. Here you can find food from many different regions in China, including tons of delicious dim sum, as well as Korean food, Thai food, and great desserts. I recommend making a fun night out of dinner in Chinatown by getting a group of friends together to do karaoke at one of the many spots in the neighborhood!
- Wicker Park. Wicker Park, one of the coolest neighborhoods in Chicago, is the home to many small businesses and restaurants. Getting there can take a while, but there’s so much to do that it’s worth making a day out of the trip. Grab some coffee and get some work done in one of the many coffee shops, comb through some boutiques and thrift stores, and get some dinner before heading back to campus. One of my favorite restaurants in the city, Lonesome Rose, is one stop away on the Blue Line.
- Medici on 57th (The Med). If you don’t feel like straying too far from campus, there are plenty of dining options in our neighborhood of Hyde Park. A classic spot for UChicago students is Medici on 57th (affectionately known as The Med). Always busy on a Saturday night, you’re sure to run into some friends (and maybe some professors) while looking over their extensive menu. Their burgers and pizza are popular, but I am partial to their spinach lasagna. If the weather is nice, get takeout from the Med Cafe, their takeout location next door, and walk over to the Promontory Point to have a picnic on the lake!
- Strings Ramen. Sometimes when it’s cold out, you don’t want to stray too far for something that will get you warmed up. Luckily, beloved Chicago chain Strings Ramen opened a location in Hyde Park this winter, just a 10-minute walk from campus. I recommend their seafood miso ramen, but everything is good! If you’re feeling ambitious, you can try their Monster Ramen challenge: finish a bowl of their spiciest ramen in 20 minutes and get a gift card and t-shirt!
- Cooking with friends. Sometimes a home-cooked meal is all you need. When this is the case, I like to go grocery shopping and cook dinner with my friends in our house kitchen! Every house at UChicago has a kitchen that is shared amongst all of the residents. In my house, we have an event at the end of each quarter called Carbo Loading, where we all get together and cook a carb-heavy meal before finals. Cooking with my friends is always a relaxing way to spend a Saturday evening.
- Hutchinson Commons (Hutch). There are Saturdays where I am busy or don’t feel like cooking or going out to eat. When this is the case, I got to Hutchinson Commons, a food court-style dining area on campus that houses outposts of some local restaurants. During the week, you can buy food using Maroon Dollars, but on Saturday nights you can use a meal swipe for a quick and easy dinner. I especially recommend their falafel!
Taking a night every week to try something new with my friends has helped me create amazing memories and learn more about the city we call home. With so many neighborhoods to explore and cuisines to sample, my time at UChicago so far has truly been a culinary adventure!