Today we wanted to share with you a review on our Greektown Chicago Staycation! I have grown up going to the Greek neighborhood with my family and created so many memories. I love hearing stories from my Yiayia and Papou about how the area has changed, the pride they have of their heritage and memories they have from when they were young going to the Greektown neighborhood.
When they approached us for a staycation we knew it was a great fit based on Stacy’s recent trip to Greece, my fond memories of the area and my culture. If you follow us on social media, you probably saw a lot of our staycation fun (you can also check out our story highlights to catch up!), but we wanted to include a longer review here for all our friends that live in Chicago and all that plan to visit! Make sure to add Greektown Chicago on your places to visit when in the city!
About Greektown Chicago
Greektown Chicago’s neighborhood is located just west of the bustling loop. Greektown is a dining and nightlife district in Chicago where Old World traditions are alive and well. The language is still heard in the neighborhood and the community is still full of so much pride. Annually Greektown holds an Independence Day Parade, Taste of Greektown and celebrations around Greek Easter.
Where to grab Coffee
Ground Up Coffee and Bites
We had a day filled with lots of fun activities ahead. To start off our Greektown Chicago staycation we headed to Ground up, which is a local coffee shop located on Van Buren and Peoria. This coffee shop was filled with local photographers, teachers/ coaches, college students and locals enjoying a some delicious coffee and bites on a rainy December morning. We loved the decor and especially took a liking to the little mason jars hanging in the windows filled with coffee beans. We thought it was such a cute little touch! Stacy had a Greek Coffee and Raspberry cream cheese muffin (must have!). Maria had a latte (must have!) and an old fashioned donut! After we enjoyed a warm cup of coffee and treats we headed to check into our hotel!
Where to Stay
The Crowne Plaza in Greektown
The Crowne Plaza is situated right in the heart of Greektown Chicago, all of the spots we went to are a short walk from the hotel. When we arrived the staff was friendly upon arrival and the hotel was clean and comfortable! Situated right next to the lobby is Dine a restaurant and lounge. We loved the lounge bar and in the morning made our way down to Dine for some coffee and their breakfast buffet. Head to Dine for any meal or grab a drink at their bar before you make your way out to explore all the Greektown has to offer!
After we strolled around the hotel, we headed to our room! The room was spacious and we couldn’t get over how nice the lighting in the bathroom was. Usually hotel lighting is very dim, but it was very bright and the bathroom itself was quite spacious. We had a nice room with a couch and desk. Perfect for someone that was traveling and in a separate room was our bed. Attached to the bedroom was a balcony that overlooked the loop to the right and Greektown to the left.
Thank you so much for the warm welcome!! The Macaroons, Strawberries and Champagne were such a wonderful touch! We enjoyed that bottle before dinner and blowouts!
Tips: Parking at the Crowne Plaza is located next to the hotel in a residential building.
Trixie Girl Blow Dry Bar
Do you need your hair and makeup done before dinner in Greektown? Why not stop at Trixie Girl Blow Dry Bar and let someone pamper you before then. Before dinner at Athena, Stacy and I were lucky to get our hair done. There’s nothing I love more than someone blow drying my hair, because it’s my least favorite thing to do when getting ready! The ladies who worked there were so kind and the space was very clean. Situated perfectly in the middle of Greektown this is a great spot to go to before your night out! Your hair is ready, your outfit is picked out and now you just have to decide where to eat! Don’t worry we have you covered!
Tip: I asked for Victoria Secret Waves! Their services range from $15-$70 and for the blowouts we received cost $40.
Dining and Nightlife
From Monroe and Halsted to Van Buren and Halsted you have options when it comes to the Greek dining and nightlife. This is the main drag of Greektown Chicago and where you will feel that those traditions are alive and well. For dinner, we went to one of the newer restaurants called Athena. Athena is perfect for large and small groups.The interior design and architecture is so beautiful. I have been to this restaurant a number of times for Easter, Birthday’s, family celebrations and date nights. One of my favorite times to visit is during the summer. They have been voted with one of ‘Chicago’s Best Outdoor Patios!’ Their patio and retractable roof are so wonderful for the warmer months in Chicago. Stacy and I cozied up by the fire, while we dined on some absolutely delicious food. Now on to what we ate!
What we ate:
- Saganaki: Aka Flaming cheese, is a hot appetizer and a crowd favorite. Not only does it taste delicious, but it definitely make a great start to your meal. It’s made of Goat cheese lightly breaded in flour and flamed in brandy. OPA!
- Pita bread with Hummus, Tzatziki (Yogurt, Garlic and Cucumber spread) and Tirokafteri (Spicy feta cheese spread).
- Pipperies Florines: Roasted red peppers stuffed with feta cheese and herbs
- Octapodi: Char-broiled octopus seasoned in olive oil and vinegar. This was my first time having Octopus. I am always weary to try it based on how it looks, but this is delicious and one of my favorite dishes we had!
- Lamb Chops: Char-broiled lamb chops on the bone, with grilled vegetables. This was cooked perfectly, the meat was so tender and juicy!
- Braised Lamb: Lamb on the bone braised in tomato sauce, served with rice and potato.
- Baklava: Layers of honey and walnuts in light crisp filo dough
- Galaktobouriko A light lemon flavored custard in honey dipped filo dough.
We paired our food with some delicious Greek red wines, that our server Sam had suggested for us! Alex the manager and Sam our server, were so wonderful and made us feel right at home at Athena. All of their recommendations were delicious. We were blown away by everything we ate!
Tips: Ask your server for their recommendations or bring this list with you! You will not be disappointed. Driving to Athena? They have Valet parking.
Brunch at Meli Cafe
This is definitely a hot spot for brunch in the Greektown Chicago neighborhood. We arrived Sunday morning at 11:00. It was filled with families, ladies who brunch and other patrons who were dressed in their Sunday best. When we arrived I was starving, I have no idea how after the amount of delicious food we ate the night prior. I didn’t think I’d ever be hungry again! Their menu is filled with farm- to- table dishes, hormone and antibiotic free meat and fresh squeezed juice. Glad our appetites came back, because everything we had at Meli was so yummy! This is definitely on my list of places to bring my family back to for brunch.
What we ate:
- Stacy had the Avocado Toast: With Mashed avocados, grilled corn, black beans, jalapeño and chipotle aioli. Served on multigrain toast and topped with Mediterranean sea salt.
- Maria had the Traditional Challah French toast with a blueberry compote!
- We also shared a side of bacon that was perfectly crispy, just how we like it!
- We also shared three different juices and lots and lots of coffee! They had a really large menu, I can’t wait to go back and try something different!
Tips: It seemed like the brunch rush was before 11:00 am, plan to go after!
National Hellenic Museum
National Hellenic Museum is located right either at the start or end of the neighborhood depending on which direction you come from. This is the second oldest American institution focusing on and celebrating the culture of Greek and Greek Americans. As a Greek American I learned so much more about my culture and the experience my ancestors had immigrating from Greece to America. The museum is a great way to end out your time in the Greektown Chicago neighborhood. Plus admission is affordable! It’s quiet and a great place to really take in the culture of what started this neighborhood.
Tips: There isn’t a lot of parking near the museum, but you may be able to find street parking. The blue line is a short walk and it’s also within walking distance of the hotel.
Thank you Greektown Chicago, we had an amazing 24 hours exploring so many wonderful things your neighborhood has to offer! For more information, updates and what is happening in the neighborhood check out their website here!
Thanks for stopping by! Efcharistó Pou Perásate!