Chicago's best restaurants and summer activities according to the BRG team


Let’s get out there and enjoy the summer, shall we?! While I love everything about my team, one of my favorite parts of the little group we’ve put together is that we each happen to live in a different part of the city. I love how we each have a different perspective and experience, and truly believe that it makes us better real estate brokers. Between the six of us, we have nearly every square inch of the city covered! Today we’ve each put together our favorite local restaurants, outdoor activity and parks in our respective neighborhoods. Hopefully you can use our recos during the long weekend!

Julie Busby, Founder

Las Palmas, Club Lucky
I love Las Palmas because the food is amazing! It’s Mexican fusion, and my favorite meal there is fish tacos with a coconut mojito. If you go, try to sit in the “glass room,” which is a room of all windows--perfect for a cold winter day since it always feels like summer in there!

Club Lucky is a local favorite, and has been around forever. We go as a family and have a great time, and for date night because it’s so versatile. I also love to go with friends for a martini!

Outdoor activity: Ravina, Millenium Park Summer Music Series
I love listening to music outside in the summer! I love that both of these venues are BYO food and wine!

Park: Holstein Park
We love to go to the pool and splash park, and they even have a baby pool area too.


Liza Balistreri, Selling Partner

PR Italian Bistro
There are so many reasons why we love this place! First:  the owners. Such a lovely couple. Stefano, the Venetian-born chef, and his wife, Juliana, are always there running the kitchen and the front of the house. The home-made pizza crust is To. Die. For. And they have a delizioso wine list.  Every time we go, there’s a mix of date night couples, groups of friends, and families with kiddos. On a side note, we will never forget walking by the restaurant with our daughter one day after a coooold Cubs game, and Stefano opened the doors for us before the restaurant was even open and offered us tea while we waited for an Uber!

Park: Gallagher Way at Wrigley
This isn’t actually a Park District park, but this newly developed open space is a hub for community activity. On any given day you can swing by and have an adventure with their action-packed calendar:  farmers markets, live music, family movie nights, kids music classes, and workout classes… just to name a few! Even when there’s no official planned event, the splash pad is always full of kids and families spread out on the turf with picnics and games. It’s the perfect spot to grab a coffee (or a drink, if the beer tents are open!) and just hang out for the day.

Outdoor Activity: Montrose Bird Sanctuary
This is such a quiet, secluded part of Chicago that so many people don’t even know about.  Just past the Montrose boat harbor and right next to Montrose Beach, the sanctuary is full of little trails for bird watchers but also a great spot for kids to explore or for photographers to grab great shots (I’ve personally done a shoot there and it was such a great location).  Plus it’s right next to the best beach bar in the city, The Dock, which makes you feel like you are on vacation every time you are there!


Jane Lintelmann, Director of Operations

Tac Quick
I love the super traditional thai food at Tac Quick. We always get the Crispy On-Choy salad along with a few other things, and of course a cheap beer or two--all for under $40!

Outdoor activity: Ribfest, Greek Fest
One of the best parts of summertime in Chicago is all the streets festivals! Rib Fest and Greek Fest are our favorites because of the food, duh!

Park: Buena Circle Park
I have a dog and a baby, so this park is perfect for me because the dog park and playground are right next to each other--a win win.


Pamela Moran, Selling Partner

I love literally every single menu item at Avec, you cannot go wrong!

Outdoor activity:
There is nothing better in the summer than exploring the city by foot with my dog. I will grab a cold drink, and walk through the city streets for hours.

Park: Montgomery Ward Park
The new River Walk is such an amazing asset for the city, and Ward Park runs along a good portion of the River Walk so you get great water and green views. There’s also a great dog park area.


Kenya Saldierna, Client Concierge and Marketing Manager

Toast, Quartino
BYOB for the win at Toast! Bring a bottle of vodka for brunch bloody mary’s and get the chorizo benedict. And though it’s not in my neighborhood, I can’t not mention the bolognese or penne alla vodka at Quartino because it is truly out of this world!

Outdoor activity: 606 Trail
I love to walk the 606 all the way to another neighborhood in the summer--such a fun way to see something new.

Park: Churchill Park
I love to spend time at Churchill Park, especially when they run their free movies in the park programming.  


Maggie Yandel, Selling Partner

The Lakefront Restaurant in the Theater on the lake building
I love the atmosphere and the great food! It’s a nice place to go for brunch, dinner with friends or a glass of wine to wrap up the work day with a beautiful view of the skyline and lake Michigan. I am stuck between their biscuits and gravy and their cereal milk French toast every time I go for brunch, and usually end up getting the French toast ,which is covered in maple butter, Fruity Pebble custard, and pebble dust. I have a bit of a sweet tooth. My favorite drink on the menu is the Undertow (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Fernet Branca, Honey Syrup, Lemon, Bitters, Ardbeg Rinse), but there are so many good ones to choose from!

Favorite outdoor activity/ park: Running through Lincoln Park
I like to run on Lake Shore Drive and I get there on the paths through Lincoln Park. I also usually walk through Lincoln Park to get to my soccer games on the Lincoln Park South fields off of Lasalle and LSD.  The games at the beginning of the season are always freezing cold with the wind off the lake! I also love walking to North Ave. beach and hanging out with friends in my free time!