Phil Smidt's: Hammond dining institution
October 20, 2007, Phil Smidt's closed their doors after 97 years of business. It's a shame but after 2002 when the Probst family sold the business, it never really was quite the same restaurant.
Named after its original owner, Phil Smidt's opened in 1910 in Roby Indiana. The original restaurant was destroyed in 1945 when an underground gas explosion leveled it, killing 2 people.
It moved to it's current location near the Hammond Marina in 1946. Many famous people have dined here over the years. The Smidt family owned the restaurant until 1976 when Phil's son Pete retired. Dining here is like going back in time, from the rose plates to the waitresses that look like they stepped out of the 1940s.
Favorite Dish: When we were first married in the late 80s/early 90s, Phil Smidt's was a treat for us, all you can eat perch for David, a big heap of fried shrimp for me. Frog legs is their other specialty.
Dinner starts with complimentary kidney bean salad, cottage cheese, coleslaw, beets and rolls.
Anthony's Cafe: Creative Cuisine
On business trips, I have the reputation of the "guy of finds the good restaurants". So with my reputation on the line last week I did a little study and came up with this little gem of a restaurant in downtown Highland (a suburb of Hammond?), actually just off Kennedy Avenue a few miles south of Hammond.
The 13 year old restaurant is situated at the east end of downtown Highland, a couple of block area off the main east/west drag through town. The main east/west road actually passes downtown just to the south, so you have to watch for the signs if traveling this way and exit into downtown Highland.
You enter through the restaurant (first picture) by walking by the outdoor seating area. The entrance is a small, tastefully decorated little alcove. This was after all in a former life somebodies home. Going up a few stairs to the right is a nicely stocked bar and then there are dining rooms to the left and right. We sat near the front of the restaurant on the right. Our server, Kristyn, greeted us warmly and took our drink orders (a diet Pepsi, a PBR and water for me). She then came back with homemade freshly baked Italian bread and butter which the 3 of us devoured.
Favorite Dish: To start off I ordered a homemade Polenta dish which consisted of 4 squares of polenta covered with cheese in a homemade sauce (picture #2).
I ordered the veal Gorgonzola (picture #3) which came with homemade mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables and as you can see from the picture was a good size portion. I took half the meal back to the hotel, put it into the hotel fridge and brought it home the next day for my wife to enjoy.
Co-Worker #1 ordered the Chicken Marsala (picture #4) which came with the same sides as mine.
Co-Worker #2 ordered the Chicken Alfredo (picture#5) and homemade soup.
Nobody was able to finish everything while we were at the restaurant, although the leftovers as I'm told were equally as delicious.
We opted not to have dessert to keep our waistlines from expanding too much after this delicious meal.
Whew, my reputation is still intact!!
Jack Binion's Steakhouse: High priced steaks for high rollers
Jack Binion's Steakhouse is located at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, although it's very close to where I live this is the 1st time that I've been there as the prices are higher here than even the big name steakhouses in Chicago. When I saw that they were participating in Chicago's 3rd annual restaurant week where they have set meals for a particular price ($32 for dinner this year), I decided to finally try it.
The restaurant was very busy, we asked our waitress and she said that the casino gives out coupons to their patrons that expire on the 15th and last day of the month and that people were trying to use them before they expire. I think she said the coupons were for $120 which may explain the high prices on the food here, they probably don't expect that a lot of people will just be coming here to eat and not gamble and a lot of the meals are either comped or paid for with coupons.
The interior is very nice, comfortable booths and many tables that look out over Lake Michigan although at night there is no view, during the day I imagine it's quite pretty.
You can make free reservations on Open Table
Favorite Dish: We started off with fried calamari with peppers ($11), very tasty and prepared correctly. The set menu was a house salad, 8 oz. filet in cognac sauce, baked potato and slice of New York style cheesecake for $32, restaurant week is the only time I believe they have a deal like this. Everything we had was extremely tasty, the filet was done perfectly (regular price $35). The baked potato was enormous and came with butter, cheddar cheese, sour cream and bacon bits ($9 on the menu although the steaks come with a choice of potato). The slice of cheesecake came topped with berries (regular price $9) and was a sizable portion, I'll be eating the remainder of it sometime today.
We saved at least $12 per person coming during restaurant week, while I'll probably not be tempted to go back here at regular prices, I'll certainly look for it again next year during restaurant week!
Blue Room Cafe: Coffee and lunch in downtown Hammond
There aren't a lot of places to get coffee or food in downtown Hammond so the Blue Room Cafe was a welcome addition when they opened a location here. What I really like about the cafe and it's owner John Vezmar, is that they are very active in promoting music in downtown Hammond, currently there are open mic nights on Tuesday night at 7pm
Favorite Dish: Although it's not on my diet every so often I'll sneak over here and get a frozen hot chocolate in the summer or a caramel apple cider or hot chocolate in the winter
El Taco Real: Family run Mexican restaurant
El Taco Real is our go to place for Mexican, we get carry out from here at least once or twice a month on Friday or Saturday night when we're looking to stay in and watch movies. One of these days I'll have to go and actually eat inside the restaurant! El Taco Real has been in Hammond since 1974 and is run by Raymundo Garcia, the 2nd generation of the Garcia family that opened the restaurant.
Favorite Dish: I always start off with a tub of their pico de gallo and yummy fresh chips, it's a standing order and we always get it. I usually get chicken enchiladas suizo although last night I got the queso fundido with chorizo that comes with soft tortillas
Lost Marsh Golf Club: Fine dining with a view
The new Frank Lloyd Wright inspired clubhouse for the Lost Marsh Golf Club is gorgeous, even the bathroom are done in the prairie style with rich wood and leaded glass throughout. Our 1st visit was for the grand opening and then one warm summer evening we headed back to have dinner out on the patio overlooking the golf course and the south basin of George Lake, a beautiful sunset was a nice touch to the evening. I believe the restaurant is somehow affiliated with Meyer's Castle in Dyer Indiana but it's not the same concept or food as Meyer's Castle is an Argentine/Brazilian all you can eat steak buffet and this place is not.
Favorite Dish: We ordered a couple of appetizers, fried calamari and crabcakes which were both good. We decided to split an entree, a seafood pasta special which was also good. The mixed drinks were reasonably priced as was the food, for fine dining in the area, I still give the nod to Keith's for the food but this place for the view.
Coach's Corner: A small sampling of Serbian food
One by one all of the Serbian and Croatian restaurants that we have found have been turned into Mexican restaurants (like Chicagoland needs more of those!) so I was excited when I read that the children of the owners of The Golden Shell had opened a place in the Hessville section of Hammond and that they were serving some of the Golden Shell favorites.
The Golden Shell was located on the East side of Chicago, one of my 1st real ethnic dining experiences, complete with tamburitza for entertainment and large plates of meat. Golden Shell closed down sometime in the mid 1990s, they tried to raffle it off and then I think the building burnt down *sigh*
Alas, Coach's Corner is not a reincarnation of Golden Shell, they serve some of the popular dishes but it's first and foremost a bar and I had forgotten how awful it is to eat in a smoke filled room. I'd rate this place a 4 for food but only a 2 for atmosphere, the wait staff was pleasant but I just can't get past the smoke.
Favorite Dish: David tried the large pljeskavica, a Serbian hamburger ($10.50), all meals come with a choice of soup or salad and choice of potatoes. It was very good and filling. I ordered the chicken parmesean ($8.95) which was actually chicken cordon bleu, breaded chicken wrapped around cheese and ham. It was also very good and very filling. They also serve cevapcici (Serbian sausage) and a lamb dish that was from the Golden Shell, the rest of the menu is American, burgers, sandwiches, etc.
Bob's Shrimp: Takeout shrimp
Last visit November 2, 2007
There's always a pretty big crowd waiting for shrimp on a weekend night but it is worth the wait, some of the best fried shrimp I've ever had. Fridays during Lent are especially big crowds.
This is strictly a take out joint, even if there are a couple of tables you wouldn't want to eat here. Don't let the appearance of the place run you off, I've eaten here dozens of times and the food is always good.
Favorite Dish: SHRIMP!
We've ordered other things, fried scallops, fried fish but the shrimp are the reason to go here.
JOHNEL'S RESTAURANT: FAMILY DINING
Located not far from the Quality Inn and right next to the Ramada Inn is JOHNEL'S RESTAURANT. As it is family dining the menu is quite good and reasonably priced. Hans had the Roast Sirloin of Beef with tender slices of seasoned roast beef au jus and came with mashed potatoes & gravy, a side of vegetables and a generous bowl of salad. I had fish and chips with four pieces of lightly battered fish, french fries and a generous bowl of salad.
The restaurant was bright and cheery and we had a very lovely young lady serving us.
Hours: Sunday to Saturday 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
House specialties include Athenian Chicken, Chicken Vesuvio, Breaded Veal
cutlet, Breaded pork tenderloin and country fried Steak. Also offered are seafood dishes, Stir Fry Entrees, Pasta Specialties, Gourmet Burgers, Sandwiches, Steak and eggs and breakfast items.\ such as pancakes, french toast and waffles.
Daily Specials -- Soups of the day -- Homemade cakes & pies
- Family Travel
Richway Gyros: Great gyros
Last visit: April 2007
If you're in a hurry and looking for a quick bite to eat, Richway Gyros is a good alternative to stopping for fast food. The gyro meat is cooked on a spit, my husband tells me that most of the other gyro places in the area use the prepackaged meat like you buy in the grocery store.
Favorite Dish: I always get the gyros, if you REALLY like meat, you can add extra for $1-2. If you get with everything on it, it will include a nice helping of cucumber sauce, tomato and onions. The fried mushrooms are also good.
In addition to gyros, there are many other offerings such as burgers, sandwiches, polish sausage, hot dogs, fries, onion rings, etc.
If you are eating in and need a drink, the combo meals are a good deal.
EDWARDO'S NATURAL PIZZA RESTAURANT: AWARD- WINNING PIZZA
I have to say that I have had many a Pizza in my lifetime, but nothing even comes close to the pizza we had at EDWARDO'S NATURAL PIZZA RESTAURANT. Their award-winning stuffed Pizza is absolutely to die for. Kristi ordered one stuffed with sausage and the other stuffed with pepperoni. As you can see in the accompanying pic, the cheese was just oozing out. Check the look on Ethan's face and you'll know what I mean. Thanks Kristi. It was awesome!!!
- Family Travel
Richway Gyros: Fast food, but good tasting fast food!
This is a great little "hole in wall" that has been serving up delicious food since 1979. They special in gyros but also offer a variety of other food including: burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, tacos, & even tamales.
For dinner they offer larger meals, such as pork chops, ribeye steaks, and grilled chicken breasts.
Favorite Dish: I really enjoyed everything that my friends and I chose except fror the garden salad which was rather plain.
If you're heading to/from Hammond and need some good food, fast then this is an excellent place to go!
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
Freddy's Steakhouse: Don't go here for steak
On a recent Friday night I had a taste for a steak but didn't want to fight the traffic to go back to downtown Chicago where there are many good steakhouses. We were going to try Bogart's over in Tinley Park which had been recommended by coworkers but the hubby suggested Freddy's which has been around for years but we had never tried.
I ordered the small prime rib medium rare and David medium well. The waitress switched our orders but even after swapping my meal didn't resemble prime rib and I thought perhaps our rather scatterbrained waitress had delivered the wrong cut of meat. Nope, it was prime rib but it looked like it had been cooked or finished off by throwing it on the grill.
Needless to say, we will not be making a return visit here.