Not so long ago, dining around the Chicago River would have been considered a bit of an adventure, and perhaps for reasons other than the food. Today, dining along the river in the Loop has become a bit of a "must-do" for folks visiting the city.
Tony Mantuano's River Roast is one of these signature riverfront experience and since opening in 2014, it has garnered a host of accolades and praise. I recently stopped by for lunch and I'm pleased to say that the environment is hospitable and that the food (particularly if you like roasts of all persuasions) is quite good.
Several friends had mentioned the array of sandwiches and I went with the Cubano. The ciabatta roll was the perfect way to keep everything together and the smoked pork, ham and house-made chorizo made for a fine trifecta, along with the pickle and horseradish sauce. Additionally, the local beets salad and the romaine chopped made for fine accompaniments.
Over on the "Bites & Boards" side of the menu, I tried the tempura zucchini blossoms, which have the light touch that one would except from such a restaurant. There are a range of other items here, and if you're looking for something on the lighter side, you can pair a soup and sandwich.
Now on the roast side of things, I took on the Boatload of Veggies (above), which offered an array of locally-sourced vegetables in season, which during the height of summer is impressive. I'll go out on a limb and surmise that many of them came from farms in northwest Indiana, downstate Illinois, and perhaps a smattering of southern Wisconsin heritage. They were most excellent and I'd also suggest their roast meats, which include a whole chicken (for two, naturally), roast beef, and so on.
Rounding out my meal was a selection of bundt cakes (below) and a bit of soft serve ice cream (red velvet cupcake flavor, in case you were wondering.) I'd give top honors to the orange & fennel cake and if you're feeling ambitious (and perhaps with a group) go for the trio and linger awhile.
Afterwards, you may wish to travel on, and you can do so via foot to experience the Riverwalk and the nearby McCormick Riverhouse & Museum. Better yet, why not take the Chicago Water Taxi? After all, it stops right outside the restaurant.