My wife and I have lived in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood since 1983. Since then, we have enjoyed the wonderful nightlife and restaurants that the nearby Old Town neighborhood on North Wells Street has to offer. Like the Fireplace Inn, at 1448 North Wells Street, which has been one of Old Town's most popular go-to destinations since 1969. Since the pandemic, we have taken advantage of Fireplace Inn's delivery and curbside service. Our traditional order is two full slabs of barbecue baby back ribs with cole slaw and French fries. For years, we didn't order anything else. But a friend recommended that we try the house's Caprese flatbread for an appetizer. Bingo. What a great way to start a meal. By any other name Caprese flatbread could be construed as bruschetta. But it is so much more. It's a vegetarian delight, crispy flatbread crust, home-made spinach pesto, lots of mozzarella cheese, ripe grape tomatoes and tangy balsamic glaze with fresh basil. Chicago isn't known for its ribs, like Memphis or Kansas City or Austin or St. Louis, but Fireplace Inn has been the gold standard for 52 years, setting a culinary trend that is becoming more and more popular in the city.
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