Chicago HRC: Continuing Tradition (Tandem W/O Entry)
Sep 1, 2003
Pros: Very clean inside, surprisingly empty, friendly staff
Cons: Dirty parking lot, bad location, staff isn't knowledgeable about memoribilia
The Bottom Line: If you're in Chicago, you'll have to stop here just to say that you went. It's average for a HRC. Just go once!
This is a submission to Candice and Dionne's Tandem Write-Off! Everything that Dionne25 wrote is in italics. Everything written by Candice923 is in plain font. You can go to this link to find out about Candice and Dionne's Tandem Write-Off and how you can enter!
In January 1999, Candice was invited to take the Directors Guild of America exam in Chicago and she asked me to go with her. We had a great time and saw many wonderful sights, including FAO Schwartz, TGI Friday's (gosh I haven't been to one in ages). But one of our must-go-to-stops while there was the Hard Rock Café. These were our last hours in Chicago, we had some time to kill and we went there for desert (our usual ritual when visiting HRC).
There was absolutely no way that I was going to brave the Windy City all by myself. I knew that I would spend the entire time in my hotel room if I didn't have Dionne with me. At the very least, we would go to some restaurants together. Of course, we were both determined to go to 2 specific restaurants: The Original Pizzeria Uno's and the Chicago Hard Rock Cafe.
We were both rather disappointed with Pizzeria Uno's (sometimes the orignial is not always the best, but that's for another time). For me, this was especially exciting because I was in Richard Marxs hometown and I was determined to find some Richard memorabilia. As soon as we got into the restaurant, the first thing I asked the hostess was "Do you have any Richard Marx memorabilia?" She said, "Im not sure." We were seated at a booth and I was on a mission in search of Richard. My first trip around, I couldnt find anything. I asked the bartender and she told me that they had some up about a month prior, but wasnt sure if it was still up.
I was just stoked because we were in Chicago. Dionne LOVES Richard Marx. I used to tease her about being a 35 year old white woman stuck in a twenty-year old black woman's body. Then again, my favorite band is the Monkees... But, I digress.
Our waitress, I believe her name was Amy, was totally cool. We told her we were from New York, and she was psyched about where we were from. She sat down with us, chilled with us for a bit, took pictures with us and completely forgot she was working. Of course, I asked her if there were any Richard Marx memorabilia, and she said there was. Eventually I found the memorabilia, took lots of pictures, and that made my year.
The Chicago Hard Rock Cafe is not located in the greatest spot. We walked across the street from Walgreen's, and there it was. Also located nearby is the Rock 'n Roll McDonald's and Dennis Rodman's restaurant. It's just not a place that you would expect to find a Hard Rock Cafe, or any other tourist attraction for that matter. The parking lot was quite dirty - cigarette butts everywhere - and really could have used a good sweep. But, of course, that didn't stop me and Dionne from getting on the ground and taking a photo laying on the HRC logo in front of the entrance!
Oh, yeah, that's right. I puckered up for the camera, too. Actually, it was Michael Jordan's Restaurant, not Dennis (eww, I cringe at what may have been in there!!!) Sometimes, when you frequent a chain restaurant, you rarely notice if there are any differences. I mean, this was the Hard Rock, with many locations worldwide and lots of memorabilia from well-known musicians. Initially, since I was on my mission, I didn't really notice all the other attractions, and by the third trip around, I was ready to contact the proper authorities. But, after I found what I was looking for, I noticed that the Chicago chain had great stuff from artists including Lenny Kravitz, Chicago, The Beatles, The Monkees, Richard, Jimi Hendrix, and The Rolling Stones just to name a few.
Dionne found one of the guitars from The Monkees hanging above the bar, and took a bunch of photos of it for me. The bathrooms are located right near the bar, so she pointed out the guitar on our way into the bathroom. The bathroom, while I'm on the subject, was absolutely impeccable. There was a bathroom attendent in there, too, that provided me with a fresh towel when I washed my hands. There was a tip basket with some HRC pins and matchbooks that you can help yourself to... But, you really should leave a tip, especially if you take one. There is also a tray of different types of perfumes, body sprays, and hair products, as well as some combs and hairbrushes in one of those barber-holder things that keep them clean.
Candice and I went in for dessert only, (this is usually our staple order when we are on the run), and I can't remember what we ordered. But we hung out at HRC for maybe a half-hour because we had to make our flight. We bought some souveniers at the gift shop, took in the ambiance for one last time, and bid the Hard Rock, and Chicago adieu. We haven't been back since then four years ago (oh my), but the memories will last forever (that and a few rolls of pictures will also do the trick.)
This HRC was a bit more low-key than the others. The music wasn't as loud, but maybe that's because we went in the afternoon. The service was speedy, but we only ordered dessert. The desserts seem to be the same everywhere: Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (our favorite), Homestyle Cheesecake, HRC Hot Fudge Brownie, you get the idea. You won't find anything different on the Chicago HRC that you can find at any other HRC. (Personally, I think it would be cool if each HRC had some sort of signature appetizer, dessert, drink, entree, and/or salad.)
Overall, it was a good experience. I don't think people really go to the Hard Rock for the food. I think they go to say that they went to the Hard Rock, like Dionne and I do. We want to tackle all the HRC's out there, but probably won't get to them ALL. But, hey, it will be fun trying!
Kid Friendliness: Yes Vegetarian Friendly: Yes Notes, Tips or Menu Recommendations Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Best Suited For: Friends