Nothing works up an appetite like the leggy Rockettes' "Radio City Christmas Spectacular" at the Rosemont Theater. Before or after the show, try Harry Caray's Rosemont for incredible steaks and chops.
"The Last Night of Ballyhoo" at the Mercury Theater features a Jewish family in the Christian South at Christmastime. Equal diversity can be found within a block of the theater at Hi Ricky with innovative Asian and noodle dishes; Strega Nona offering upscale Italian; or Tango Sur, specializing in Argentinean cuisine.
The only holiday red or green you'll find at Blue Man Group is from the paint balls that the Blue Men catch in their mouths. For pre-show dining near the Briar Street Theater, try Jack's American Blend for pastas or seafood; the kitschy Italian Buca Di Beppo; or El Jardin, serving good Mexican food and great margaritas. They are also just a quick sleigh ride from "The Christmas Schooner" at Bailiwick Arts Center.
When going to "The King And I" at the Marriott Lincolnshire, treat yourself to a feast befitting royalty. The King's Wharf restaurant, located on the hotel property, offers excellent seafood selections and special theater packages. Just down the street is the Asian offering Big Bowl and all-American emporium, Wildfire.
For any of the downtown shows, in addition to the restaurants mentioned in Phil Vettel's top 10 pre-theater picks in our Fall Dining Guide, I'd add The Grillroom across the street from the Shubert Theater; Catch 35 for awesome seafood centrally located from all of the theaters; and Miller's Pub for great casual dining and one of the few spots downtown open for after-theater dining.
Dean Richards is the arts and entertainment critic of WGN Radio and host of Dean Richards' Show, which includes Chicago radio's only cooking and dining show, "FoodTime" (Sunday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on 720AM).
Originally published Nov. 22, 2000.