You’re here for the first (or second, or 15th) visit since your mostly-grown-up child started college, and it’s time to make sure all that hard work in high school and/or debt being accrued isn’t going to waste. Or maybe you’re the college student, and you don’t know what to tell your parents about where to eat in a neighborhood you’ve barely had time to explore between orientation, classes, and figuring out what to do with that tiny fridge.

Here’s our guide to restaurants near major Chicago college campuses, ranging from casual lunch and dinner places to upscale spots where you can sit down and discuss things like time management and how to make your own doctor appointments. We’re starting with four schools – DePaul, The University of Chicago, Northwestern, and Loyola – but will be adding more.


Summer House Santa Monica

If you looked up the Farmers’ Almanac prediction for this coming winter and you’re suddenly asking yourself why DePaul ever seemed preferable to USC, go to Summer House Santa Monica. It’s a nice, bright restaurant with a huge skylight and a California-inspired menu. Order some fish tacos or a kale salad, and pretend the winter coats you packed in the car are just beach kaftans that dared to dream.