With the Academy Awards coming up, it’s an apt time to look back on movies filmed in Chicago, specifically those with local restaurants and bars in starring roles. Aside from restaurants decimated in Man of Steel or Batman vs. Superman, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s bakery in Stranger Than Fiction and all that fast food hurled at Nicolas Cage in The Weather Man, films like The Dark Knight, The Blues Brothers and Transformers have spotlighted local restaurants in subtler ways. Here are six memorable Hollywood moments in Chicago restaurants and bars.
Skylark: The Breakup
In this disturbingly realistic breakup “comedy” starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, Vaughn’s character routinely retreats to the Skylark in Pilsen to complain to his pals about the relationship. Meanwhile, Aniston's character goes on failed dates at Smith & Wollensky overlooking the Chicago River.
2149 S. Halsted St.; 312-948-5275
Calumet Fisheries: The Blues Brothers
One of the most memorable scenes in Chicago movies is the finale of The Blues Brothers, in which the pair drive their car over the rising 95th Street Bridge. The restaurant alongside the bridge, Calumet Fisheries, is as iconic as the movie itself, and the smoked fish shack still features lots of Blues Brothers memorabilia in its tiny dining room.
3259 E. 95th St.; 773-933-9855
Twin Anchors: The Dark Knight
Old Town’s long-standing destination for ribs and barbecue, Twin Anchors is quite the movie star. After a prominent scene in Return to Me, the eatery popped up again in The Dark Knight for a scene in which Aaron Eckhart's character, the villain Two Face, confronts and shoots a corrupt detective.
1655 N. Sedgwick St.; 312-266-1616
Sixteen: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Chicago is a favorite setting for end-of-world blockbusters in which natural and man-made disasters wreak havoc on the city. The Transformers franchise is a prime example, as multiple films in the series feature giant car robots tearing the skyline apart, including Trump Tower. For a few scenes in Dark of the Moon, Sixteen and its outdoor terrace played the penthouse of Patrick Dempsey's character, and when the movie premiered, the hotel’s Rebar cocktail bar ran some Transformers-themed drink specials.
401 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-588-8030
Sepia: The Dilemma
Another Vince Vaughn rom-com, The Dilemma was shot in the actor’s hometown around 2010. In the film, directed by Ron Howard, Jennifer Connelly plays a chef at Sepia in the West Loop. The crew took over the restaurant for a week, and Connelly's character even wore one of the chef jackets. The real chef, Andrew Zimmerman, makes a brief appearance as a line cook.
123 N. Jefferson St.; 312-441-1920
Budacki’s: I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With
This heartfelt comedy starring Chicago native Jeff Garlin is an homage to the actor’s hometown, as his character suggests lunch at Manny’s Deli and concludes with a scene at the Music Box Theatre. In between, his character dresses as a pirate to hand out free hot dogs to passersby at Budacki’s, a no-frills hot dog joint in Lincoln Square.
4739 N. Damen Ave.; 773-561-1322