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Lisa Jennings, West Coast bureau chief

If you want to check out what the next generation of Melmans is up to, try Bub City, a country music and barbecue joint operated by R.J. Melman, Jerrod Melman and Molly Melman, three children of the iconic Richard Melman of Lettuce Entertain You fame. The new Bub City, which opened in December, is actually a revival of one of their father’s concepts that first opened in the 1990s. The 2.0 version offers Southern cooking, as interpreted by chef Doug Psaltis, and one of the largest whiskey programs in the Whisky, er, Windy City.

Bub City, 435 N. Clark, (312) 610-4200

Olivia LaBarre, online managing editor

As a pizza lover who has been to Chicago I am ashamed to say that I've never tried traditional deep-dish pizza. So to make up for lost time, I plan to eat my way through the city one pizza joint at a time. I'll need to weigh in on the great deep-dish debate, of course, so I'll start with a taste test between Lou Malnati's and Gino's East. But the pizza I'm really hoping to try, at Burt's Place in Morton Grove, is not of the classic deep-dish variety. Known for crust "carmelized" with cheese, all of the pies there are made by one cranky old man in a no-frills location — a true sign of first-rate pizza.

Lou Malnati’s, Several locations

Gino’s East, Several locations

Burt’s Place, 8541 Ferris Ave, Morton Grove, (847) 965-7997

Sarah Lockyer, editor-in-chief

Each year I discuss the great deep-dish debate. At the risk of being repetitive, I’m doing it again. The two heavyweights of Gino's East and Lou Malnati's hold the first-place and runner-up spots, respectively, in my book. And my book is not wrong.
Last year, I loved to hear your feedback on my hometown's best culinary contribution — and I even inspired a taste test undertaken by a senior executive at Buffalo Wild Wings who shall remain nameless, mostly because she was mistaken in her choosing of Lou's. I will say her detailed breakdown of crust, sauce and crumbled versus patty sausage was impressive.
Outside of enjoying the best pizza in the world, I do look forward to a few hot spots: The Boarding House will be a new stop for me; Cru Kitchen & Bar is a favorite; !Ay Chiwowa! looks too good to pass up; and the NRN team will close its time in Chicago at our favorite spot, Kingston Mines.

The Boarding House, 720 N. Wells, (312) 280-0720

Cru Kitchen & Bar, 25 E. Delaware Place, (312) 337-4001

!Ay Chiwowa!, 311 W. Chicago Ave., (312) 643-3200

Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted, (773) 477-4647