Best Italian steak house where my dad felt at home in the 60s and I do now

Gene & Georgetti

500 N. Franklin

Like a lot of Depression-bred Chicago guys who did OK for themselves, my dad wore a pinkie ring. It came down to me when he died in 1968, but it's gone now, stolen from an apartment I lived in years ago. You'd be surprised how much I miss that clunky chunk of white gold. Losing it snapped one of the last threads connecting me to his fedora-wearing, Camels-smoking, tough-guy sensibility. Which is one reason why I revere Gene & Georgetti. Opened in 1941, still owned by Gene's descendants, and never xeroxed out to a second location in, say, Wheeling, the steak house under the el at the corner of Franklin and Illinois retains the feel I imagine it had when my dad used to eat there with his pals. The pours are good. The plates are big. The food is straightforward. The people are loud and happy. The car hike is a story unto himself. And the waiters are career men I see every time I go. That's generally on a Friday night, so I can order the only-on-the-weekend prime rib with the seasoned crust. My wife takes the mussels appetizer as her main course. If they're in town, my sons generally get the filet mignon, along with a slight, time-inflected hint of their grandfather. From July 14 through July 16, G&G will celebrate its 70th anniversary by offering a four-course prix fixe menu and two cocktails for $15.25. —Tony Adler