Convention Season Survival Guide: Where To Eat Around Botcon

Botcon is just over a week away. While events like SDCC or TFCon Toronto may take place in the same location repeatedly making eating options easy to pin down, there's a good chance most people heading to Botcon this year may never have been to Pheasant Run before, and not know what's available, both within walking distance, and points of interest a little farther out. We've collected some options for you, so keep reading!

Pheasant Run Resort itself will of course have its own meal options for those who choose to utilize them, but most hotel restaurants can be comparatively expensive and may not fit in every travel budget. Thankfully there is no shortage of restaurants in close range to the site offering choices affordable on any budget!

Walking Distance

Right across the street from Pheasant Run is a Culver's, offering hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and similar types of fast food items. According to information on Yelp, a meal there will generally cost under $10.

Next closest at a little under half a mile away is McDonald's near the corner of Smith Rd and Main St. A little farther up Smith Rd is an IHOP for those looking for normal breakfast foods, and just beyond that in a Wal-Mart Supercenter is a Subway. The trip to the Wal-Mart and Subway are a little over half a mile.

Wal-Mart offers an alternative option in terms of food for the convention, as the more practical minded could take the opportunity to keep some non-perishable groceries on hand in their hotel rooms to reduce the number of trips needed to nearby restaurants, especially at hours that may be unappealing to take a long walk through unfamiliar surroundings.

On the other side of Smith RD along Main St, you get some options that begin to be slightly costlier, sit-down style restaurants. Capping off the low end is a Portillo's, where you can get many kinds of hot dogs and sandwiches, and a Chipotle.

Going up from there you have Chili's, Olive Garden, and Poblano Pepper Grill taking you out to about a mile from Pheasant Run. In general I would say this is the far edge of walking distance, but the options are reasonably extensive even without accounting for more unusual choices in the area. JC Saki for sushi, Vinothai for, you guessed it, Thai cuisine.

Driving Distance

If you're lucky enough to be driving yourself or part of a group with a car, your options expand considerably. With access to the surrounding suburbs, your choices for mealtime are virtually unlimited, as the area is well known for the diversity of its food offerings. But staying within a reasonable distance of the convention, you get some added choices.

Across Kirk road, west of Pheasant Run, you find another Subway location, a Papa John's pizza if that strikes your fancy (although being in Chicago I'd recommend giving a local brand a try first!), Taco Bell, and Arby's a bit farther down. A Panda Express just on the near side of Kirk Rd rounds out choices among the familiar national chains.

On the opposite side of Charlestowne Mall you'll find a Rosati's Pizza, and near that a Jewel-Osco, another grocery store option. Silver Lake Restaurant in the same area offers "low-key" Chinese food as well. A little south of Poblano Pepper Grill and Panda Express is Giordano's, a Chicago-style pizza restaurant - a handy option for any wanting to give a Chicago-style deep dish pizza a try!

Heading east from Pheasant Run along Main St, you'll find such things as Dunkin Donuts, Stake and Shake, Popeye's Chicken, another McDonald's, a Hardee's, and a Domino's Pizza.

But again, if you can drive, getting in to surrounding areas will present you with all kinds of other interesting choices if you'd like to really get out and sample what the area has to offer.

Other Choices

Of course, if you don't want to walk and can't drive for food, there's always delivery. Besides your major chain pizza places, at least one Chinese restaurant nearby (Silver Lake) will deliver within 8 miles for a cost of $3 on top of your food order. It may not be quite as cost effective, but if you value convenience a bit more you can easily have some food brought right to you.

Quick reference

While I've been writing the above, RAC has been collecting a quick hit list, showing restaurants in order of online ratings and travel times (all approximate, based on Google Maps), including a few extra places not mentioned so far.

Vino Thai's - Thai restaurant 13 minutes' walk, 5 drive from Pheasant Run straight down main street. High marks on Google.

Puebla Modern Mexican - 1 hour walk, 9 minute drive from Pheasant Run. Trip Advisor has 17 reviews, of which 12 are five-star.

Portillo's - local chain, hot dogs and sandwiches, 11 to walk, 4 to drive from Pheasant Run. Super-high marks on TripAdvisor - 160 reviews, 1-3 stars all in single digits. The kind of place where two of the three "meatless" sandwiches are made with fish.

Townhouse Books & Cafe - highest rated on TripAdvisor. Hour walk, 8 minute drive from Pheasant Run.

Wok `n Fire - High marks on both Google and TripAdvisor. Hour walk, 9 minute drive from Pheasant Run. Chinese/Japanese, Sushi. A bit pricy and upscale. May require reservations.

Chicago Style Pizza Places (reviews are a little more sparse on these)

Giordano's - 20 minute walk, 4 minute drive from Pheasant Run.

Lou Malnati's - 2 hour walk, 15 minute drive - High marks on Yelp.

Gino's East - 42 minute walk, 5 minute drive from PR - middling to low on Yelp.

Gina's Subs and Pizza - 28 minute walk, 4 minute drive from PR - decent marks on Yelp.

More walking distance places

JC Sake - 14 minutes' walk, Japanese cuisine.

Culver's - burger/frozen custard chain. Across the street from PR, 4 minutes' walk.

Nearby national chains - McDonald's, Chipotle, Jimmy John's (under 20 minutes) Olive Garden (20 minutes,) Panera Bread (27 minutes).

The Wal-Mart Supercenter should be under 30 minutes' walk from the hotel, and Jewel-Osco a bit longer, for the grocery-minded.

These are just the immediate options open to attendees this year. We highly encourage you to hit up Google Maps or your location-finding utility of choice and find out everything that'll be around you, even if you might have to take a half hour drive to get there. Take it from a former resident of the Chicago suburbs: Find the right restaurant, and the time spent getting there is more than worth it!
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