Aug 28 2008

Fresh Secret at the Opera House: Market Creations

Published by at 4:11 am under breakfast food,Reviews

I get asked a lot about places to have a quick lunch in the Chicago Loop (aka downtown Chicago). Most people are sick of fast food, but don’t want to pay sit-down prices. Fortunately, I am able to point them to a good compromise!

The Market Creations (tucked away in the Civic Opera House) offers fresh buffet style food (as well as made-to order sandwiches) for both breakfast and lunch. Menu items are rotated daily, and their meals can be enjoyed at one of their tables in the hallway, or carried back to one’s office.

For breakfast, a decent selection of standard buffet items is available (i.e. biscuits and gravy, muffins, sweet rolls, hash browns, corned beef hash, bacon, etc). For lunch  there is a huge salad bar and a hot buffet. One side of the hot buffet table features Chinese dishes, the other side offers hot “comfort food” dishes which rotate daily (except for the whole roasted turkey, which is always available).

For those with an aversion to steam tables, Market Creations offers a made-to-order sandwich counter (and some of their sandwiches sound pretty interesting). Cookies, chips, drinks, and other prepared nibbles can be retrieved from the tables, shelves, and refrigerator case.

And the food? It is generally tasty, though nothing spectacular. The whole roast turkey is terrific (but avoid the grainy stuffing), occasionally they will have a whole leg of lamb which is also pretty good. The Chinese food is pretty standard, though they occasionally do a steamed sole that I really like. Vegans and vegetarians will likely have better luck at the cold salad bar than at the hot buffet.

Sandwiches, chips, etc, are priced individually. Food from the salad bar and buffet is priced by the pound: $6.25 at lunch, and a little less for breakfast. (Tip: The Chinese food, particularly the breaded chicken wings and orange chicken, is pretty heavy, so the per pound price may not be worth it. Go to Panda Express instead.)

The service is fast and friendly. They have several registers open during lunch hour so that you can get in and out quickly. There are also several other locations throughout the downtown area. Check out their website for details!

Market Creations

Civic Opera House 3rd Floor

Corner of Madison and Wacker

M-F 7:00am – 3:00pm

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