WOW! It is amazing how defensive we all get about the places we eat at. Not many cities can say that.
I'll chime in once more with my thoughts
I have actually never eaten at Joes, not really sure why, but just haven't. I've heard it is really good.
As far as Gibsons go, I've been there on several occassions and the same with Hugos. I like the food at both, but agree, that you are mostly paying for the hype and the name. I do enjoy rush street as the energy there is unique to Chicago. When I want to go out for a great dinner, Gibsons may not be on the top, but when I want to go out for a good dinner and a great experience, then Gibsons is right up there. And their sliders for lunch are great. I actually ate several at the Katrina Charity Cookoff at McCormick place and then went for some more the next day.
I love Ruth's Chris because it is different. I enjoy the appetizers (Smoked Salmon is superb along with the shrimp) and I know the managers and my waiter so service is of course out of the world.
I've only been to sullivans for lunch. They have a decent priced bussinesman's lunch special with a filet and two sides, plus a salad for only 16.99. Filet is not the best cut though.
One of the best things though about Chicago, I think, are the small places you'll find in Bucktown, Lincoln Park, Old Town and even now the up and coming Logan Square. Those places provide a great meal, typically pretty good service, at a really good price.
For suburban locations I love The Clubhouse out in Oakbrook. It's pretty trendy for a suburb that is not Naperville.
Interesting thread...lets keep it going!
PS. SOPH! What are your favorite places outside of the big names? I'm always looking to try something off the beaten path!