Caffe BaciThe Loop
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Before there was a term for it, this spot had already perfected the "fast casual" dining concept. For more than 12 years, Caffe Baci has been serving upscale coffee, paninis, salads, soups, and hot entrees in Chicago's Loop without the wait that would accompany comparable sit-down restaurants. Executive Chef Jimmy Hamili offers Italian cooking from his native Rome and has been turning out new specials and old standbys, like the JoJo panini (mozzarella, artichokes, basil, prosciutto, tomatoes and herbs) almost since the beginning of Baci's reign. The bright-yet-minimalist setting acts like a serene refuge from the office both at lunchtime and after work when dinner entrees are hot and inviting.