Turns out that was totally the right call, and not just because downtown parking is annoying during the week. I saw a beautiful German place just north of Ravenna and Roosevelt that I'd never noticed before, called Die Bierstube. Gotta check that place out sometime. Maybe to reward myself after making the deadline.
The best "bus moment", though, was the 7-year-old girl getting aboard with her mother and a golden retriever named Willy twice as big as herself. Willy was quite friendly, stopping to say a mild, snuffling hello to everyone on the bus. "Come ON, Willy, time to sit down now." Saccharine overdose, but big smiles up and down the aisle.