Chicago diners and other good food joints
The other day, I wrote about my favorite good fast food joints.
But, wait, there’s more.
Diners. Diners owned by Greeks. Short Greeks, fat Greeks, skinny Greeks. Oh, and Jewish people, Lebanese, and a skinny Black guy.
Diners serving good food with friendly service. Diners with extensive menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Eat in or carry out, you cannot go wrong with diner food.
Golden Apple- 2971 N. Lincoln- The Golden Apple is an institution in the Lakeview neighborhood. Open 24/7, they have a great menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinners. This is good old school diner food. There are also quick sandwiches for those who are not hungry or in a hurry. On weekends the Golden Apple tends to be crowded, but service is pretty consistent.
Hollywood 1601 N. Ashland- This diner is great. It is one of my favorite breakfast and lunch spots. The food is good, the service is timely, and there are two parking lots. One indoor on Ashland and another on North Avenue. Lunch time and weekend mornings can be busy but you will not wait long for your orders. Counter service is quick, if you can get a seat. The Hollywood also has an extensive menu and specials for every day of the week. Open 24 hrs.
White Palace Grill 1159 S. Canal- A great diner near the Loop. Like the Golden Apple and the Hollywood, the White Palace is old school good. This is one place where the counter is the place to eat. Service is great, the food is good, and the regulars sitting at the counter are sociable. Open 24 hrs.
The Diner Grill 1635 W. Irving Pk. Rd.– So there you are. In Lakeview. It is late. You had way too much to drink. It is time to head home, but you are ravenous. The Diner Grill is the place to eat. Open 24 hrs. this small no frills diner has been serving late night over served patrons for years. Good, solid, alcohol absorbing, hangover prevention food. During the day it is a blue collar breakfast and lunch joint. Open 24 hrs.
Beef and Brandy 127 S. State– On State Street that Great Street. Beef and Brandy is similar to the diners above, with an extensive breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. Service is good. The food is consistently good.
If you are on the Near North Side, Tempo at 6 E. Chestnut is the place to nosh. The menu is similar to the diners above, the food is good, and the service is impeccable. This is another place that gets crowded, elbow to elbow, on the weekends. The crowds do not affect service.
The Palace Grill 1408 W. Madison– This is a near West Side Institution. The Palace has been around for over 75 years. Since remodeling, they have expanded their menu. Weekdays they are open from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday hours are 6 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sunday is 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Salt and Pepper Diner 3537 N. Clark St.– This is a noisy place with great food. The fried chicken dinner is to die for. It is also enough for two people. Don’t have Cubs tickets? Come by, eat, drink, and watch the game.
Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicatessen 1141 S. Jefferson- Though a cafeteria delicatessen, Manny’s is a long time favorite for everyone from construction workers and cops to the Who’s Who of Chicago.
Lunch is a little pricier but you may skip dinner after eating at Manny’s. Manny’s is closed on Sundays.
If you have a yen for Middle Eastern food, there is Al Khyam at 4748 N. Kedzie, next door to the Al Khyam Bakery and Grocery store. Have lunch then go next store to shop for delicacies.
Aside from pastry, pita, baklava, and other sweets, this is a full fledged grocery store with foods from the Middle East and some Balkan countries. There is also a butcher section.
Last, but not least, is Wallace’s Catfish Corner at 2800 W. Madison. Wallaces is food mixed with West Side politics. It is the political hub of the West Side, especially during election cycles. The owner, Wallace Davis, is a former Chicago Alderman.
Wallace’s serves soul food, fried cat fish, and a decent Italian beef sanguich, when they are available. There is off street parking.
Privately owned restaurants are the best. Chains and franchises just serve industrial effluent, mung, and dreck.
If you are going to eat out, go to a locally owned diner. You will eat better and keep money in the neighborhood.