The Chicago Diner
The Chicago Diner first opened its doors in 1983 on Halstead Street. Recently a second location in Logan Square popped up, serving the same classic diner menu with a vegetarian twist. But don't despair, carnivores, the food at the Chicago Diner is so delicious that you'll either not notice or not care about the lack of meat. The Halstead location offers boozy vegan milkshakes, and the delicious Margaritas made with Casa Noble Reposado Tequila are the perfect complement to the spicy Buffalo Wingz. I also highly recommend the Caesar Salad (with amazing strips of crispy breaded seitan on top!), and the burgers for dinner.
I can unequivocally say that the breakfast bowl (hash browns topped with scrambled eggs or tofu, smothered in heavenly country seitan sausage gravy and served with a flaky vegan buttermilk biscuit) is the finest brunch I have ever had. The freshly baked cinnamon rolls are also extraordinary. The new Logan Square location offers beer on tap, and a sophisticated cocktail menu. I opted for a Calcutta Connection: Kraken Black Spiced Rum, Rishi Chai, and coconut milk. Kraken rum is 90+ proof and the alcohol fumes tickled my nose before I even took a sip. The flavor was surprisingly smooth, however, without the slightest hint of alcohol burn. Not too sweet, perfect for brunch.
The standout cocktail was definitely the Ghost of Congress, made from Journeyman Organic White Whiskey, triple sec, rhubarb bitters, and garnished with a Maraschino cherry, made in-house. The menu describes this as "a loosely translated white Manhattan." The rhubarb and cherry are not shy in this drink, and the young white whiskey pulls the whole thing together into a refreshing cocktail that is extremely smooth, without even a hint of a sugary finish.
I'm already planning my next trip to Chicago, but all I really care about is going back to the Chicago Diner. Meanwhile, I'll have to amuse myself by attempting to recreate the experience at home, using the recipes from the Chicago Diner Cookbook. The cocktail recipes aren't available, which just means I'll have to experiment on my own.
Photos © 2103 Marnie Ann Joyce