R.J. Grunt’s (2056 N. Lincoln Park West) is a symbol in Chicago. It symbolizes how a man with a seemingly failing restaurant can become one of the most legendary restauranteurs in not only Chicago, but U.S. history. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant group is a benchmark in the industry for how to operate a multiple unit food operation. Every restaurant seems as though it is independently owned, but every restaurant provides quality and consistent service, food and beverage – no exceptions.
Grunt’s opened in 1971 as their first restaurant. A hip hangout to grab a burger, a shake and of course, a few trips to the “first” salad bar. Everything I’ve ordered be it a burger, ribs, french dip or dessert, has been really tasty and just well made and served with a smile, ya know.
On this visit, I ordered their special burger – the Bub City Patty Melt. This special version of a classic is made with half beef and half smoked BBQ brisket – yeah, it’s ground into the patty. It adds a super smoky, rich, sweet and bold element that’s not found in any other burger out there.
They put their between the two usual slices of rye bread, top it with cheddar cheese and grilled onions of course, and finish it with a small slathering of their home made BBQ sauce. I’m not always a fan of the BBQ style burger in general, but theirs was balanced and the sauce didn’t overwhelm the beef or sandwich as a whole – great success.
Jill always enjoys their ridiculous salad bar. They claim it was the first, and whether that’s true or not, who cares, cause it’s definitely one of the freshest and most unique bars around. Not only do they have really fresh salad salad ingredients, but they also have prepared salads such as tuna noodle, chicken, macaroni salad, antipasti salads of all kinds and they have great chicken liver pate.
A plethora of dressings is provided as well along with wasabi peas near the croutons, an excellent snacker. It’s about three or four bucks to add it to an entree. Even if you don’t love salad, there’s soup on the bar and you’re bound to find one of the prepared items that suits your fancy. Just do it.
Jill’s turkey sandwich was very tasty. Clearly house roasted turkey is sliced thin and placed between two slices of Texas Toast. Fresh tomato, lettuce and mayo are all that’s needed. Bacon, sure, why not. We all like bacon. The sandwich was freshly made and the turkey is anything but dry, so if you want something more simple than a burger, sure, it’ll do.
Grunt’s has always been one of mine and Jill’s favorite lunch spots. And recently, they’ve extended their dinner hours on Friday and Saturday to remain open later. I mean, really. Who doesn’t want to enjoy killer wings, salad bar AND burgers into the wee hours of the night. Fresh made cookie in a bowl? Two please…
I’m hungry. Let’s eat!