When you visit Depot, you'll start to wonder if it owns a way-back machine that's set to the mid-1940s, and we mean that in the nicest of ways. It's the shiniest, new old lunch counter in the city, and it serves classic Americana comfort food that's gosh-durn good (Guy Fieri, host of the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives," sure thought so when he visited).
With its egg creams and phosphates and made-to-order cheeseburgers and club sandwiches, the Depot brings a new class of diner to the Chicagoland area. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it churns out a plate of biscuits and gravy rumored to be the best in the area (the much-lauded pot roast sandwich with fried onions ain't bad, either) and a red velvet cake that rivals mom's creation.
Blue plate specials rotate daily; whether it's meatloaf and gravy, lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs, all dishes are prepared with the attention to detail you expect from a cloth-napkin outfit, not a lunch-counter operation. You'll find made-from-scratch donuts and soups, Coke served in retro glass bottles and a friendly, conversational staff.
The only thing about Depot that doesn't recall the '40s are the prices. Still, nothing here costs more than $10, and all prices mimic train departure times (it's Depot, get it?), as in a sandwich will set you back "$5:15."
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Karl Klockars