Walk into Glenn's Diner and you know something's fishy. It definitely steps up the diner look, supplementing the traditional counter seating with a robust wall that holds more than 15 cereals. And it certainly doesn't taste like a diner, elevating seafood from your typical ho-hum fish sticks to fresh fish, 10 daily varieties, in fact, from halibut to jumbo shrimp.
Owner Glenn Fahlstrom got his feet wet at Davis Street Fish Market in Evanston and worked with Lettuce Entertain You before chatting up his own clients. "I wanted to reinvent the diner," he says, "keeping the casual atmosphere but making everything fresh and incorporating my seafood background." Mission accomplished.
Daily breakfast specials include softshell crab eggs benedict ($9.95) and a New Orleans scramble of eggs, sausage, rice and Creole spices ($8.95). Don't miss the Pan Ferrara's Red Hot Pancakes, basted with Valentine's Day-esque red hearts ($5.25). For lunch, choose from more than 15 hot sandwich varieties, several salads with homemade dressing and drool-inducing sides. The potato pancakes, cooked with sour cream, fresh chives and onions, make ketchup-use a crime.
A blackboard boasts the day's fresh fish, like potato-encrusted walleye pike ($12.95) joined by nine other grilled, pan-fried and sauteed selections from the deep. And, in true diner fashion, a meal here won't break the bank: The prices are the lowest in town for such top-notch seafood. BYOB, with $5 for wine and $3 for beer.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Emily Fiffer