This Lincoln Park restaurant is a solid choice when your appetite calls for updated American eats; expect a garden-full of salads (with homemade dressings like walnut vinaigrette), plenty of sandwiches, steak and prime rib, and specialties like the grown-up version of a childhood favorite: Mr. Jack's Chicken Finger Platter, served with bleu cheese slaw.
The aforementioned Jack is no fictional character but Jack Massey, owner of the J. Alexander's that dot the country, but perhaps best known for his purchase of Kentucky Fried Chicken from Colonel Sanders in 1962. Wary of being labeled a chain, everything is as down-home as possible: Fish and beef are hand-cut on site, for example.
Those looking to meet a few friends for a drink will find few restaurant bar areas as invitingly hip. Leather armchairs and settees provide living room-like settings that urge you to stay awhile, and the drinks do little to sway you from logging some serious time. The beer selection is unremarkable, but the cocktail selection makes good on its name; no froo-froo drinks here, just well made classics concocted from choice liquor. The North Side Bloody Mary is a tomato and Grey Goose blend, and is sided by Knob Creek Manhattans and Dirty martinis on the menu. Those whose favorite flavor is "grape" will have no trouble picking a glass or bottle from a wine list that includes Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon and Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Schwartz