Meat. Some of us refuse to eat it, and some of us can't wait to stuff loads of it into our salivating mouths, Homer Simpson-style. If you fall into the latter category, Manny's is worth checking out at least once.
This large, cafeteria-style diner sits amongst the industrial row of South Jefferson Street, in turn catering to a healthy mix of white- and blue-collar men and women. Customers come in, stare at a wall full of daily specials and then head on over to the massive line of food served by middle-aged men, their banter tinted with the colorful slang and lilt of the Chicago Irish. First up for lunch: maybe some roasted tongue ($11.95) on Tuesday or Friday's fried smelts ($8.95). The decision won't be easy, not when there is Salisbury steak, meatloaf, roasted chicken, liver with onions and stuffed veal to choose from. The strong-willed novices and experienced clientele will pass all of it over, pushing their trays down the warm steel guards until they're standing firmly in front of Manny's specialty: the sandwich bar.
We know about head-sized burritos, but sandwiches? We kid you not. Start with a French roll and watch as it's piled to the point of explosion with your choice of pastrami, the leaner turkey pastrami, salami or bologna ($9.95-$10.95). A side of potato pancake costs $1 extra, and a dessert of Eli's cheesecake (if you have the room) is $2.95.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Nola Akiwowo