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Ody's Drive Inn

View Map6001 W. Grand Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 745-3444
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Editorial Review of Ody's Drive Inn

You won't come across a six-headed or one-eyed monster when visiting Ody's Drive Inn (Ody's is short for Odysseus), but the food, concept and bold exterior make for an epic start to the once drab intersection of Grand and Austin avenues.

In the valley of the Brickyard Mall/Bricktown Square Shopping Center, dog and beef stands dot just about every corner. Ody's, built from the ground up on the previous Grand Grill site, differentiates itself with a walk-up-and-order design. At other eateries, who knows what occurs in the cook's lair? Here, everything's exposed with a terrarium view of a stainless steel kitchen. The lack of indoor dining makes for a clean establishment where service comes lightening-flash quick.

A heated/enclosed outdoor patio that opens up during summer sits adjacent to the Grand Avenue walk-up counter (notice a second counter for Austin Avenue traffic). Red and yellow center blocks make the walls and a canopy shades guests channeling oldies music, cooping together on grated tables fit for 8. One family makes this Greek-owned stand (owner George Liakopoulos also owns Hollywood Grill, White Palace Grill and Plymouth Restaurant and Bar) their pit stop before catching a show. A table over, a pair of friends gobble their cheeseburgers (non-frozen, made to order and with free fresh-cut fries) while anxiously gabbing of an upcoming vacation.

About 25 minutes from the nearest L stop by bus, Ody's makes for a tiresome trek. But luckily it operates 24 hours daily, so there's no rush. With enough spotlights for a baseball field cloaking a building of circus red, yellow and blue hues, you can't miss it. And drivers take comfort in a spacious lot under surveillance. All meals (tamales, beefs, Chicago-style dogs, polish sausages and breakfast platters) hover below $5.

Average cost: <$10

Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez

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