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Sam's Grill

View Map416 N. Clark St., Chicago
Tel: (312) 245-9710
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Editorial Review of Sam's Grill

A casual, take-it-easy diner in the heart of River North, Sam's Grill believes in no-nonsense service and no-nonsense meals. The only thing slightly unorthodox about this restaurant is that the walls are painted in a curious shade of melon, but even that only pleasantly reminds you of summer days. Past that, it's no frills, a quintessential Chicago institution: burgers, dogs, "get em' in, get em' out, unless you want more coffee" attitude.

Breakfast entrees mostly revolve around eggs, either by themselves or as omelets or as part of a sandwich, and most early-bird options come with the choice of hash browns or grits(!). A nice, toasty egg sandwich makes for an economical meal (or as a killer side dish) at $1.85, while French toast and pancakes offer a couple of alternatives for the "allergic to eggs" crowd.

Once lunchtime rolls around, Sam's opens up the kitchen a bit, offering classier options, like marinated chicken on pita bread for $4.75 or julienne salad for $5.49. That's great and all, but greasy diner food is the true star here. A special for everyday is plastered on the exterior: Wednesday is Italian beef day, Thursday is all about the patty melt and Friday means double dogs (suitably juicy and possibly addictive) all buried under fries and a drink for six bucks even (with tax).

Sam's black/white floor tiles and low-hanging lamps contribute to a bit of a shabby, neighborhood hole-in-the-wall atmosphere. In reality, there's nothing too dirty about the place, and the mostly non-descript decor comes across more so as "blue-collar lunch spot" than "nobody eats here." One drawback: don't wait till dinner; it's strictly breakfast and lunch for ol' Sam.

Average cost: <$10

Centerstage Reviewer: Andy Seifert

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6 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday

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chicago, metromix