In 1939, back when the cries of carnival barkers from the old Maxwell Market still pierced the air, and long before big box retail commandeered this strip of Roosevelt, the White Palace Grill was born. Today the grill endures as a monument to diamond-stamped chrome and squiggly Formica, the quintessential greasy spoon with a thick perfume of grilled hamburger lingering in the air.
Framed by the Chicago skyline, White Palace Grill is a place where late-night hunger meets its match, where college kids and hipsters engage in post-bar mischief and the distant eyes of third shifters reflect in the plate glass glare. Outside on the sidewalk, panhandlers offer a leathery outstretched hand and a Teflon gaze.
Poetry aside, it's the best place imaginable for a meal of pepper-flecked, gravy-covered chicken fried steak or crispy chicken and waffles. While you eat, feast your eyes on the Grill's mural depicting Oprah, Mayor Daley, Michael Jordan and Harray Caray engaged in a rousing game of Go Fish.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant