Answer: By the number of patrons with handcuffs and holsters. Question: How can you tell when you are in a fine eating establishment that doesn't charge an arm and a leg?
Mrs. Linklater found this picture of a diner counter on the web. She was struck by how much it looks like the counter at the Palace Grill in Chicago [1408 West Madison]. Except that the Palace Grill is never empty.
When you're in Chicago over the Fourth -- you are coming aren't you? -- make sure you stop by the Palace for breakfast. They're down the street from Harpo Studios, y'know, Oprah's place. She stopped by herself one day with cameras rolling. And she agrees -- they have the BEST TASTING hashbrowns in town.
Mrs. Linklater is partial to the mushroom omelette which is made with real mushrooms that somebody actually sliced and didn't just fish out of a jar. The sausage is from Leon's -- a third generation Chicago institution. The o.j. is FRESH SQUEEZED. But don't go by Mrs. Linklater, or Oprah, read a review or two:
On Tuesday 3/9/04 12:00 PM
The PALACE GRILL is my all-time favorite breakfast place in creation (it even beats every hash house I ever ate at growing up in NYC--and that's a pretty tough crowd to beat). After moving back East for while, I forgot completely about my beloved grill. When I got back to Big Town, I was pestered by this nagging feeling that something was somehow different about Chicago this time, that there was some inexplicable "something" of the Chicago experience missing in my life... This morning at 4 AM, while cooking up a batch of eggs, I remembered what it was: I NEED to go EAT at the PALACE GRILL!
P.S. The food was as fresh, delicious, and promptly served as usual. P.P.S. Not to be confused with the nearby White Palace Grill at 1159 S. Canal, or the White Palace Hamburger Shop at 631 W. Madison. Good establishments too, I hear--but not the place I'm talking about.
On Thursday 10/31/02 4:48 AM
This is simply the best place to have breakfast in Chicago. Just a mile west of downtown with free parking, the freshly squeezed orange juice, the best hasbrowns (and onions), super coffee, farm fresh eggs and the humor and generosity of George Lemperis, the proprietor makes it a great place. Atmosphere and cleanliness, good food matched by reasonable prices, and a place where visitors from Norman Mailer to the former Russian Prime Minister have all dined with pleasure.
During Mrs. Linklater's late morning repast, she noticed beat cops, several detectives, two special ops types, and a sheriff all enjoying the good food and the low low prices. No donut glaze on these guys.
George, the owner, even stopped by the table to kibbutz doing more standup comedy in two minutes than Letterman. He was interrupted by a patron tapping him gently on the shoulder and promptly fell to the floor writhing around like he'd been attacked. A police officer, on his way out, stepped over him, pausing only for a moment to say, "And the Emmy goes to--"
Put it on your list of things to do this weekend. In Chicago.