Monday, December 10, 2007
Billy Goat Tavern, Chicago
This place teaches you a lesson in thinking three-dimensionally if you don't know where to look. The address (430 North Michigan Avenue, 312-222-1525) may lead you to think that it's right across the Chicago river on the glitzy Magnificent Mile, but one can walk by several times without noticing the place until realizing that it was necessary to take the stairs down to the underpass. And if you take the wrong stairs like we did, you'll be surrounded by dumpsters and dark loading bays that required us to walk around a bit before finding it tucked into the recesses of the area (we later realized that a more obvious way to find it would have been to go east on Hubbard from Rush Street where the underpass and signage are much more apparent).
But that's only part of the fun about this place. These guys have been around for a very long time and are full of local cultural significance, ranging in everything from baseball to politics to journalism and even a skit on Saturday Night Live. And not surprisingly, a little bit of attitude comes along with this tiny hole in the wall: when we ordered a requisite "cheezborger," the pushy proprietor insisted that we upgrade to a double instead as that was "DA BEST." We did, and the order was immediately shouted to the greasy grill behind him.
So how was the food? It looked rather sad at first: limp and thin (almost McDonald's-like) patties sitting in a lifeless undressed bun. Sure, he pointed you immediately to the condiment counter on the side where you could load up on some pickles, onions, and mustard, but you sure weren't going to find any lettuce nor tomatoes around. After taking a bite of this thing though, we realized that all of that would have just been an unnecessary distraction, as the cheese and oily patty were all that were needed to give this thing the tasty bang that one looks for from a burger. Mmm...I'm still salivating at the thought of it. It was definitely cool to check out the brash character of this place, and getting a nice greasy burger to finish it off only made it better.
Digested at 2:56 PM
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