Eat Here: Glenn's Diner, 1820 W. Montrose, Chicago
[slideshow] There's something special about a place where the owner has his phone number printed on every receipt. Most times I've eaten here, I've seen the owner, Glenn, chatting up customers or seeing about the restaurant. It's his place, his name on the door, and his phone number on the receipt.
Glenn's Diner has great food with no fuss. You can sit outside on the sidewalk patio if it's warm enough. Service is always friendly for the crowd of mostly-neighborhood patrons. Worth the trip in, even if you don't live near Ravenswood.
Two blackboards on opposite sides of the dining room tell patrons what's on the grill, from Artic Char, Blackened Barramundi, Columbia River Sturgeon on through to Yellow Fin Tuna. The blackboard menus suggest a preparation for each seafood treat. I had the sea scallops with a creamy mushroom and bacon (but I left the beloved swine out to observe Good Friday) and my girlfriend had the artic char with a diablo shrimp sauce - both of which were outstanding! Both of us were surprised with the lovely potato pancakes served on the side of our entrees. It's a hard-to-beat second act!
If you're a landlubber, don't fret - Glenn's got some great options for you, too: pastas, carnivorous choices and breakfast anytime. The Breakfast Anytime menu includes omelets, pancakes, french toast and over thirty cereals on tap, with choices for milk and chilled bowls at the ready. Sure, it may seem silly to have Cap'n Crunch and Apple Jacks on the menu, but sometimes the kid in me just wants a bowl of cereal and a friendly place to eat. A man who loves breakfast anytime is a man after my own Honey Bunches of Oats. There's also a weekend brunch I've wanted to try, too. Chicagoans are crazy for their brunch, so I'm sure I'd have to come early.
On Tuesdays, Glenn's has an unlimited king crab leg special (market price). This is an amazing deal on succulent crab. On one fateful Tuesday a few years ago, I signed up for the special but let my waiter know that I'm not that experienced with opening up a crab. He assured me it was pretty easy to eat because the kitchen pre-cracked the legs. If you've never handled a king crab, the sweet, delicious meat is easy to get compared to its smaller crabby cousins, but its exoskeleton is coarse, thick and downright spindly in places - not so good for delicate hands. The waiter delivered our dinners, immediately sat down at my left, and helped me extract the meat from my first batch of legs. That is friendly customer service, above and beyond!
Glenn's Diner is located at 1820 W. Montrose, between Damen and Ravenswood. It's right off the Montrose CTA Brown Line stop. If you have to wait a bit for a table, you can cross the street and get a drink at Scot's, or if it's early in the day, walk a block west and stop in Hazel, a really cute card and gift shop. And if you want dessert - and I know you do -, cross the street and get some chocolate anything at Margie's.
Click on one of the images below to see a full-page view.