#91: Greasy Spoons

November 26th, 2012

You can tell the neighborhood has gone up in the world because they no longer use the bulletproof lazy susan to hand over the sandwiches.

Instead, the sub shop hands every order through an actual opening in the thick Plexiglas separating the kitchen from grim dining area. No bulletproof spinner need apply.

Now you can get your subs, chicken burgers, gyro puffs, wings, catfish nuggets, jalapeƱo poppers, Polish sausage, Italian beef and double gyro cheeseburger with fries and a free pop through an actual opening from an actual person who doesn’t think you’re going to shoot and rob.

The fact I love this place is why I’m not going to live to 100.

Yes, when my ladyfriend’s not cooking us fantastic, healthy meals or when I’m not making myself the bachelor fare that usually involves boiling something from a box, I’ve been known to partake of the divey sub shop on Ashland.

From the outside, it looks like a TV news reporter should be doing a live remote about the gangland shooting that just went down. But on the inside, it’s… worse. Grim benches and tables, some bolted, some not, and walls full of food ads, some handwritten in marker.

But the food’s tasty and the people are really nice.

There’s the little Hispanic lady who smiles so softly, the bigger guy I mentally call “Fat Kartikay” because he looks like a fat version of my friend Kartikay, even that sort of scary dude in the Cubs sweatshirt who told me a story about getting attacked on the L by a drunk guy even though I didn’t ask.

So here’s to the greasy spoons, the holes in the wall, the little spots that make you wonder who would ever eat there up until the moment it’s you. Here’s to the places where they make the fries fresh for you and display the good health inspection results because otherwise you would wonder.

These are the places that make a neighborhood. Not the hot new eatery with the OK from Time Out, but the little corner spot where your brown bag is soaked in fry grease by the time you get home.

There’s as much heart as heartburn here. And that’s saying a lot.

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A lot of their food comes from distributor ILTACO. Now where have we heard of that?

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You are currently reading #91: Greasy Spoons by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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