Guy Fieri let me down. That’s painful to say out loud. My girlfriend and I first heard of the White Palace Grill in downtown Chicago on an episode of Diner’s Drive-In’s and Dives about 24 hour diners. I was working in Chicago this past weekend and since my girlfriend’s parents live in a Chicago suburb, she decided to come with me and take a long weekend. We left Lansing around midnight on a Thursday night and got to Chicago a little after two a.m. We took a detour into the city instead of just heading to her parents. We’ve been to a handful of places featured on Triple D including two others in Chicago and figured if Guy went there, it must be good. We were wrong. Really, really wrong.
White Palace Grill is located just south of the Loop on Roosevelt and Canal Streets. According to a friend of my girlfriend’s, venturing into this neighborhood at this time of night five years ago would have been scary. It wasn’t quite a walk in the park now, but it wasn’t really bad. We parked about a half a block from the diner and walked back. There’s a huge mall with a lot of high end stores right next door. The scary thing was all the people just loitering in the street and around the restaurant. We made our way to the front door and someone behind the counter acknowledged us and told us to sit where we want. There are two dining rooms. When you first walk in, there’s the traditional diner setting with a counter and a row of booths along the wall. Keep going back and there’s more of a dining room with tables and booths. We sat in the front dining room in a booth along the wall. The menus were already on the table, so we grabbed a couple and started looking over them. A bus boy came by with water and wiped the table down. After that, it was quite a while before a waitress noticed us. This was just the start of possibly the worst service we’ve ever gotten at a diner.
Since it was almost three in the morning, we both went with breakfast food. I ordered a ham and cheese omelet that came with a short stack of pancakes. The omelett was a huge three egg omelett with huge chunks of ham. The omelett wasn’t quite like something you usually get at a diner. At most places, they put the filling inside the fold of the eggs. In this omelett, the toppings were cooked into the eggs themselves which made every bite cheesy. The huge chunks of ham were in just abot every bite as well. The pancakes came on a seperate plate with a pat of butter on the top and two small glass cups of maple syrup on the side. I could have used a little more butter, but the pancakes were good. I wouldn’t have wanted an entire meal of them, but it was a good choice for a side. The two plates were too much for me as I only ate about half of the pancakes. My breakfast was pretty good and what I would expect from a diner. It was nothing special, but it wasn’t bad. My girlfriend had a totally different experience.
She ordered the 2222 breakfast. Sounds like a good deal. Two eggs which she got scambled, two pieces of bacon, two sausage links, and hash browns. The eggs were ok, the bacon was nice and crispy. She doesn’t like sausage, so she passed them to me and they were good and greasy. The hash browns were terrible. They weren’t totally cooked and almost unedible. That was a deal breaker for her. One bite of the hash browns and she lost her appetite. She soldiered through some of the other stuff, but it kept coming back to the raw hash browns.
Not only was her meal undercooked, but the service was absolutely terrible. You only get one drink refill at White Palace and I needed mine about the time the food came, so that wasn’t a problem. After we were done eating, we sat there for probably fifteen minutes. We could see our waitress….outside, talking to a group of the guy loitering in front of the diner. After she got done with them, she walked to the other side of the street and was on her cell phone while we were sitting there. If that wasn’t bad enough, there were other waitresses that kept walking by us. They easily could have seen that we were done and waiting on a check, but they didn’t do anything about it either. My girlfriend finally got fed up and found what we believe was a manager sitting at the counter and she went and asked him to find our waitress. The waitress must have seen her get up and came in while she was talking to this guy. She added up our bill and we paid and got out. Needless to say, she didnt’ get a tip. I always feel bad about that, but not this time. There’s bad service because a waitress is overwhelmed then there’s just not caring and that’s what this waitress was. Our bill was a little over $17. Not bad, but the whole experience was really disappointing. The atmosphere was ok. Definately what you expect for a 24 hour diner. The food gets a mixed review. I was alright with mine, but my girlfriends was terrible. The service was the worst I’ve ever had. My girlfriend’s dad said he could have warned us, but we didn’t want to listen. It was on Triple D so it has to be good, right? Definately not. We’ll never go back to this 70 year old diner.