If we’re going to go to a concert in Chicago, you know I’m going to find someplace nearby for a pre-concert meal. J and I were meeting my brother and his wife near Soldier Field for the Kenny Chesney concert. Both of us decided to take public transportation due to the horrendous parking around Soldier Field. My brother took the Metra Electric Line from Univerity Park and J and I took the El Orange Line from Midway. Both trains have a stop near Roosevelt Street.
From the train stops, Grace O’Malley’s is less than a half mile walk south on Michigan Avenue. For my brother and his wife, it was a horrible walk. It was pouring rain. By the time J and I got off the CTA, the rain had stopped. I had made 1:45 reservations and had everything been on time, we would have arrived just before the reservation. Instead, some punks decided they were going to tag our train while it was stopped at the 35th Street Station. The conductor had to get out and chase them away. We were sitting in the station for ten minutes while all this went on.
My brother and sister-in-law got to the restaurant and got our table just as were were turning down Michigan Avenue. It was a little over a two block walk for us, but we found Grace O’Malley’s on the west side of Michigan Avenue in the middle of the 1400 block.
As the name implies, Grace O’Malley’s is an Irish Pub. There are a few tables on the sidewalk, but the rain prevented them from being used. The facade of the building is pretty common. It seems like most Irish Pubs that are part of a busy street like that use the same designer.
When J and I entered, we were met by a hostess in the bar. She asked if we wanted to be seated in the dinning room. We explained that my brother was already seated and we were meeting him. She asked if my name was XXX? I said yes and she led us through the bar to the dining room in the back.
Our lunch companions were already seated in a boothlooking over the menus. The tables were covered witha green and white checkered tablecloththat was then topped with a piece of white butcher paper. The place settings looked like a fancy restaurant, but the napkins were paper. It was a good mix of fancy and casual dining. It was exactly what we were looking for in a pre-concert meal.
The waitress came over to get drink orders from J and I. We’re not big concert drinkers so we both ordered Coke’s. When she came back, we were ready to order. I got O’Malley’s burger with bleucheese and smoked bacon. I thought about just going withCheddar cheese, but I was happy I went with bleu. The burger was a 1/2lb patty cooked medium. It was really juicy and the bleucheese mixed withthose juices made for a fabulous burger. The sandwich was served with fries that sort of reminded me of Steak ‘n Shake’s. They were the same thin fries, but these were seasoned with salt and rosemary.
J ordered the South Loop Turkey & Bacon. The sandwich was two slices of toasted ciabattabread stuffed with thinly sliced smoked turkey, Irish cheddar cheese, smoked bacon, spinach, and a smokey mayo. We all sort of looked at that sandwich on the menu, but J was the one that ordered it. She said it was delicious. The bread was nice and crispy, but not too hard to eat. Her sandwich also came with fries which she really liked. She’s a big fan of the aforementioned Steak ‘n Shake fries, so these were right up her alley.
My brother sort of surprised me and ordered the Guiness BBQ Pulled Pork. The sandwich is house-made, slow roasted, pork with a Guiness BBQ sauce and served on a pretzel roll. He devoured the sandwich and didn’t offer me a taste. He said it was delicious. Like the rest of us, he got fries with his sandwich and he cleaned his plate.
My sister-in-law got a turkey burger. It was similar to my burger, but made with ground turkey. She got a chipotlemayo that was served on the side. It was a large sandwich and she ate most, but not all of it. Again, fries with the sandwich.
We didn’t see our waitress to much throughout the meal. Another guy brought out the food, but the waitress was right behind him with ketchup and mustard. After that, we didn’t see her until check time. The other guy cleared out plates, so there were no refills on drinks. There was water on the table, but I could have used another Coke.
Our bill was just under $50 for the four of us. That surprised me. When I eat lunch around Lansing, I’m happy if the bill’s under $25. Our bill in the South Loop was under $25 for the two of us. My brother and I each threw in $30 and we headed to Soldier Field for the concert.
Grace O’Malley’s was a great pre-concert or pre-game spot for Soldier Field. It’s a little less than a mile walk which, in Chicago, isn’t bad. We walked south on Michigan to hit the 18th Street bridge which takes you right to the gates. Grace O’Malley’swas your typical Irish Pub with above average pub grub. We’d definitely consider it again.