Al’s Beef – Oak Lawn, IL

24 09 2009
  • 5128 W. 95th Street
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708) 422-2333
  • Website
  • Menu
Als Beef on 95th in Oak Lawn.

Al's Beef on 95th in Oak Lawn.

It only took a day and a half this time.  Operation Bridesmaid Pickup is in full swing and J, her mom, and the one out-of-town bridesmaid headed to the hotel to unload a bunch of stuff for this week.  I was left at the future in-laws house to shower and run a couple errands.  Of course, it was lunch time and of course, I wanted a beef. 

Al’s Beef is a Chicago legend.  They claim to be the inventors of the sandwich.  In recent years, they’ve expanded quite a bit around Chicagoland with franchise locations.  One of those franchises is in Oak Lawn not too far from where I was staying.

The Oak Lawn Al’s Beef is on 95th Street in a new strip mall in the downtown area.  It’s actually a dual store with Nancy’s Pizza.  The inside is missing the one major thing that makes Al’s Al’s.  The counter.  Actually, I was quite confused with the store. Not only did it have tables instead of stand up counters, but when I walked in the door, I had no clue where the order area was.  You can’t see it at all from the doorway.  There’s a wall that sort of leads you around to the counter, but I walked into the dining area before I finally saw where I was supposed to go.  I had to go back to the entrance and walk inside the wall to get to the cash register. Read the rest of this entry »





Rosie’s Drive-In – Oak Lawn, IL

15 06 2009
  • 10235 S. Cicero Avenue
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60453
  • (708) 636-7717
  • Website
  • Menu
Rosies Drive-In on South Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

Rosie's Drive-In on South Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

I’ve been in the Chicago area for three days now.  I’ve had two pizzas, but no Italian beef.  J and her mom got up to go do some wedding planning that I didn’t need to be there for, so I slept in.  When I got up, I was hungry.  I wanted an Italian beef…..bad.   J’s parents have recommended a little place just around the corner.  They have Italian beef and it was close, so that’s where I went.

Rosie’s Drive-In is on South Cicero Street at 103rd in Oak Lawn.  It’s not a Drive-In in the traditional sense.  There are no speakers in the parking lot and no car hops.  It is a small building that does most of it’s business with carry-out and drive thru. 

Since I hate drive thrus, I chose to park my car and go inside.  To my surprise, there was seating inside the building.  I didn’t think it looked very big from the outside, but there are a handful of tables so you can actually sit an eat.  Since J’s parents live right around the corner, I chose to take my sandwich with me.  Read the rest of this entry »





TGI Friday’s – Oak Lawn, IL

3 05 2009
  • 5420 W. 95th Street
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708) 422-0339
  • Website
  • Menu
TGI Fridays on 95th Street in Oak Lawn.

TGI Friday's on 95th Street in Oak Lawn.

After seeing the best basic cable clip show host perform at The Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN, we needed food.  It was a little after 10:00 by the time we left the casino and even though we were only 15 miles or so from home, taking surface streets in Chicago can take a really long time.  The neighborhood we were driving through really wasn’t a neighborhood we were wanting to stop in, so we all started talking about places to eat back in an area where J’s parents were more familiar with the options.  There were, of course, the two 24 hour family restaurants, but I think everyone was wanting something more than classic diner food.  J tried calling a couple chains to see how late they were open and didn’t have any luck until she called TGI Friday’s.

The Oak Lawn TGI Friday’s is on 95th Street in downtown Oak Lawn.  A few years ago, you would have only found houses were the building stands, but the Village board had a different vision for the area.  They made the area a TIF district and used emminent domain to get rid of the houses.  Now, a bank and Friday’s share a parking lot along the very busy commercial artery of Oak Lawn.

By the time we made it back to 95th Street, it was about twenty after eleven.  J was told on the phone they stopped taking orders at 11:45 so we actually made it with plenty of time to spare.  The business itself didn’t close until one, but I was still surprised to see so many cars in the parking lot. Read the rest of this entry »





Goal Post Pub – Oak Lawn, IL

9 03 2009
  • 5207 1/2 95th Street
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60453
  • (708 ) 422-5275
  • Website
The Goal Post Pub on 95th Street in Oak Lawn, IL

The Goal Post Pub on 95th Street in Oak Lawn, IL

OK, here’s the set up.  J and I were in Oak Lawn for one of her friend’s surprise birthday party.  Supposedly, we were in town because I was working.  Since I was working, J asked two of her friend’s (birthday girl included) if they wanted to go to dinner.  They went to their favorite restaurant in LaGrange.  Halfway through dinner, I called J telling her I got out of work early, her parents weren’t home, and I didn’t have a key to get in so I went to a bar to watch the basketball games.  As the dinner wore on, I was getting crankier and crankier because I had to sit at a bar and wait for them.  In reality, I was at the bar, but I was there with the birthday girl’s husband, parents, and fifty of her closest friends.  When the three ladies got to the bar I was at, J called me again and told me to meet her in the parking lot.  I had just ordered a beer, so she was gonna have to come in.   The other friend, said they should come in and say hi since I was in such a bad mood because I was stuck at a bar by myself.  That did it.  They got the birthday girl to come in first.  I was sitting at a bar by myself and they could see me when the walked in.  The party goers were behind a wall.  When the birthday girl got close enough, I pointed behind her.  She turned around, everyone yelled surprise and she jumped twenty feet.  Totally fooled.  Had no idea it was coming. 

The ironic thing (to me anyway) is that the party was a bar called The Goal Post in downtown Oak Lawn.  The bar expanded into the business that used to be next door.  The last business to use that space was the birthday girl’s women’s only gym.  I thought it was funny.  I don’t know if anyone else did. Read the rest of this entry »





7-Eleven – 103rd & Central – Oak Lawn, IL

9 03 2009
  • 10220 Central Avenue
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60453
  • (708 ) 346-0816
  • Website
The 7-Eleven on the corner of 103rd and Central in Oak Lawn, IL

The 7-Eleven on the corner of 103rd and Central in Oak Lawn, IL

You should know about my new found love for frozen drinks by now.  After a quick dinner at Brown’s Chicken & Pasta, I had a decision to make. I could either go back to J’s parents for an hour or so and risk either falling asleep or getting involved in a Wii game and miss the party or I could just kill time shopping or something. 

I chose shopping.  I only know two ways to get to the Chicago Ridge mall.  One is to take the busy Central Avenue to 95h or to take the even busier Cicero Avenue to 95th.  J and her family weave through the neighborhoods, but I’m not brave enough to drive and find that way on my own, so I chose Central to 95th.  I figured along the way, if I saw a Speedway or 7-Eleven I was going to stop for a Frozen Coke/Slurpee.  As I turned from 103rd to Central, I noticed a 7-Eleven in the strip mall on the corner, so I made a quick lane change and went after my Coke.

Normally, I wouldn’t blog about every 7-Eleven I stop at.  You all know by now what the store’s all about and you really have even less interest in a Chicago convenience store than you do a Chicago restaurant, but it’s not the Slurpee’s that make this 7-Eleven stand out.  Read the rest of this entry »





Brown’s Chicken & Pasta – Oak Lawn, IL

9 03 2009
  • 4740 W. 111th Street
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708 ) 424-9280
  • Website
  • Menu
Browns Chicken & Pasta on 111th Street in Oak Lawn, IL

Brown's Chicken & Pasta on 111th Street in Oak Lawn, IL

There’s been a fried chicken debate going on between J and I since we started dating.  I have always preferred Popeye’s Chicken while her family grew on Brown’s.  If you’ve never heard of Brown’s, it’s probably because it’s a Chicago chain.  If you have heard of Brown’s, it’s probably because of the “Brown’s Chicken Massacre” which happened at a Palatine location in 1993. 

We were in Chicago for a surprise birthday party for one of J’s friends.  It was J’s job to distract the birthday girl and get her to the party later in the evening.  J and another friend decided they needed a girl’s night out at Al’s Char-House in Lagrange (review HERE).  Since I was being used as an excuse to be in Chicago that weekend, I couldn’t be seen and therefore couldn’t go to dinner with the girls. 

After dropping J off, I was on my own for dinner.  We just had the Popeye’s/Brown’s discussion earlier this week so I thought I’d give the Chicago chain a chance to see if they really were better than my beloved Popeyes.

Brown’s has several locations in Chicagoland, but the one closest to where I was is on 111th and Cicero right at the Oak Lawn/Alsip city limits.  It’s a really small shop and really hard to get in to.  I missed the entrance and had to go up a block and turn around.  When I turned in to the very small parking lot, I headed straight one of just a handful of spots in front of the building. Read the rest of this entry »





Jedi’s Restaurant – Oak Lawn, IL

15 02 2009
  • 9266 S. Cicero
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708 ) 499-4545
  • Website
  • Menu
Jedis Restaurant on Southwest Highway and Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

Jedi's Restaurant on Southwest Highway and Cicero in Oak Lawn, IL

It was time for lunch again and we had a hard time deciding where to go.  We knew there would be six of us because J’s uncle and his girlfriend were meeting us as well.  It took a long time to finally settle on a place.  We needed something that would be quick and something that would satisfy a number of different palates.  We finally settled on Jedi’s Restaurant.

Jedi’s Restaurant is on the corner of Cicero Avenue and Southwest Highway in Oak Lawn.  It’s a typical family restaurant with a large menu and a family friendly atmosphere.  The rest of our party was already seated when J and I arrived, so we joined them at a table on the “upstairs” part of the dining room.  We were seated right next to the fish tank which was a pretty big draw for the kids in the restaurant.

I know our party all showed up at different times which can be frustrating for restaurants, but we weren’t that far apart.  There was maybe 10 minutes between the time J’s parents were seated and when J and I arrived.  Once we got there, we waited another ten minutes for our waitress to come over for drink orders.  J’s step dad and her uncle already had drinks.  J ordered a Diet Pepsi.  I ordered a Pepsi and J’s uncle’s girlfriend ordered a Diet Pepsi with no ice and a lemon wedge.  Ten minutes later, the waitress brought back only the Diet Pepsi with no ice but with a lime instead of a lemon.  She then took care of another table behind us and J and I still had no drinks.  J stopped her to ask about our drinks and she rudely informed J that “they” were working on it.  A few minutes later, we finally got our Pepsi’s. Read the rest of this entry »





Del Taco – Oak Lawn, IL

13 02 2009
  • 9507 S. Cicero Avenue
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60453
  • (708 ) 229-1988
  • Website
  • Menu
The only Illinois Del Taco location in Oak Lawn.

The only Illinois Del Taco location in Oak Lawn.

Authentic Mexican scares me.  Fast food quasi-Mexican intrigues me.  Go figure.  It’s not that I don’t like Mexican food.  I just don’t have a lot of experience with it.  I had never heard of Del Taco until I started dating J and saw the one by her parents.  I realized it was probably a chain, but it’s not a chain I had ever seen before.   Since it was something I had never had before, I wanted to check it out.

Del Taco is a West Coast chain that is slowly expanding into the Midwest.  The Oak Lawn location is the only one in Illinois.  It sits near the corner of Cicero Avenue and 95th Street in front of  a small shopping center.  When you see Del Taco, you immediately think of it’s competitors.  It looks pretty much the same from the outside.  A small building with a Southwestern flair. 

The inside is much brighter.  J actually described as a kid’s interpretation of a restaurant.  There are splashes of color anywhere and everywhere from floor to ceiling.  The set up is what you’d expect.  There’s a small dining room with plastic furniture and an order counter with little rope maze that you have wind your way through even though you’re the only person there. Read the rest of this entry »





Cupid Candies – Oak Lawn , IL

12 02 2009
  • 4707 W. 95th Street
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708 ) 423-2729
  • Website
  • Menu
Cupid Candies on 95th Street in Oak Lawn.

Cupid Candies on 95th Street in Oak Lawn.

I sort of get a double whammy on Valentine’s Day.  Getting something for J is not a problem.  She’s got flowers waiting back in Lansing and tickets to a show that I’m pretty sure got lost in the mail.  Not only is February 14th Valentine’s Day, but it’s also my mom’s birthday.  Birthday’s aren’t a big deal in my family.  If we do anything at all, we do something small. 

Since J and I are back in the Chicago area, my mom decided to meet us for lunch tomorrow afternoon at Portillo’s Hot Dogs (review HERE) in Crestwood.  J suggested since we were meeting her before her birthday we should get her some candy or something.  When I was driving around lost this afternoon, I noticed Cupid Candies on the corner of Cicero and 95th.  I suggested we stop in and pick up some chocolates when we went out for dinner. Read the rest of this entry »





Deja Brew Bar & Grill- Oak Lawn, IL

12 02 2009
  • 5219 W. 95th Street
  • Oak Lawn, IL 60435
  • (708 ) 423-0484
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Deja Brew on 95th Street in downtown Oak Lawn, IL

Deja Brew on 95th Street in downtown Oak Lawn, IL

After taking care of some things this morning, my girlfriend, her family, and I headed out for lunch.  Our first stop was Palermos 95th (review HERE), but they were even packed for lunch, so we went to J’s parents favorite bar in downtown Oak Lawn.

Deja Brew Bar & Grill is located on 95th Street in downtown Oak Lawn.  It fronts the busy highway, but the parking and main entrance is actually in the back which is accessible by an alley.  When you walk in that back door, you come into an enclosed courtyard.  From there, there’s another set of doors to actually enter the establishment. 

Inside is a typical sports bar.  There are LCD’s hanging from the ceiling.  There’s a large, odd shaped bar that takes a good chunk of the space.  The shape of the bar is a little hard to describe.  Around the bar are a few pub tables.  Along the opposite wall is a step up with more tables.  We took a table near the windows and waited for a watiress.

The waitress actually came over pretty quickly to get our drink orders, but then took a really long time to come back with them.  She spilled a little bit of J’s mom’s beer and went to get something to clean it up with before taking lunch orders.  It took a good ten minutes for her to come back with a bar towel.  Once we got the spilled beer taken care of, we put in lunch orders.  Another half hour later and we finally got our food.  During the time, J and her uncle both ran out of Diet Coke but there was no refilling until the food came out. Read the rest of this entry »