The Wrigleyville Bar Project

May 18, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. I'm here to profile some of the local watering holes around Wrigley, so that you aren't the poor sap who gets dragged into going to the Cubby Bear before the game, wherein you are soon left wondering how your life spiraled out of control so quickly. Tommy Buzanis has pledged to help out with this column, as he is no stranger to the bottle, but you can rest assured that those promises are as empty as his shot glass. So here it is, another sporadically timed, mildly entertaining column that you can only find here at the TMS. Actually you can probably find lots of info on Wrigley bars in a much more concise and helpful format, but that's neither here nor there. And so it begins.

Today's Bar: Salt and Pepper Diner, 3537 N. Clark St. Just look for the giant 'Eat' sign.

Douchebag Factor (1 - 10, with 10 being this guy): 2

Who You'll See Here: Tourists, cheapskates, hungover locals, hipsters eating here 'ironically', dads in pleated khaki shorts, cops, people who buy peanuts outside of the stadium to save a buck.

What to order: Your basic eggs/sausage/hashbrown breakfast. Pitchers of beer. Tater tots. Coffee.

TV and music selection: A few misplaced and hard to see TV's hanging perilously from a hastily installed wall mount. Music? I can't remember. The 'din of a noisy diner' is what I always recall. The clink of silverware, banging of plates and shouting of orders is the music of choice here.

Booths or tables? Shiny, red fifties-style booths, with a chrome finish. There are also some standard issue tables mixed in with high tables and barstools stashed away in the corner by the men's room.

If you were to see a celebrity here, it would be: Larry David, Steve Buscemi, any author who has written a book about the Cubs and/or Wrigleyville.

Website: This is a diner. There is no website. As it should be.

Summary: Greasy spoon comes to Wrigleyville. No 'fancy' takes on bar food here or attempts to be trendy that characterize all of it's neighbors. Here you'll find waitresses who call you 'hon' (but don't really give two shits about you, lets be honest) and an all day breakfast menu chock full of diner staples doused in enough grease and ketchup to chase away the most persistent hangover.

This place exists to serve the needs of the 'pre-game' weekend crowd. It is a great place to catch a cheap bite to eat before the game. I can't in good faith recommend going here after a game when you are three sheets to the wind and looking to drown your sorrows after another heartbreaking loss and pour your heart and wallet out to a jukebox and dis-interested bartender. This is the place you go to eat truckstop food at truckstop prices before the game.

But let's not kids ourselves. The real reason to go here is the pitchers of beer. Finding a place in Chicago that actually has pitchers of beer is akin to finding a $10 bill in the pocket of your just laundered jeans. The pitchers of beer here will set you back around $6, which is also unheard of. Most places in the area charge around the same price for a can of beer on gamedays, so by all means, take advantage of this and buy the first round. They also have jello shots here, which is a bit random, but oddly fitting.

This used to be more of a hidden gem...a place where you could be seated right away on game day, but now word is out, so be prepared to wait. The service quality has decreased in proportion with the increase in patrons, but as long as you go in knowing what you're getting, the money saved and beer consumed make it well worth the trip.

Thunder Matt Rating: 9 empty Old Style cans out of a 12 pack.