R.J. Grunts: "Lincoln Park-burgers, sandwiches and more" Top 5 Page for this destination R.J. Grunts Tip by Dabs
R.J. Grunts, Chicago: 2 reviews and 3 photos
Last visit December 2014
R.J. Grunts was the first restaurant opened, on June 10, 1971, by Rich Melman who went on to build the Lettuce Entertain You empire of restaurants. The name comes from R. for Rich Melman, J. for Jerry Orsoff, his partner, and Grunts because Orsoff's girlfriend supposedly grunted when she ate. All of their other early ventures with similarly silly names, such as Lawrence of Oregano and Jonathan Livingston Seafood, have long since closed but when they announced this one was closing because it was losing money, the old regulars started coming out of the woodwork with cries of protest, Melman became nostalgic and decided to keep it open, working there himself to make the restaurant profitable again along with his son R.J. who was named after the restaurant.
Even though I lived a few blocks away many years ago, the first time I ate here was well after I moved away and I'm sorry I didn't get to it sooner. The restaurant is very casual, the walls are adorned with black and white photos of the waitresses that have come and gone. The tables are close together but it's a small enough place that it's not conversation challenged. Open for lunch and dinner. You can reserve on Open Table.
Very close to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Park West, not too far from the Chicago History Museum.
Favorite Dish: R.J. Grunts claims to have the first salad bar, well maybe not the first salad bar ever, but at least in Chicago! But with all the yummy sandwiches and burgers, I always order off the menu. On the most recent visit I had a Better Bacon Cheddar Burger ($11.95) and my niece had a veggie burger ($10.95), on other visits we've had the buffalo chicken nacho appetizer and various other sandwiches. Everything we've ever eaten here has been good.
The menu here is mostly burgers and sandwiches or you can get the salad and soup bar by itself or in combination with a burger or sandwich. Their milkshakes are very good and you can mix and match the flavors and also get them made with yogurt. Most entrees are in the $11-13 range, not a cheap meal but much better than fast food.
Address: 2056 N. Lincoln Park West
Price Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: Lincoln Park West at Dickens, near the Lincoln Park Zoo
Phone: (773) 929-5363
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