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  • Post #61 - December 3rd, 2004, 7:03 am
    Post #61 - December 3rd, 2004, 7:03 am Post #61 - December 3rd, 2004, 7:03 am
    And back to the subject heading...

    I found myself downtown on Wednesday and needing a quick lunch. I was also very near the Berghoff. I decided to finally try their not that new anymore, basement cafeteria.

    OK, I did not get the wienerschnitzel. Seemed just a tad high for a cafeteria at $12.95, and as alluded to above, hardly, well, I cannot make any judgment about its inside, but it sure was not cooked to order. There is, however, plenty of seemingly good choices: four kinds of carved sammys, sausages, lots of German salads and sides. In fact, I would say, that in some ways, the food at the Cafe flies in the face of this thread, in that it was almost entirely of the more traditional end of the Berghoff menu. Spatzle anyone?

    But was it good? I cannot extrapolate to the whole menu, but I have to say this. My roast beef sandwich was surprisingly bad. The meat was very red, rare, but the meat was also super tender like it had been cooked a long time. It made me think that they had used something like tenderizers to spruce up the cut. 'Cause this was NOT prime rib. It did not taste like the roast beef I remember at the bar above, and perhaps it is different. I am sad to say, it reminded me greatly of Arby's.

    But, I am happy to say, the German fries excelled (as did the pickle, the Berghoff remains one of the best pickle purveyors in Chicago). It somewhat defines reason that fried potatoes could thrive under a heat lamp, but these do. They are crisp for the most part, but occasionally limp. A few have even puffed up like the famous potato souffles at Antoines. They are salty but intensely potatoe-y, like they came from hierloom potatos (not). The paper basket of German fries did add a dollar and a half to my ticket, but it also kept me a lot happier on the exit.

    Berghoff root beer in plastic bottles is not the same.

    One question seems, why not stick with the bar. The room downstairs is very well done, it reminded me greatly of the cafeteria in the University Club (absent the view and free newspapers), so there is something to eating down there. There is, obviously, something to be said for sitting during lunch if needed. On the other hand, I wonder if the roast beef is better, and I know the root beer is.

    VI
  • Post #62 - February 17th, 2015, 9:01 am
    Post #62 - February 17th, 2015, 9:01 am Post #62 - February 17th, 2015, 9:01 am
    I swore I'd never go back to The Berghoff after their "faux-closing-forever" of 2006. But a friend has proposed going there. Is the current iteration of The Berghoff anything like the one of old? Is it worth going there?

    P.S. Is this the oldest bump ever?
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #63 - February 17th, 2015, 11:32 am
    Post #63 - February 17th, 2015, 11:32 am Post #63 - February 17th, 2015, 11:32 am
    Haha probably the oldest bump in a while. I have to say I was a Berghoff "regular" back in the day, eating at the "stand up bar" weekly. I was very upset at the "changes" for the worse and the firing of the old waitstaff etc.

    But, I was in the neighborhood and thought Id stop in to the basement cafeteria line. I had a decent if overpriced Rueben. But the waitstaff was beyond rude and disinterested. Yelling out orders and instructions. Not a pleasant experience.

    On the way out I stopped by the old bar ("cafe") and they arent even carving sandwiches there anymore. Of course the place was nearly empty.

    What a shame, they really ruined this wonderful place. One of the most beautiful bars anywhere. So much history. And now just really sad.
  • Post #64 - February 17th, 2015, 1:32 pm
    Post #64 - February 17th, 2015, 1:32 pm Post #64 - February 17th, 2015, 1:32 pm
    riddlemay wrote:P.S. Is this the oldest bump ever?

    No, but close. Your bump is ten years and two months. Gypsy Boy's bump here last month was ten years and seven months. You get props for it nonetheless.

    Gypsy Boy has two of the top three I've found, since he was also responsible for this bump of nine years a year ago.
  • Post #65 - February 18th, 2015, 7:26 am
    Post #65 - February 18th, 2015, 7:26 am Post #65 - February 18th, 2015, 7:26 am
    Thanks, champs, for the report. (And thanks, nsxtasy, for the record-keeping.) It looks like my friend and I are going to the Berghoff this afternoon. I'll report on the experience.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #66 - February 18th, 2015, 6:52 pm
    Post #66 - February 18th, 2015, 6:52 pm Post #66 - February 18th, 2015, 6:52 pm
    Okay, much as I'd prefer to hate the Berghoff forever because of the Fakeout Closing of 2006, my friend and I thought lunch was pretty good.

    We ate on the main floor, in the table area between the bar and the big room. The big room was closed. Wonder if it's ever open for meals—or if it is used exclusively for events.

    Back in the day I used to end up in that same area about half the time I went to the Berghoff—it has good character and I never felt it was better or worse than the big room—so that was fine.

    As for food, I’d say it ranged from good to very good. Very good was the potato soup I started with, a well-seasoned milky soup with lots of nice, small chunks of potato and small discs of sausage. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it.

    My wiener schnitzel was tasty, probably not the best I’ve ever had but good enough. Back in the very good category was the creamed spinach, a side I always used to have at the Berghoff. My sense memory doesn’t go back far enough to tell you whether it was the same recipe, but it had some nice herbs and spices going on in it. I thought I detected cinnamon, but wasn’t sure. It was as good a creamed spinach as any I’ve had.

    The place was bustling, mostly with business types. I wasn’t expecting the popularity. I think I was picturing kind of a ghost restaurant, in line with my overall image of a place that was a “shadow of its former self.” But that isn’t the way it was. (No doubt if the big room had been open, customers would have looked pretty thin on the ground all spread out, so likely that’s the reason it wasn’t.) Friendly host, friendly waitress. I do miss the old school waiters and am sorry they were let go. But the young student-type waiters and waitresses who now work the tables need to earn a living, too, I told myself.

    Overall, to my surprise, we both felt we would return.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #67 - February 18th, 2015, 7:02 pm
    Post #67 - February 18th, 2015, 7:02 pm Post #67 - February 18th, 2015, 7:02 pm
    Thanks for taking one for the team. Haven't been back in years. Firing all the career staff was pretty low. Best part about the New Coke phony closing - they sold off the bespoke Weller bourbon stock for practically nothing. Still have a bit left. Berghoff was picking barrels in KY rickhouses 100 years before it was hip-ster. Maybe it's time to give it another shot.

    Nutmeg is the classic creamed spinach spice. Cinnamon not so much, but maybe the chef came over from Greektown.
  • Post #68 - February 18th, 2015, 7:05 pm
    Post #68 - February 18th, 2015, 7:05 pm Post #68 - February 18th, 2015, 7:05 pm
    You're right, I think it was nutmeg.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #69 - February 18th, 2015, 7:35 pm
    Post #69 - February 18th, 2015, 7:35 pm Post #69 - February 18th, 2015, 7:35 pm
    For me, it wouldn't be about the food. It's about what they did. The place is dead to me.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #70 - February 18th, 2015, 10:14 pm
    Post #70 - February 18th, 2015, 10:14 pm Post #70 - February 18th, 2015, 10:14 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:For me, it wouldn't be about the food. It's about what they did. The place is dead to me.


    I get it. That's how I felt, too. The rumors that the whole "closing" was about getting rid of unionized staff were especially troubling.

    That's why I had to remind myself that everyone working there now needs to make a living, too.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #71 - February 19th, 2015, 11:48 am
    Post #71 - February 19th, 2015, 11:48 am Post #71 - February 19th, 2015, 11:48 am
    When I worked in the loop at the 'old' Edison building', we had lunch at the standup bar at least twice a week. The Cod sandwich on Friday was NOT to be missed. Great root beer and occasionally on a Friday a beer or two.
    The owners completely destroyed a magnificant cultural icon and I just cannot go back.-Dick
  • Post #72 - February 19th, 2015, 11:50 am
    Post #72 - February 19th, 2015, 11:50 am Post #72 - February 19th, 2015, 11:50 am
    Haven't been in years, but they had fantastic bread with the meal. Do they still have that? The stand-up bar lunch was very good back then.
  • Post #73 - February 19th, 2015, 5:10 pm
    Post #73 - February 19th, 2015, 5:10 pm Post #73 - February 19th, 2015, 5:10 pm
    Puckjam wrote:Haven't been in years, but they had fantastic bread with the meal. Do they still have that?


    This was one area (besides the creamed spinach) in which I tried to do an apple-to-apples comparison, since I used to love their rye bread. But I'm afraid my report has to be inconclusive and unhelpful. I thought the rye bread yesterday was good, but try as I might, I couldn't make my sense memory recall exactly how the rye bread tasted 9 years ago. If forced to bet one way or the other, my taste buds would lay their money on it not being quite as good. But I wouldn't want to bet the farm on it.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #74 - February 28th, 2018, 3:07 pm
    Post #74 - February 28th, 2018, 3:07 pm Post #74 - February 28th, 2018, 3:07 pm
    The Berghoff, one of Chicago’s oldest restaurants, is planning to once again brew its own beer — a move that harkens back to the restaurant’s almost 120-year-old roots while trying to drive the business into the future. Come late summer, the Berghoff plans to introduce its new 10-barrel brewing system, which will take up space on three floors of the 143-year-old building.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ ... l#nws=true
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #75 - July 28th, 2020, 6:51 am
    Post #75 - July 28th, 2020, 6:51 am Post #75 - July 28th, 2020, 6:51 am
    Chicago's Historic Berghoff Restaurant Temporarily Closing

    https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/c ... g/2312353/

    "This is strictly a business decision made by the family that did not come without a period of deep contemplation," the post continued.
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard

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