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Orbit Room - Kuma's without the Crowd

Orbit Room - Kuma's without the Crowd
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  • Orbit Room - Kuma's without the Crowd

    Post #1 - June 23rd, 2009, 10:00 am
    Post #1 - June 23rd, 2009, 10:00 am Post #1 - June 23rd, 2009, 10:00 am
    LTH,

    Burger night with the bride, drove past Kuma's on the off chance it wasn't a madhouse, 20-people waiting outside at 8pm, went to the Orbit Room not 5-minutes away.

    I've had drinks at the Orbit in the past, never food, was happily surprised all around. Quick moving bartenderess pretty, pleasant and well informed. Split a spinach salad generously studded with bacon, hard boiled egg and goat cheese. Burger with bacon, runny yolk fried egg, jalapenos, fries and a topknot of frizzled onions for me. Bride, cheddar with raw onion, both burgers perfect med-rare.

    Nice outdoor seating area, pre check please/diners and dives Kuma's type crowd and interesting beer list.

    I started to type the Orbit Room is a good Kuma's alternative, but the Orbit Room stands well on it's own.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Orbit Room
    2959 N California Ave
    Chicago, IL 60618-7702
    773-588-8540
    http://www.orbitroomchicago.com
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - June 23rd, 2009, 10:08 am
    Post #2 - June 23rd, 2009, 10:08 am Post #2 - June 23rd, 2009, 10:08 am
    Gary,

    Love the outdoor space at Orbit Room, but the one time I ate there, the food was awful enough to prevent me from ever returning. Nachos had stale chips and wet, limp and rusty iceberg lettuce. I have no distinct memory of what else we ordered, but I do remember distinctly feeling that it was some of the worst bar food I'd ever had.

    This was a year ago, and it sounds your experience was way better. Thanks for the post, and encouraging me to give it another try sometime soon. It's very conveniently located for me.

    Kenny
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #3 - June 23rd, 2009, 12:14 pm
    Post #3 - June 23rd, 2009, 12:14 pm Post #3 - June 23rd, 2009, 12:14 pm
    My friend lives around the corner from Orbit Room, so I have had the opportunity to go there on a number of occasions. They have what I consider to be an "average" beer selection. I say "average" because in reality it's a better selection than 90% of bars in Chicago, but for a beer bar it's just OK. I think their spirits selection is a bit better. I'm a fan of the burger at Orbit. I haven't tried a lot of other stuff there, but most everything I've had has been decent. They also frequently run specials which are usually good. By and large I am a fan of the room and the outdoor patio. I like the fact that they don't have TVs running at all hours with random and unnecessary sports highlights shows. The music is usually good. I find the staff the be pretty competent and more or less friendly (there are a few exceptions).

    I would categorize Orbit Room as a good neighborhood bar. Not a destination by any means, but a good place if you live in the area or are in the neighborhood.
  • Post #4 - June 23rd, 2009, 12:16 pm
    Post #4 - June 23rd, 2009, 12:16 pm Post #4 - June 23rd, 2009, 12:16 pm
    Is this place connected to the Orbit Room that was on Broadway(?) in the mid-1980s? The logos are similar if not identical. That bar was often featured in the Chicago based TV series "Crime Stories" (in fact, I think it was pictured in the show's intro).
  • Post #5 - June 23rd, 2009, 3:13 pm
    Post #5 - June 23rd, 2009, 3:13 pm Post #5 - June 23rd, 2009, 3:13 pm
    I agree - the Orbit Room serves solid bar food. On various visits, I've had and would recommend the salads, mac-n-cheese, and el cubano sandwich. The boy ALWAYS ordered (and I got to taste) the three pig sandwich - pulled pork, bacon, and ham IIRC. I don't see it on the menu anymore - crushing. They do have rye special on Thursdays - so that may comfort him.

    Thanks for the reminder!
  • Post #6 - June 24th, 2009, 3:10 pm
    Post #6 - June 24th, 2009, 3:10 pm Post #6 - June 24th, 2009, 3:10 pm
    When you can sit outside at that great back patio, Orbit room is a GREAT neighborhood bar with really solid bar food. The nachos are huge - good hearty handmade chips, two kinds of beans, perfectly grilled chicken, yum. I thought the outside staff, at least when I've been there, were really friendly. That patio is just an urban oasis - you're close to california and belmont, and you'd never know it back there. Its huge! The atmosphere out on the patio really makes it worth a try. I've been hesitant to recommend it... was a Kuma's girl from day one but just can't justify waiting that long to eat anywhere!
  • Post #7 - June 24th, 2009, 3:30 pm
    Post #7 - June 24th, 2009, 3:30 pm Post #7 - June 24th, 2009, 3:30 pm
    and tuesday nights the angus burger (normally $8) is the special for only $4. sounds like a great deal. justjoan

    http://www.orbitroomchicago.com/specials.php
  • Post #8 - June 24th, 2009, 3:52 pm
    Post #8 - June 24th, 2009, 3:52 pm Post #8 - June 24th, 2009, 3:52 pm
    I haven't been there so take it for what it's worth but according to the internet one thing Kuma's has going for it over the orbit room is the beer list. Looks to me like a pretty generic beer list at orbit room. If you care about that sort of thing of course.
  • Post #9 - June 24th, 2009, 3:57 pm
    Post #9 - June 24th, 2009, 3:57 pm Post #9 - June 24th, 2009, 3:57 pm
    Rae wrote:The nachos are huge - good hearty handmade chips, two kinds of beans, perfectly grilled chicken, yum.


    Handmade chips? Really? What do you mean by that?

    The chips I had last year at the Orbit Room were just awful, and they just seemed like standard store-bought ones that were stale.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #10 - June 25th, 2009, 1:33 pm
    Post #10 - June 25th, 2009, 1:33 pm Post #10 - June 25th, 2009, 1:33 pm
    Yeah the "handmade" part sounds weird! I just meant they were thick and held up to all the toppings without faling apart. Not at all soggy or greasy or "tostados"-ish. There's so many ways you can go wrong with nachos!
  • Post #11 - June 27th, 2009, 8:09 pm
    Post #11 - June 27th, 2009, 8:09 pm Post #11 - June 27th, 2009, 8:09 pm
    When we're in the mood to go out, but not in the mood to wait anywhere the Orbit Room is always the spot. Beer list is alright, but they make a mean dirty martini. Food is decent with a few menu items above average, burger, mac & cheese. Very nice patio and reliable music: iggy pop, bowie, etc. Friends from lincoln square, andersonville, lincoln park are are always surprised we have such a nice place in the area. :)
  • Post #12 - June 27th, 2009, 11:58 pm
    Post #12 - June 27th, 2009, 11:58 pm Post #12 - June 27th, 2009, 11:58 pm
    d4v3 wrote:Is this place connected to the Orbit Room that was on Broadway(?) in the mid-1980s? The logos are similar if not identical. That bar was often featured in the Chicago based TV series "Crime Stories" (in fact, I think it was pictured in the show's intro).

    Dave,

    No idea if there is a connection with the current Orbit Room, but I liked Crime Stories. My brother in-law, a retired Chicago cop, used to work with Dennis Farina whose pre actor career was Chicago cop. Though I get the feeling every Chicago cop of a certain age has a Dennis Farina story or three.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #13 - July 1st, 2009, 10:56 am
    Post #13 - July 1st, 2009, 10:56 am Post #13 - July 1st, 2009, 10:56 am
    We've had some good, some bad, and some weird: The benedict is served on a biscuit. While this sounds ok, it really makes for a heavy, salty first meal.

    Also their "specials" pricing are steadily creeping up to "normal". $9 Nacho Grande, I'm almost positive was $4 a year ago. I feel like it was $4 nachos and $4 Negra Modelos once, but maybe I'm wrong.

    Also they had some decent vegetarian options. Haven't been in a while.
  • Post #14 - July 1st, 2009, 11:47 am
    Post #14 - July 1st, 2009, 11:47 am Post #14 - July 1st, 2009, 11:47 am
    There was an old Polish diner type place on Milwaukee Ave south of Belmont called simply Orbit. We went there with my great uncle a few times back in the early 80s. The owner was a dignified Polish fellow who also owned the Orbit Lodge in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

    And that has been your fun fact of the day.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #15 - July 1st, 2009, 1:26 pm
    Post #15 - July 1st, 2009, 1:26 pm Post #15 - July 1st, 2009, 1:26 pm
    I actually went this past Saturday for lunch and my food was pretty damn good. I got the BLT&A (BLT with avocaado) and onion strings as my side with ranch of course. I also got a Bell's Oberon which added a nice fresh taste with the sandwich.

    The BLT&A was a nice size, the bread was thick and nicely toasted, generous amounts of bacon, lettuce and tomato but the avocado had a hard time staying on. All in all I would definitely go back.
  • Post #16 - July 24th, 2009, 9:51 am
    Post #16 - July 24th, 2009, 9:51 am Post #16 - July 24th, 2009, 9:51 am
    After being foiled yet again in an attempt at Kuma's(45 min wait @4:50 + 9 month pregnant wife, not happening), we decided to give Orbit Room a try. It was definitely a hit. Above average draft selection, burgers cooked perfectly, and most importantly, no wait. I would recommend the fresh made chips over the fries which looked like they were probably frozen. The efficient service, good music at a comfortable level and price point make this a nice alternative in the neighborhood.
  • Post #17 - August 4th, 2009, 8:56 am
    Post #17 - August 4th, 2009, 8:56 am Post #17 - August 4th, 2009, 8:56 am
    Hungry in Logan Square at 10:30pm last Friday, RAB and I weren't sure where to go for a late, quick dinner. RAB recalled this thread and after a quick call to confirm that the kitchen was open until 11pm, we hopped in the car to drive to the Orbit Room.

    We shared both the nachos and a burger. The nachos were really good and quite substantial. In fact, I have only two minor quibbles with the nachos: 1) too many toppings (something I'd not experienced before with nachos); and 2) the guacamole was packaged and tasteless. But, the chips were great, fresh jalapenos were spicy, black beans and refried beans were well-seasoned, chips were hot and crispy, and the cheese was real cheese and not some crummy cheese-like product. The entire dish had been baked, not nuked, and we happily finished it off.

    The burger, with its fried onions, was also good, and cooked medium rare, as requested. Bun was good, meat was tasty. The house-made chips were ok. I liked them, but would probably try a different side next time. The only problem is that there is no way that the burger actually weighed its advertised 8 ounces. It was probably closer to 4. We were quite full when we finished, so it was no big deal.

    The bar was extremely clean. The interior is far more upscale and decorated than I'd expected from driving by. At the same time, though, it's a casual crowd with a casual vibe and we were comfortable even though we were in jeans. The service was outstanding and leagues better than it had to be. The servers were friendly and my water glass never sat empty for even a minute.

    If anyone feels like trying the Orbit Room out (tonight, for example), their burgers are $4 on Tuesdays.

    We'll be back because it's a solid late night option in our neighborhood. But, I definitely wouldn't call this a destination restaurant.

    Ronna
  • Post #18 - August 26th, 2017, 9:42 am
    Post #18 - August 26th, 2017, 9:42 am Post #18 - August 26th, 2017, 9:42 am
    As of about 6 weeks ago Orbit Room was under new ownership. Wade McElroy and Jeff Donahue (Sportsmans Club, Estereo, etc.) have taken it on and the place feels great. This is their first venture on their own, without Heisler. The current cocktail menu has a refreshing and decidedly summery feel. The back bar is solid and the outdoor space is still spacious and inviting. The bartending staff, bolstered by some very recognizable Chicago talent (e.g. Luke Lefiles, Uby Khawaja), have been added to several veterans, retained from previous ownership.

    The food menu has changed but burgers, now 'diner style' are still available, as are fries, buffalo wings, mac & cheese, Chicago dogs, fried chicken sandwiches and a bunch of other bar-sensible items. The few items we had were quite tasty. There are also daily food specials run Sunday through Thursday. In a neighborhood that already boasts a wealth of food and beverage riches, you can add yet another spot to the list of worthy destinations.

    =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 #19 - November 18th, 2017, 12:34 pm
    Post #19 - November 18th, 2017, 12:34 pm Post #19 - November 18th, 2017, 12:34 pm
    Three months after new ownership took over the Avondale dive, the team behind The Orbit Room has announced they’re closing the bar. New Year’s Eve will be the final night of service at 2959 N. California Avenue.

    https://chicago.eater.com/2017/11/17/16 ... e-dive-bar
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #20 - November 19th, 2017, 3:59 pm
    Post #20 - November 19th, 2017, 3:59 pm Post #20 - November 19th, 2017, 3:59 pm
    Dave148 wrote:
    Three months after new ownership took over the Avondale dive, the team behind The Orbit Room has announced they’re closing the bar. New Year’s Eve will be the final night of service at 2959 N. California Avenue.

    https://chicago.eater.com/2017/11/17/16 ... e-dive-bar

    I ran into (co-owner) Wade McElroy today and he told me that they will be reconcepting in that space (after their NYE event) and are hopeful that the new entity will be open sometime in February. But yes, this will be the end for The Orbit Room.

    =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

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