They finally opened the new front bar and eating area of Duffy's Tavern and Grille. The place has been under construction for many weeks, and I had no idea what was going on. But last Friday I was starving and decided to hop off the 77 bus at Diversey and Sheridan and stroll the few feet to the front door. I am so glad I did.
When I walked in on Friday, workmen were still sanding and sawing and constructing, so I ate at the comfy, cozy bar in the backroom. I'll tell you about the food in a minute. Suffice it to say it was so good I brought my two family members there for lunch the next day. And that's when, behold, the eating area in front was transformed and open for business with a couple of dozen sets of tall tables and chairs.
Duffy's is an institution. Twenty years at 420 W. Diversey Parkway - the street that serves as a border line between Chicago's popular Lincoln Park and Lakeview neighborhoods. Yet I'd only been there twice before in the three years I lived on Surf St. Once for a sandwich (good) and a beer (refreshing). The other time for their famous $1 burger Thursday special with some friends. But I didn't taste or feel anything that made me want to write about it.
This time they blew me away. The braised chicken sandwich (see photo) was utterly out of this world - juicy and packed with flavor from the bacon, the tomato, onion and romaine, and the deliciously moist chicken itself. The dollop of basil mayo made a beautiful finishing j'ne sais quoi.
And the french fries. OMG. I love french fries, but there are some that make my tastebuds sing - these are those kind. According to our server, they hired a chef to consult with them about their menu items. They ended up cutting many of the least favorite items from the previous menu and adding some great new sandwiches and other dishes - and the new fries are among them. What a joy! Delicately crisp and sprinkled with herbs on the outside with a fluffy, creamy potato interior. Served piping hot. My companion, who also loves french fries, made no bones about it - the best he's ever had. I'm not going to argue about that.
Check out the photos of the menus showing the new menu items and just some of the draft brews. The new menu items are on sale for $5 as a way of introducing them. You get a big beautiful sandwich - their buns are the kind that make me eat the whole bun - and a side of those fabulous fries for only 5 bucks.
Do not hesitate. If you're anywhere near Diversey and Sheridan and you're hungry or thirsty, go now to Duffy's Tavern and Grille. You might even see me there 'cuz, oh my wallet!, I can walk to this place without breaking a sweat.