Updated: Nov 13, 2019
The twinkle in Jefferson Park Station's eye
I pass by this place daily on my way to work (https://bit.ly/2qVLm45). Jefferson Park Grill reminds me of those dives you'd see in rough neighborhoods which always brings back fond memories of me ordering food next to crackheads & drug dealers, overhearing funny (usually very vulgar) conversations or watching the constant fights break out. Each time I walked by Jefferson Park Grill I etched into my mind that I'd eventually venture forth through that door, chatting up the patrons & possibly getting into a fight.
"To my delight this Philly steak looked freaking amazing..."
One day after work, the time was ripe since I got off earlier. It was around 7:00pm, I waved to the lady smoking on the steps outside; we shared a momentary smile. Upon entering I noticed it was small, quaint space with maybe 1-2 people working the kitchen (https://bit.ly/2MX2SNJ). The place seemed deserted, even the cashier was nowhere to be found. Moments later I hear a soft toned "excuse me baby." As I step aside the woman that was smoking on the steps passes by & hops up to the cash register.
Immediately I spot Philly cheese steak on the menu. I also added ordered pizza puff with some orange juice to make sure my hunger was satisfied. The cashier was nice & worked it so that she replaced the drink that came with my pizza puff combo with the higher priced OJ without charging me extra for the OJ. Do note that this place is CASH ONLY, something which the cashier had to tell me as I didn’t see any signs posted. She then asked me where I was going to sit, bringing me my juice moments later.
"Meanwhile the cashier opened the bathroom door to find a half-naked crackhead doing God knows what inside there."
I took the time to look around while I was there. There are a few wooden tables, a TV (https://bit.ly/2PvJTvE), ATM, etc. Donning the walls are some pictures of celebrities that I assume visited before. The place was clean as a whistle. As far as customers, the only customers inside were me & another guy (who was also dressed in a suit like myself which prompted some glaring.)
After waiting around 10 minutes she brought my Philly steak, fries & pizza puff. To my delight this Philly steak looked freaking amazing (https://bit.ly/2JypnXe) with perfectly melted cheese blended with peppers & nicely toasted bread. It's almost as if they prepared it for a commercial shoot. The pizza puff (https://bit.ly/2NrzgaB) made me ecstatic as well since it's not your typical crappy frozen puff you get at most restaurants. The puff they serve is full of meat, cheese, sauce, & bigger than the standard pizza puffs. The pizza puff was also fried to a perfect golden brown.
Everything tasted great. The Philly disappointed me a bit because they didn't prepare it like a usual Philly (no mayo or anything extra, just cheese & peppers.) The meat also wasn’t seasoned so it didn't have that unique Philly taste. The cashier stopped by frequently checking in & making sure everything was good with me. She even brought me ketchup & told me I was the best dressed customer she'd ever seen (which prompted the other guy to leave in what I can only assume was a fit of jealousy.)
The cook stepped out for a bit & went outside the back door to wash a bucket. Meanwhile the cashier opened the bathroom door to find a half-naked crackhead doing God knows what inside there. He came out a few minutes later, starting chatting. He immediately caused a small scene with all of his twitching & barely intelligible speech while trying to order a sandwich that wasn't even on the menu. Eventually he settled on an egg & sausage sandwich, pairing it with a coffee before he made his way to Jefferson Park station to beg for money. Fun times.
Overall a good place to visit. I'd say expect great presentation & not your usual spin on things. Good food, great prices. Don't settle for Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald’s, etc. when you can patron this place.
*This place is CASH ONLY. There's an ATM inside & a PNC ATM at the Jefferson Park Station
5 out of 5 stars
Jefferson Park Grill
5364 W Gale St
Chicago, IL 60630