Rockwell's Neighborhood Grill
4632 N. Rockwell St.
Chicago, IL 60625
Prices: moderate; large portions and good values
4 p.m. - 10 p.m., Mon.-Thurs.
4 p.m. - 11 p.m., Fri.
10 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sat.
10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sun.
By Lee Barrie and Cindy Kurman
Story originally appeared in StreetWise Magazine
When summer kicks in, there is no better place to relax and enjoy Chicago than a favorite neighborhood restaurant. What should a great neighborhood spot be like? It should be comfortable, homey, and friendly and serve some darn good food with a unique twist. It should also have some comfortable outdoor seating and—if you’re a dog lover—a place for your beloved pooch to enjoy your company (or vice versa).
Fortunately for North Siders, Rockwell’s Neighborhood Grill—on Rockwell Avenue, one block north of Wilson and just west of Lincoln Square—is just such a place. We go there often, for all the reasons we mentioned. Indoors, the restaurant is woodsy and comfortable: very Chicago. The bar area is great for single diners and beer lovers can enjoy a changing selection of artisan bottled beers.
The restaurant serves up a good variety of casual fare, some with a Southwestern or Cajun flare. Our standbys are the Blackened Fish Tacos and the Carne Asada (skirt steak). We haven’t had better fish tacos anywhere in Chicago—these are not breaded and fried and they’re served with really good taco chips (or you can substitute the hand-cut fries) and a tasty aioli. The very tender, char-broiled Carne Asada is served with Mexican vegetables and guacamole salad. It’s reminiscent of the wonderful creation that was served at the old Hubbard Street Grill—if you ate at HSG, you’ll know what a compliment this is.
Perusing the menu, you’ll see starters such as Nachos served with homemade salsa, a delicious Artichoke and Parmesan Hummus served with homemade pita chips, and Southwestern inspired starters such as homemade Chicken Flautas and Texas Toothpicks—strips of lightly battered jalapenos and onions fried and served with homemade ranch dressing. If you’re in a comfort food mood, try the hand-cut Cheddar Fries with Wisconsin cheddar, bacon, chives and jalapenos.
There is a wide salad selection that includes a delightful Chopped Chicken Salad, Romaine lettuce topped with grilled chicken breast, avocado, bacon, tomato and cheese, and the Southwest Veggie Salad featuring black beans, corn and guacamole.
Sandwiches are standouts. Red meat lovers will enjoy the big and juicy half-pound Angus beef burgers and the French Dip sandwich. On the lighter side, the Hot Smoked Turkey Hoagie, Grilled or Blackened Chicken Sandwich, BBQ Chicken Sandwich and a nicely prepared Veggie Burger will definitely hit the spot.
Entrées include the fish tacos and Carne Asada mentioned above, plus a Sage-rubbed Grilled or Blackened Pork Chop, Chicken Monterrey (chicken breast topped with grilled green peppers, onions and melted jack cheese, Fajitas (beef, chicken or veggie) and a nice lemon-peppered, Teriyaki Glazed or Blackened Salmon Filet.
Lest we forget: there’s a terrific Kid’s Menu: cheeseburgers, corn dogs, chicken strips, grilled cheese sandwiches, PB&Js. If your kids are budding foodies, they’ll like the Grilled or Blackened Tilapia Fish Sandwich and the Beef, Chicken or Veggie Burritos.
Rockwell’s Neighborhood Grill is also open for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Traditionalists will love the French Toast and the Big Breakfast Platter (3-egg omelet with lots of stuff). Specialties include the Cajun Bourbon Street Tacos with scrambled eggs, Andouille sausage, jack cheese, green peppers and onions, the Breakfast Burritos and the Tejas Tacos (scrambled eggs with jalapenos, jack cheese and tomatoes).
Note: DineWise is a weekly column appearing in StreetWise magazine. Lee Barrie is on the StreetWise board of directors and he and his wife Cindy own Kurman Communications, a Chicago-based public relations agency specializing in lifestyle, restaurant and hospitality strategic branding, marketing promotions, media relations and social networking. If you'd like your restaurant to be featured on the DineWise blog and in StreetWise magazine, please contact DineWise@kurman.com.
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