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Review: Lady Gregory's

With a good burger and long beer list, Andersonville spot finally opens

  • Lady Gregory's in Andersonville
Lady Gregory's in Andersonville (Lenny Gilmore/RedEye )
June 15, 2011|By Emily Van Zandt | RedEye

Lady Gregory's
5254 N. Clark St. 773-271-5050
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily
Rating: 2 (out of 4) Give it some time
Walking into this new Andersonville Irish bar and eatery, you’d never know the whole operation hit a scorching setback a just a few months ago. A fire in March destroyed much of the dining room and bar of Lady Gregory’s, causing a major delay for the latest project from the team behind Beckett’s Gourmet Burgers and Craft Beer and Wilde Bar & Restaurant. Eager to see how the space had bounced back, I dropped in for dinner during the establishment’s first full week of business.

Let’s talk about Andersonville. It’s a haul. I was surprised my friends from Wicker Park and the Loop agreed to come along (the things people do for free food). Even those of us from Lakeview weren’t thrilled with the idea of spending more than 10 minutes on the Clark bus. But parking is plentiful, there’s a bus stop within 10 feet and the neighborhood was bustling for a weeknight. Not bad, Andersonville. Not bad.

How long has this place been here? It takes a certain skill to decorate a bar in theme without being too carried away. Lady Gregory’s manages to bring the warmth of a small pub (thanks to dark wood accents and dim lighting) into a larger restaurant space and  was able to pull off an overused “library nook” area without me completely rolling my eyes. The space feels comfortable—enough so that it tricked one friend into thinking the spot had been open for quite a while already.

We’re out of that one, sorry.
Ah, the joys of a milelong beer list. The back of the food menu is almost entirely covered with bottle and draft brews (small print, too), which pleased everyone—until we ordered. Our waitress came armed with a list of around a dozen brews that were out, and bottles took longer to arrive at our table than they should have. Hopefully timing will be fixed as bartenders get more used to their stock, but if you need a brew immediately, I suggest heading for a seat at the bar.

Yeah, we’ll eat that, too. I have this terrible habit of overordering appetizers. I can’t help it. And this place was clearly meant for people like me. A short “amuse” menu was placed on the table as we sat down, letting you decide from a list of five or so starters before your server even stopped by. Thanks to our ordering tendencies, this meant an order of four deviled eggs and a plate of pate came out before our appetizer of excellent hot wings with a ginger glaze ($8). By the time our food arrived (a painful 30 minutes later) we were pretty glad we’d overordered.

You’re lucky I’m not more of a lady.
Between the Guinness burger ($8) and the Polish sausage/hot dog plate ($11), I’m not sure which dripped more grease. Luckily I eat with abandon. The Guinness burger is worth ordering again, with a sticky-sweet glaze and a hearty helping of stewed mushrooms. The rest of the food clocked in at slightly-better-than-bar food, with the a la carte sides (sandwiches and burgers come alone on the plate) a slight disappointment.

Shout out to the kids with the ice cream.
The table seated next to me on Tuesday provided endless entertainment as the three boys disappeared out the side windows and crawled back in a few minutes later with ice cream cones. The table wasn’t the only one with kids (it was only 9 p.m. or so, after all) and made me wonder if this location will skew more toward a laid-back family crowd, as Wilde has skewed slightly older and Beckett’s tends to draw a younger set.

Bottom line:
Even in its earliest opening days, Lady Gregory’s has a lot going right—good drink selection, solid food menu, comfortable atmosphere. But the service will have to step up and dishes will have to become a major talking point if this new neighborhood spot is going to appeal to a crowd outside of Andersonville.

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