The rest of my brain dump...
Grinders West, 18th and Locust: Great place to go for lunch (or dinner). They have lots of deli sandwiches and salads (you can build them from scratch if you choose) in a more upscale environment than its sister restaurant to the east; it’s still a unique place to eat with artist-designed tables and a cool LED light installation. I had pastrami on rye, and it was fantastic. You can also order everything from the menu next door--including beers off their extensive list. So whether you’re feeling like a cheesesteak, pizza, or salad with goat cheese and slivered almonds, you’re covered. Highly recommended.
Holy Land Café, 87th and Monrovia: A very pleasant surprise. A non-descript Middle Eastern restaurant in a strip mall, obscured from view by a Taco Bell has some really tasty food inside. They have a great lunch menu; the gyro meat is fabulous. If you’re in the neighborhood and like that type of food, stop in—they do a nice job with both the food and the prices.
Chefburger, Power and Light: One of the few locally-owned places in the P&L. I liked the food but did not like the wait, the crowd, the seating arrangement, or the prices. Also, my fiancée’s chicken sandwich was horseshit small. If I’m going to drop $15 on a burger meal, I’ll go to Blanc (or wait for happy hour at Bluestem and spend less than $10).
Saints Pub and Patio (“Gastropub”), 97th and Quivira: Used to be an Old Chicago, then a faux Irish pub. I put “gastropub” in quotes because I don’t want to give anyone the idea that this place remotely resembles a true example of one. They have an okay (for JoCo) beer selection, and their food really isn’t bad--it’s just that if you put this on your menu...
“Gastropub - An innovative new term for a pub that puts as much thought into the food it serves as the beer and spirits it offers”
...I’m going to expect more out of you. If you just billed yourself Saints “Bar and Grill”, I would have nothing negative to say, because that’s what you are. Don’t go raising my hopes just because you serve (undercooked) garlic fries or add a balsamic vinegar reduction to my Panini. You have waitresses in short shorts serving decent bar food. Be who you is.