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Old 04-25-2013, 05:18 PM
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Geewiz Geewiz is offline
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From the past....Acorn on Oak...The place was filled with Chicago luminaries. Alas, it's closed now, but yes, it did have the tremendously good Acorn Burger, perfectly seasoned ...deep char crust...and thick and juicy. This particular area of the Gold Coast was known for good burgers, what with Hamburger Hamlet right around the corner, and several other "joints" trying to make the claim.

But Acorn on Oak did have the best -- cooked to order, even a medium-rare if you desired. The fries were whole-cut and not greasy, and nothing was quite over-salted, but there was indeed plenty of sodium in everything, as if to induce you to enjoy an ice cold beer from the bar. In those days I could somehow eat a whole Acorn Burger and still have room for at least 2 beers in frosty mugs, but now I'm not quite sure how I fit it all in. :-)

Service was always good -- the place wasn't large (it was a small piano bar), but it did have its cast of characters. There were the media types from the Tribune and Sun Times, including one nationally-famous movie critic whom I spotted there on two occasions.

There were the legislators, but I think they were more sparse. Mostly it was the locals -- the folks who lived in this Gold Cost area, and a bunch of guys who lived on the Magnificent Mile would make the short walk down Lake Shore Drive and round the corner to stop in. It was the kind of place where you could spend several hours, arriving as early as mid-morning, when the place was often "open" a bit before its posted hours.

In the winter time, it was a nice, dark corner in which to hole up for the warmth of a drink or two, and some conversation. You didn't need to know anybody there to join the conversation; you just had to be not stupid. Chicago is a place where we love to give (and sometimes hear) opinions, and Acorn on Oak was a place where this would happen.

In the summer...off college...I drove for Yellow Taxi....and during the down time between the morning and afternoon madness...I would pull the cab over and get a burger to go. Thick and bloody...charred and tart...with intense season...garlic and rosemary and celery and then a quick single malt and a tune...The occasional tourist would walk in, and they would stand out from the locals, but the place loved it -- A on O had gained a secret-clubbish cult following and the word was out about the burgers, especially. So you might well see a suburban family, replete with a pair of teenagers, stopping in for a mid-afternoon lunch or early-supper amid a day of museums, biking, or whizzing to the top of the Hancock Tower. The place wasn't killer-expensive, although not cheap by any means, but reasonable enough, and just enough of a rare-find to justify dining here versus the many other options they had -- Acorn on Oak gave them something to talk about, and the feeling that they knew something about Chicago others didn't. And that's a feeling we all love, yes?
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R.I.P. Gary...you will be sorely missed

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
Hunter S. Thompson
 
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