Granite City Food & Brewery – Orland Park, IL
There are very few times you will ever hear me admit to actually liking a chain restaurant so much that I would pick it over a local place. In fact, there is only one casual dining chain that I would even say that about. It’s not a chain that has a store in every city, so when I do see it, it’s a treat. Lucky for me, there’s one in Orland Park, IL.
Granite City Food & Brewery is a casual dining chain and brewery with roots in Minnesota. There are only 26 locations in eleven states. All of them have an on-site brewery.
J and I were first introduced to the concept while living in Peoria, IL. Just a few months before we moved to Michigan, GCFB opened a store in East Peoria, IL near where we worked. We ate there at least three or four times in six months which is probably the most I revisited any one restaurant in the six years I lived there.
Recently, a Granite City opened in Orland Park, IL which is about twenty minutes or so from J’s parents. Orland Park has a very large shopping area with a lot of national chains and many smaller chains that have only one Chicagoland store. The Granite City is located on South LaGrange Road near Southwest Highway and the Metra train station.
J’s parents joined us for dinner on this particular Sunday night. It was a little after 8:00 when we walked in. Closing time for the restaurant was 9:00 so we were one of the last people seated for dinner.
The layout is exactly the same as the East Peoria location. The bar is right in front of you as you walk in. There are a couple booths in this area. To enter the dining room you take one step up to a room that is filled with booths and tables with hinges that can be either four tops or unfolded to seat six or more. The brewery part of the restaurant is behind a glass wall near the entrances. Like many brewery restaurants, you can see the stills where all of the home brews are made.
We were taken to a booth on the far side of the dining room. The hostess left us with menus and the daily specials. J asked for the drink list and ended up ordering a Mimosa as did her mom. J’s dad went with a Miller Lite and I, being me, ordered a Pepsi. I have tasted GCFB brews in the past and while I liked them, again, I reiterate, that I’m not a microbrew conniseur and I prefer cola with my meal.
I think in all the times I’ve eaten at Granite City, I’ve only ordered one thing. I always say I’ll try something new next time, but I never do. Once again, I ordered the Bedda Chedda Bacon Burger. The burger is a 1/2 of fresh ground Angus topped with BBQ sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, and smokehouse bacon. It’s then served on a ciabatta bun. To say that there was a lot of shredded cheddar would be an understatement. There was probably three inches of cheese piled on top of that burger. It completely hid the bacon and BBQ sauce and almost hid the meat. The sandwich was as good as I remembered. I love ciabatta bread and this one did not disappoint. The overkill of cheese was actually quite delicious and the meat, which was lost in the whole mess, was very juicy. It was served with fries which were shoestring fries that reminded me of Steak ‘n Shake. I should have ponied up the extra buck for the waffle fries. The fries I got were good, but not really my thing.
J ordered the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. She got a buffalo marinated chargrilled chicken breast that is then basted with more buffalo sauce. It’s served on a ciabatta roll with lettuce and a blue cheese dressing. Her sandwich was on the large side and she asked me to cut it in half. She ate one half and most of her fries. She upgraded to the waffle fries with her sandwich which was a good choice. The chicken was hot, but not too hot like so many buffalo chicken sandwiches she gets. She usually gets a salad when we eat at Granite City, but she made a good choice on this sandwich.
J’s mom went with my second choice, the Bleu Peppercorn Burger. Her burger started like mine, with the 1/2 fresh ground angus beef. It’s seasoned with cracked black peppercorns then charbroiled. The burger is then topped with a bleu cheese dressing, smokehouse bacon, cheddar cheese, and crispy onion straws. They must have had a lot of extra onion straws left over because her sandwich was 90 percent onions. She pulled most of them off just because it was a bit of overkill. This is the second time she and J’s dad had eaten at Granite City and this is the same sandwich she got last time. She loved it both times, but only ate half electing to take the other half home. For her side, she chose the cole slaw which she really liked, but didn’t have room to eat at the restaurant so that also made the short trip back to Oak Lawn.
J’s step-dad ordered the Hot Roast Turkey Sandwich which is one of this week’s chef’s specials. The meal is sliced roast turkey piled on thick pieces of Pullman Bread. On the side is a mound of sage stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes. The whole plate is then smothered under a turkey gravy. Like everyone else but me, he ate about half of his meal and took the rest home. It’s a pretty common theme when I go out to eat with them. I’m the fat guy that finishes his plate while everyone gets two meals out of it.
Our bill was about $65 and that included four drinks. unfortunately, Michigan is not one of the lucky eleven states to have a Granite City Brewery. The closest location would be in Ft. Wayne, IN. I know most people traveling to Chicago from Michigan aren’t going to venture out in to the suburbs, so I’ll just say if you ever come across a Granite City Food & Brewery, you won’t be disappointed.