Publican Tavern (O’Hare International Airport)
- 10000 W. O’Hare Avenue
- Terminal 3 Gate K1
- Chicago, IL 60666
- (773) 686-6180
I know I travel a lot for work, but this is a new one. Flying. It’s not too hard to figure out what I was doing, but I spent the week after Christmas in North Texas. My route took me from Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport to O’Hare to Dallas/Fort Worth. I didn’t have a long layover in Chicago, but I did have a little bit of time and I needed something to eat. My flight left Kalamazoo at 2:00 and I always get nervous when I fly. Not about the actually flying, but getting everything checked in right and getting through TSA security. Despite the fact that I go over and over my bags to make sure there’s nothing in there that shouldn’t be, I always feat the worst when I get it’s my turn. Once those nerves passed, I finally started getting hungry.
Of course, my gates in Chicago were pretty far apart. I started the long walk and figured I would find something to eat along the way. Anything that really looked good was pretty packed and I only had a little over an hour before I had to find my connection. I kept going until I got much closer to my gate before making a decision on where to eat. I spotted a familiar name and saw some open tables.
The Publican is a pretty popular spot to eat in Chicago’s Fulton Market. Last year, HMSHost bought the licensing rights to the restaurant and opened a tavern bearing the popular name in O’Hare. The tavern uses a lot of the same design elements and locally sourced meats as the restaurant does, so there are some similarities in more than just name.
The Tavern has what I guess you can consider both an indoor and outdoor seating area. There are a number of tables that are nestled into an enclosed area with the kitchen and a sort of “patio” feature that spills out on to the concourse. There’s a hostess stand by the entrance which I made my way to after deciding, yeah…this is where I wanted to eat lunch.
I was shown to a table in the “patio” area in the back corner. I offered to take one of the seats at the pub style bar that looks out on to the concourse, but the host said I was welcome to the table if I wanted it. I ended up taking it so I could do some work while I was waiting for my food to come out.
The restaurant was pretty packed and it took longer than I would have liked for a waitress to come to the table. By that time, I was ready for both drink and food orders, so I put everything in at once to save some time.
I stuck to a local Chicago beer even though they have a pretty good tap list. My pick was GoneAway from Half Acre Beer Company. This was actually a great beer to calm me down a little bit. It’s a nice, smooth, West Coast IPA with a pretty low ABV and just a hint of bitterness from the hops. It’s a good sippin’ beer for IPA enthusiasts. Nothing that will knock your socks off, but one that’s easy to drink.
The menu at Publican Tavern is nothing like the menu at The Publican. Obviously, they need to keep things moving, so instead of the grand entrees Publican is known for, they stick to sandwiches, salads, some appetizers, and a couple of entrees.
I chose the Double Burger. This simple, yet delicious sandwich is two beef patties from Slagel Family Farm in Fairbury, IL topped with Bonguards American cheese, lettuce, onion, and a special sauce (I didn’t even ask…just left it off). I also added on bacon for an extra two bucks. The burger was cooked to a medium with a slightly pink center and the juices ran from the meat on to the toasted brioche bun. I’ve had the meat from this farm many, many times, and it’s always incredibly juicy and full of flavor. The sandwich was very tasty, but oh, man was it expensive. This is a burger I will rave about based on the taste of it alone, but not one I would be excited about ordering again just from a price standpoint. I know it’s in the airport which makes everything more expensive, so I’m not actually complaining about what I paid for it.
The sandwich was served with a large portion of delicious, skin-on, golden brown french fries. I’ve said it in the past, but Chicago just does something different with fries. The fries at Publican Tavern were a little bit greasy, a little bit salty, and a lot bit tasty. This sort of makes up for the high price of the meal. I have to admit, I didn’t leave hungry.
The cost of this meal was a little over $27 and I was dining solo. The food was delicious and something I would definitely eat again, but, as I’ve mentioned, it was a pretty pricey meal for just one person.