Sitting on a corner of Lincoln Ave. between Irving Park and Montrose is a place called The Bad Apple. I’d heard good things about it from some co-workers and since it’s just a few blocks away from my office on Damen, it’s perfect for a quick lunch. The food is good, moderately priced, and they’ve got a huge beer list with lots of beers/ales/lambics/IPAs. The majority of the beer offered is bottled but their draft list is large with at least a couple dozen to choose from. And yeah that’s right, there’s nothing wrong with having a beer at lunch.
Oh man the beer selection. Lots of draft options and a wide variety as well. One in particular I don’t see much here (but have now had a couple of times in the past few weeks) is Belhaven Stout. When we visit Cheryl’s sister in Edinburgh I usually drink Belhaven and it’s nice to see it popping up more here. I like it a lot. That said, you can be sure to find something you like on the beer list. They really do have something for everyone. If you come to Bad Apple just to explore the beer menu you’ll leave happy. Of course, food goes well with beer so why limit yourself?
The first time we went to Bad Apple was about a month ago when Cheryl and I met a couple of friends for lunch on a Saturday (yup was at the office, that’s real estate for you, gotta work weekends) and had a very enjoyable time. First of all Bad Apple’s a lot bigger than it looks when you walk in. When we arrived the front area was packed but there is another room off to the side where we were seated pretty quickly. Since I’d mostly heard about their burgers we decided that was the way to go. One of my personal rules on food is to always try the regular “house” burger. If a place can cook the plain regular burger/cheeseburger well then the specialties will more than likely be good as well. Not always, but I’ve found places that mess up a basic burger will tend to make a hash out of other things as well (nothing wrong with hash, just not in my burger please. Hmm, note to self, hash on a bun…maybe with an egg). The Bad Apple Burger passed the test. Cooked well (med-rare) and had a great beef flavor. I get the feeling they take their burgers seriously here. And their fries. The fries can be ordered with a few different toppings and the hands-down winner was the truffle fries. I liked my creole ones as well, but Cheryl’s chipotle fries weren’t as flavorful. That’s ok though, somebody has to come in third. Side Roam: I was very happy to see an Old Bay option! The place I worked at in DC (The Bottom Line) used to dust their fries with Old Bay. It’s definitely a Maryland/Chesapeake Bay thing (Old Bay seasoned potato chips are great “crab chips”) you don’t find very often here in the Midwest. My step-mom loved Old Bay, probably from her time spent on the Eastern Shore of Virginia when she was young. Anyway, love there’s an Old Bay option, will have to try that next time.
Went for lunch again last week with my friend and co-worker Erik (take note readers, Bad Apple’s only open for weekday lunch on Thursdays and Fridays). They had a slider trio special which had two mini burgers (one was wagyu beef) and a mini “Pork-ketta.” The burgers were good, had flavor, but for me the star was that pork sandwich. So delicious! I hate to go all sappy here but there’s a lot of love that goes into this sandwich and it tastes like it. Just like the burgers, they seem to really care about this sandwich. The next time I go back (and there will be a next time) I’m definitely getting the full-sized one.
It’s nice when you kinda stumble on a place in your neighborhood and discover you’re going to have a really fun time coming back to explore all the options. Bad Apple is such a place. I have a feeling I’ll be at the office around lunch time a little more often on Fridays. Or at least relatively near the office!