Chicago Chronicles: Stanley’s Kitchen & Tap

Since I am avoiding class work for one more day going into Chicago to visit my aunts this afternoon I figured it was high time for a new Chicago Chronicles post. It has been far too long, although I’ve been eating out plenty. I either forget my camera or forget to take pictures.
But I didn’t forget it when I ate at Stanley’s Kitchen andTap before Christmas. And I was with a large group of ladies, so we ordered a bunch of different dishes and I got to try a whole bunch of items that I wouldn’t have gotten if it were just me, or just two people, that’s a win.
I don’t pretend to be an authority on any southern cuisine. And I’m always a little leery of eating popular regional dishes out of said region. But, Stanley’s is doing something very, very right with their approach at comfort food from the south (at least, according to this Wisconsinite).
I know shrimp and grits is a HUGE thing in the south, but I had never had it before Stanley’s. I don’t know how or why I waited so long! Grits to me had always been a grainy, hard, and bland substitute for oatmeal in the morning or rice at dinner. Not something I was into. But, oh boy, am I even into grits now! Creamy, buttery, and full cheese, these grits were amazing! I have tried grits at other so-called southern restaurants since, and none have even come close to Stanley’s. None I say. The shrimp on top were cooked perfectly and the Andouille sausage had just the right amount of spice, even if it was a little on the tough side. I ate the entire bowl!
The second best thing I sampled that night was the pulled pork with apple slaw. I love, love, LOVE pulled pork. It’s one of the dishes I order most at restaurants, looking for the perfect one. While Stanley’s wasn’t the best pulled pork sandwich I have ever had, it is definitely up there. The pork was tender and soaked in a tangy barbeque sauce, my favorite! I think what really put it over the top was the apple slaw which was a tart, crunchy contrast to the succulent pork. Swoon.
The much touted mac and cheese was so-so. I like my mac and cheese really creamy and lush, with extra breadcrumbs on top please! Stanley’s mac was a little dry for my taste, and it didn’t have that fluidity that comes from a creamy, rich sauce. It was more like a pasta bake which isn’t really my style. It was also a bit plain, but better than boxed mac and cheese!
While the food was all good, if not great, the service could use a little work. We were one of maybe five tables in the restaurant at the time and our waiter was very inattentive and we saw neither hide nor hair of him the entire meal. He dropped off our food and then dropped off our check, never really checking on us during the process.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Stanley’s but I don’t know that I will go there again, barring a huge craving for shrimp and grits. It was good, don’t get me wrong, and reasonably priced to boot! There is just so much to see and eat in this city that I’m going to have to get to work if I even want to make a respectable dent!

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