« Ocean Grill | Main | Old Country Buffet »

Old Chicago

Update: Old Chicago is closed.

In a word: In mall chain land, it is just above average.

The specs: #0438  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Yelp, Old Chicago on Urbanspoon; official web site.

Latest Old Chicago news and reviews

JM ate the steak and cheese calzone with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the mushroom Swiss burger.
The bill was $22, or $11/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Old Chicago a B (see our grading rubric).

Balsamic mushroom Swiss burgerOld Chicago is one of those mall places that always seems full. Despite the fact that they were packed, service was fast. The menu is mostly standard grille fare with a Windy City twist: pizza, pasta, calzones, and burgers, plus 110 different beers (none of which we indulged in this time, though seasonal specials were touted).

Using Kate's burger rating guide for Nichole's "balsamic mushroom Swiss" burger:

  • Bun: toasted sesame seed
  • Meat: cooked to order with a light charbroiled flavor
  • Bun/meat ratio: just right
  • Cheese: plentiful but not very zingy
  • Misc.: It was the "balsamic" buzzword that enticed Nichole to order this burger, but it didn't deliver much balsamic flavor. A 7 of 10 overall.

CalzoneJM's steak and cheese calzone had a crust that resembled a breadstick plus sauce. Somehow the ingredients just didn't come together, though a peppery flavor did come through. It definitely felt more filling that satisfying.  It was a pleasant enough dish.

We'd come here before going to Crapplebee's.  (We're sorry to use the same joke twice in three reviews but when JM first called it that, Nichole was ROTFL.)


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I'll definitely be first to comment on this one (JM). For being downtowners now, the SO and I still come here on a somewhat regular basis.

First: the beer. OC has a ton of world beers (which aren't always good but are fun to try, and this is where I discovered Abita Turbodog back in the day), and they have a club card that gets you bonuses for trying a lot of them. Appeals to the collector mentality at least.

Second: the veggies. Substitute their often-lackluster fries for the fresh veggies, and you'll get a large portion of almost always blemish-free carrots, broccoli, celery, and cucumbers that are usually more satisfying than the fries. And I love fries.

Third: the Buffalo chicken tenders. Not the most authentic, but tasty and cost-effective. Get the veggies with 'em, and you're set.

The club sandwich is pretty solid, too. Fridays/Applebees/Chilis are totally off our radar now (which feels really good), but Old Chicago is still an option, which doesn't make me feel guilty or hypocritical at all. That's got to mean something.

The one thing that's bad about Old Chicago, though, is the horrible ambiance. Which is to say, almost none at all.

They do serve their food pretty late, when you're Eurotrash like us.

Second the comment on the beer selection. That part of town doesn't have a wealth of options for meeting up for a beer with a friend, but Old Chicago has a nice bar area and good bartenders. I've never gotten anything to eat here but I do like the variety of different brews. Also, it's apparently the meet-up place for Colorado alumni in Madison.

I was absolutely thrilled to be able to get a framboise when we were there recently (for the first time in probably 8 years). I don't exactly have my pick of the litter if I want to go have a lambic, so I'm happy to add it to the list.

I would give old Chicago a C. The atmosphere there is a F but the burger was pretty good.

The comments to this entry are closed.


Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



About Follow madisonatoz on Twitter Contact
Blogroll Ad 
Free Blog
Read our book and food tour
Dish du jour Creative Commons License subscribe to RSS Subscribe
Memo to restaurants Bloggers' Rights at EFF Quizzes
Reflections BlogWithIntegrity.com Tip jar
Banner image by Kayla Morelli, Red Wheelbarrow Design