Best venerable restaurant alongside the el | Best of Chicago 2011 | Food & Drink | Chicago Reader

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Best venerable restaurant alongside the el 

Daley's Restaurant

809 E. 63rd

Could a place be more vintage Chicago? Daley's has a classic Irish name, a Greek-American owner, an African-American clientele, and it sits in the shadow of train tracks—namely, the Green Line in Woodlawn. "We're a traditional American diner with a twist of soul," says owner Mike Zarouchliotis. Daley's was opened in 1892 by John Daley, an ironworker who came to Chicago from Ireland to help build the el. The area was flush with construction workers then—the University of Chicago and the World's Columbian Exposition were also going up—and Daley figured he could capitalize on the workers' appetites. He sold the place in 1918 to two Greek immigrants; the 30-year-old Zarouchliotis is a descendant. Ninety-three years later, Daley's still seems designed to feed construction workers. The extensive menu features a 16-ounce T-bone, fried young steer liver with grilled onions or bacon, fried blue whiting, sides of grits, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, and greens, and peach cobbler. The prices are good and the staff is warm. —Steve Bogira

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)