Johnny Casserole | North Center | Coffee Shop, American, Global/Fusion/Eclectic | Restaurant
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Mike Sula

That's what he serves, from classics like chicken potpie to more inventive iterations.

Our Review

A few years back Johnny Casserole, aka David Bryson, was running a hotdish delivery service. Now the option exists to make it a day or night out in his North Center brick-and-mortar spot, appropriately dubbed "Chicago's first casserole cafe." This affords the chance to try individual servings of the casseroles, my personal favorite being the shepherd's pie, aka "the Great Plainsman," with grass-fed ground beef and cremini mushrooms blanketed in smooth mashed Yukon Golds. The vegetable lasagna's really nice too, with thin strips of zucchini and the concentrated power of sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers brightening it up. Tuna noodle, a bland dish by nature, is here given some welcome acidity with the addition of artichoke hearts; the Big Grabowski, with egg noodles and kielbasa, achieves a similar balance with sauerkraut. Even something as mundane as mac and cheese (Johnny's is made with springy cavatappi and cheddar sauce) is highly customizable, with a pizzeria-like selection of flavor-boosting add-ins. Bryson's added salads too—a Caesar, a spinach, and a house kale and celery leaf—as well as a rotating fruit cobbler and Big Shoulders coffee.

Mike Sula

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