I'm sure you've heard me say this before, but I love trying new restaurants in my neighborhood. Who am I kidding? I love trying new restaurants period. If they're in my hood it just happens to be a bonus. It's a double bonus if the place is good. Sadly for the South Loop, it's had its ups and downs with the survival of new restaurants. However, with more development in the neighborhood I'm hopeful that more will stick around and one that I hope continues to succeed is City Tavern.
On South Michigan Avenue there is a growing presence of retail and restaurants. Among them is City Tavern. In a space that used to be an Irish bar, City Tavern has stomped into the neighborhood and has been making quite a strong impression. When it first opened there wasn't a ton of buzz, but slowly as months went on there was a lot of good chatter about this place and finally I had a chance to try it out.
I was meeting a friend of mine in the neighborhood for brunch and both of our little ones were in tow. Since I mostly look to dine at place that have room for strollers, I was a little skeptical to check this place out since it clearly says on Yelp that it's not kid friendly. However, I was pleasantly surprised not only at the fact that there was TONS of room for a stroller (two in our case), but that the staff was extremely welcoming and accommodating. Based on that alone I was already giving this place 2 stars. As soon as we sat down and settled in, our server Eric pulled up a chair at our table and talked to us about drinks. Not in an intrusive way, but in a way that just made us feel welcomed - the kind of service you expect at all restaurants to be honest. We ordered our drinks and as we glanced over the menu, Eric was kind enough to bring us warm donuts while we were finalizing our decisions.
Since there's so many great things to choose from on City Tavern's menu, we took Eric's lead and ordered based on his recommendation. I had the Rock Shrimp and Grits served with sausage, as well as an egg any style. It was absolutely delicious! Shrimp and grits are amazing, but they can be a little heavy. That was not the case with this. The dish had the comfort of traditional shrimp and grits, without feeling like you've eaten an entire tub of butter. It was served with a tomato sauce that had chucks of garlic that you could taste in every bite.
If I had room I would have tried one of their desserts, but after a plate of great comfort food I was perfectly stuffed. After we finished our meal, Eric continued to make us feel at home refilling our coffee and letting us stay as long as we pleased. So we did. We stayed for over 2 hours chatting away over hot coffee and catching up on life. There was no pressure to leave or order anything else, and that, including the great food, is why I would give City Tavern 4 out of 4 stars!