I recently visited The Great Escape – a unique suburban restaurant – and met with its owner, Brian Great, and learned not only about the food being served, but about the history of the restaurant and the green initiatives being undertaken.
The Great Escape’s bar and banquet room are still part of the original structure built on the property in 1889, complete with the original bar, which was hand carved by the Chicago Bar Company. The silent movie cowboy Tom Mix made a few of his movies there around 1900, and in the 1920′s, Al Capone sold the place liquor and was spotted at the bar doing business with local gangsters. The basement is also reportedly haunted, and is one of the stops along some Chicago ghost tours!
Additionally, the Great Escape not only has vehicle recharging stations, but it is also the only restaurant in the area to have installed a wind turbine that provides the power to the entire restaurant!
Open since 1992, the Great Escape strives to serve delicious and approachable food, in a warm and comfortable environment. Many of the Great Escape’s customers are regulars, and are greeted by first name and sat at their favorite table. I can see why. From the servers to the owner, everyone – and everything – about the Great Escape is welcoming, friendly, and warm.
The Great Escape is known for its comfort food, including Baked French Onion Soup, Baby Back Ribs, Chicken Pot Pie, and “Broasted” Chicken. During my lunchtime visit, we tried a little bit of a lot of items on the menu, including a generous Meat & Cheese Board, which was a special of the day. While the Lobster & Crab Bisque was a bit too creamy and not hot enough for my liking, the Baked French Onion Soup looked delicious and was served piping hot.
The Chicken Pot Pie, served a tad more soupy than normal, according to Brian, was still crusty, warm, and delicious and made me nostalgic for childhood winters when I would order the chicken pot pie everywhere I went. It was one of my favorite bites of the afternoon.
I also very much enjoyed the Mustard Crusted Bass. The fish was incredibly fresh, the crust very light and flavorful, and it was served over a bed of vegetable studded rice with freshly steamed vegetables on the side.
While I did not try the ribs, they looked – and smelled – excellent, with a generous coating of house made barbecue sauce, which is also available by the bottle.
The Great Escape is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week, and boasts a full bar and nice wine list. The Great Escape also has a large banquet room, and provides catering service.
9540 Irving Park Road, Schiller Park, Illinois 60176
While my meal was complimentary, all opinions expressed herein are my own.