Yes, I’ve been away for a while and left this blog to rot in the sun like an unfortunate squirrel who tried to cross Lake Shore Drive on a hot Chicago summer day. Rest in peace my furry little friend. But alas, I am back, and I have a slightly new angle on how I am going to approach things… which also explains my absence for the last almost 8 months. My wife and I had our first daughter back in April of last year and unfortunately, like most parents, it lead to us not going out to dinner as much. But now that the kid is older and she can sit in a high chair and eat food that doesn’t come from a breast or a gross-weird squeeze tube, we have started to venture out more, which means more content for the site. It also means that I will be touching on whether or not certain places are good places to bring your kids, starting with The Garage Bar & Sandwiches, which is most definitely NOT a place you want to take your baby, especially on a Saturday night (even if it was 5:30pm).
The Garage Bar & Sandwiches
Full disclosure, we went to this bar/restaurant back in early December, it’s just taken me a while to find time to write about it. Our good friend had recently moved to Norwood Park and we were looking for somewhere near his house to eat on a Saturday night. We had checked out the Iron Horse already and I wanted somewhere that was more of a bar and not a family restaurant, and we definitely got a bar in this place.
Our daughter was 8 months old at the time and was just starting to sit in a high chair on her own. We hadn’t quite started giving her straight up normal food, she was still eating purees, so we fed her before we went to dinner with the intention that she would just get a bottle and we’d eat. She also has a bed time of 7PM, so our plan was to go to dinner at like 5:30 so that we could make it home in time for her bedtime, and it’s probably a good thing we did.
We pulled up to the bar and weren’t really sure what to expect. It was very dark from the outside and it was hard to tell if there were a lot of people inside, but we were hungry and decided to just go for it. As soon as we stepped foot inside it was like a record scratched and everyone stopped and looked at us; this was definitely no place for a baby. But I just wanted to eat and didn’t want to have to then find another place to eat and move the car from the awesome parking spot we had found… so we were eating here no matter what.
Once the music kicked back in a server came over and seated us at one of the handful of actual tables near the front of the bar. Now, when I say bar, I mean bar. It was dark and dingy (even though there is a large garage door in the front, the lighting was extremely dark… like a bar), and I imagine later at night on the weekends, the place is packed full of sweaty drunks standing shoulder to shoulder. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not a place for an 8-month old. (we were finished with our meal and gone way before it ever got to that point)
We asked our server for a high chair, which surprisingly they had one of. So yes, if you walk in with a child that needs a high chair, and you see another child already in a high chair (highly unlikely), then I would just turn around and leave because they aren’t going to have another high chair for you. But honestly, if you decide to bring your kid here, chances are your child will be the only child in the bar. They actually have a “no one under 21 rule after 7PM or 9PM” (I can’t remember) on the weekends”.
Yelp had some decent reviews of the food here, which is why we chose it in the first place, so we kind of already knew what we were going to order. I actually just played it safe here and ordered a burger, which was actually very good. My wife ordered the Shrimp Po’Boy which she also really enjoyed and I believe Nick ordered a burger as well.
Our entrees weren’t bad by any means, and I would definitely recommend the burger to anyone that happens upon this place, but it wasn’t our entrees that keeps my mouth watering months after visiting The Garage… it was the Ginormous Pretzel appetizer (pictured above).
The Ginormous Pretzel appetizer is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a pretzel the size of my head served with a mustard and house made beer cheese. I’ve had other large pretzels in my life, but there was something about this one that was just so good, that I still think about it to this day. The pretzel itself was warm and soft, with just the right amount of salt, and the beer cheese was incredible. The mustard wasn’t my favorite, but as long as you like cheese, you’ll be fine with the options presented to you.
So while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend taking your 8-month old daughter to this place on a Saturday night at 5:30PM, I would definitely recommend dropping in just to grab a beer and the pretzel appetizer if you’re in the area.
*update* Based on the feedback I’ve seen from The Garage Bar & Sandwiches Facebook page, it looks like we might have just picked a bad time to visit with the kid. It sounds like there are definitely kids in there during the day on the weekend, just not so many at night. I didn’t think we were there that late (5:30-7pm), but apparently that is a little too late to have your kid out on a Saturday night when it comes to this place. Definitely had no intention of offending anyone that brings there kids here, or the bar staff themselves, I’m only going on first impressions on the night we were there…. so maybe we’ll have to come back.