If you’re planning to go to Jerry’s, I hope you like reading. Obviously, you’re reading this blog right now, so you don’t have an issue with the activity… at least not yet. We’ll see how you feel by the end of this post.
Wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, reading. Do you like it?
Which is an annoying way to say that Jerry’s has a long, meandering menu. By the time I’d read a quarter of the items, I was more confused than hungry, but once I saw the Buffalo Chicken sandwich, I knew was going to put this tedious enterprise to a rest and go with a classic.
A gourmet’s concert hall or a music lover’s dream diner?
Maybe I should back up here and give some background. We were watching our friend’s band play. They have a standing gig on Tuesdays at Jerry’s, but they used to play at a bar in Rogers Park every week. So I went in expecting a similar scene: darkness, few seats, limited food. But Jerry’s is bright, large, with lots of patrons, some completely oblivious to the music that’s about to start, others there solely for the show.
Once you see the menu, there’s no doubt in your mind–Jerry’s is a full on restaurant. On the other hand, with its high ceiling, large stage, and great musical lineup, you might even say it’s a venue.
So let’s just call it: A venue with a menu.
(Give me one second, I’m patting myself on the back for that clever piece of wordplay.)
(Okay, I’m back.)
Buffalo Chicken to the rescue
Back to my meal. Like I said, I went with a classic, buffalo chicken sandwich. Pedestrian, I know, but I was awash in a sea of protein-packed-between-two-slices-of-bread and I needed to hold on to the one thing I knew, a life preserver of delicious, delicious spicy chicken. And I’m glad I did.
This version of the buffalo chicken sandwich is one of the best I’ve ever had. Nice and crispy, good heat on the spice, not too much bleu cheese dressing. These are the elements of a good buffalo chicken sandwich and Jerry’s has them all, stacked in a spicy medley. (You can tell when I get poetic about a sandwich, I really liked it.)
The sides were great too. I had their great homemade potato chips and a Thai cucumber salad, which did the job. And by “job” I’m referring to making me feel a little better about eating the huge sandwich and chips, washed down by a few hearty beers.
So despite the fact I almost choked on the menu, Jerry’s has proven to me they can get a classic right. I can’t wait to go back and get a little more adventurous with my meal selection. Oh, and the music was superb.
So there you go: good food, good tunes … These are two of my three favorite things. Now if only I had something to read…
I admit that ordering at Jerry’s felt a tad like taking a pop quiz. There are hundreds of sandwiches, 200 American craft beers, 32 condiments, 9 types of bread, dozens of sides. The menu is only slightly less confusing then the check, which required six adults to study before we finally gave up and split it evenly. I felt worse for our waitress, who had to shepherd us through the entire process like a bunch of idiot sheep.
Oh well. These are itty-bitty complaints and my overall experience at Jerry’s was two thumbs up. I love hot sandwiches, especially delicious ones, and one of my favorite Chicago bands was bluegrassing it up, making for a very lively and upbeat time.
I ordered the Fried Tofu sandwich, which came on toasty dark rye with a thick slice of Louisiana-style tofu, avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, cheddar and a thin schmear of salsa. For my sides, I also enjoyed the savory-sweet Thai cucumber salad and the macaroni and cheese, which is blended with a creamy medley of Gouda, swiss, cheddar and ginger (yes, ginger). I also sampled the Fried Green Tomato sandwich (yum!) and the Jenny F, which is a cold sandwich with avocado, grilled veggies, mozzarella and southwest mayo. Not my favorite – cold grilled vegetables have never rubbed me the right way – but still good.
When we arrived, our friends had ordered the beer cheese plate, which is served with pretzels and pita. Needless to say, it was delectable. In case I’m ever on death row and you’re in charge of bringing me my last meal, hear me now: Let it be beer cheese and pretzels.
Should you need more convincing, Jerry’s also serves milkshakes. I ordered a chocolate-banana one for my pregnant friend and detected a smile surrounding the large shake-filled straw.