Chicago is known for its world class cuisine, an accolade verified (again) by Open Table as seven restaurants in the city made their top 100 list in the United States.
But not everywhere can be a winner, as evidenced by one of the more popular Reddit threads as of late: What’s the worst restaurant in Chicago?
Complaints range from the service to food quality to consistency issues to pretty much everything else. Surprisingly (or not surprising because this is Reddit after all) a lot of people pointed out chain restaurants. Domino’s Pizza on Division, Sarpino’s Pizza (anywhere), and Rock Bottom on Grand were all mentioned as places to avoid. But for the truly awful Chicago restaurants?
Many were quick to defend Hollywood Grill on North and Ashland, noting that it can really hit the spot during a certain level of intoxication after hours. And surprisingly, users actually were able to agree on one thing: La Traspada on Chicago and Ashland is one of the best Mexican restaurants in the city, although that topic is also always up for debate.
Of course, there are other ways to define the “worst” restaurant in the city. It’s not shocking that chain restaurants are typically have lower quality food and worse service, but the calorie count in some of these places is astronomical.
A few years ago, the Center for Science in the Public Interest released the worst items to order based on calorie count. The Bruleed French Toast at Cheesecake Factory has 2,780 calories and a Prime New York Steak at Maggiano’s clocks in at 2,420 calories. But the big winner? The “Monster-sized” A.1. Peppercorn gourmet burger, Bottomless steak fries and a Monster Salted Caramel Milkshake from Red Robin (Red Robin even delivers if you want to be truly disgusting).
Last year, Eater also asked top food critics from various media outlets about their most disappointing meals of 2016. Morgan Olsen from the Redeye was let down by Wicker Park favorite Mahalo and Penny Pollack from Chicago Magazine wasn’t feeling the hype at the West Loop’s Bad Hunter.
But Michael Nagrant may have had the best response:
“Myron Mixon’s Smoke Show. It was more like Myron Mixon’s Sh!t Show. I totally respect Myron Mixon. He’s the Michael Jordan of BBQ. But, like Jordan going to play baseball for the Sox, Mixon opening a restaurant was a total failure. Except for the ribs, everything else was mushy or dry and felt like it had been sitting around since the Cubs World Series win of 1908.”
As if this subjectivity wasn’t enough, a Rockford radio station (of all places) a few years ago compiled an interactive map of restaurants that failed health inspections all over Chicago. While many of those were chains, there were plenty of local favorites as well. Might make you want to double check your sources the next time a friend invites you to a restaurant you’ve never been to.