A&Eats: Jeri’s Grill


Vivian Tran

The corner of Montrose and Western where Jeri’s grill resides.

By Alina Panek and Vivian Tran

On a warm, breezy day, a retro grill at the busy corner of Western and Montrose calls to the Chicagoans that pass by to try the Ham on the Bone and the soup of the day. As we approach the corner, there is a sign above the door and a hanging sign that proclaims, “Jeri’s Grill.”

Anyone who loves fifties culture would be delighted to see the jukebox, the high black and red seats lining the bar, and the Monroe poster next to the “Specials of the Day.”

As we approached the tables, a waitress who catered to a mom and her three kids who were laughing and dangling their legs from the chairs in anticipation of the shakes that the waitress was about to serve them.

The tables, reminiscent of a gyros restaurant, were clean and stocked with condiments. The menus filled with greasy goodness that is reasonably priced are hidden behind a metal clip  near the window.

In the beginning, the atmosphere was magical. There was music playing in the background. The waitress was cheerful and the kids made the environment even more lighter with their giggles. The mother at the counter was even kind enough to strike up a conversation and offer her shake that she did not feel like eating due to a recent run.

As our waitress took our order — a grilled cheese with ham and a cheeseburger — she smiled and shouted to Sal the cook to start our orders.

Sal began our orders immediately, which was cooked in front of the bar. We greatly appreciated this. It was interesting to see our food being cooked. It was served quick and simple on regular yellow plates with a friendly “enjoy,” from the waitress.  As my co-editor and I began to talk, our waitress unexpectedly and loudly went out the door.

When she came back it was like she was a whole different person. Maybe it is important to note that we, high school seniors, were now the youngest customers in the restaurant now that the little kids had left and brought the median age down by several decades. For the rest of our meal she was loud and rowdy, cursing several time and referencing many times back to her lover.

This made the atmosphere very uncomfortable. Other customers noticed and even told her to “watch her language,” which she promptly ignored. I would like to assume the best and she was treating these customers like this because they were regulars. They did not seem to be nearly as surprised as I was when she began cursing, so that must be the reason why.

I would have given Jeri’s Grill one star higher if the waitress had maintained her friendly and courteous attitude but overall the food was wonderful for the price. The only downside is that the Grill only takes cash, which is inconvenient now for many students. But the good prices, amazing food, and cliché American diner atmosphere make the dining experience completely worth it.