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Where to take elderly grandfather for dinner?

TheRealAde Sep 12, 2012 06:59 AM

So my husband's parents are coming to Chicago on the weekend, along with his 90 year old grandfather. Being what I imagine is the typical 90 year old Midwesterner, he likes a pretty basic meat and potatoes type of place. That is pretty much the exact opposite of anywhere we would ever think of to go, so I am hoping someone else might have some ideas?

His ideal place is along the lines of Outback Steakhouse or similar, but we are not thinking we want to drive to the burbs for something like that when we could support a local business with probably superior quality.

So, if you were an old man from a small town, where would you dine in Chicago?

  1. chicgail Sep 13, 2012 02:45 PM

    Wildfire is a bit of a nostalgic throwback steakhouse. Very meat & potatoes. Reasonably priced. He might also like Weber Grill or Lowry's.

    1. m
      masha Sep 13, 2012 06:46 AM

      I think the suggestion of old school Italian is good. Another thought, if the gentleman likes seafood would be Shaw's, which has a nice old-school feel to it also. The tables are reasonably far apart, with leather booths lining the room, and the noise level is low. In my experience dining with elderly relatives, that is key, as hearing can be an issue -- so a noisy room makes it hard for them to hear, and if you have to elevate your voice at all, you'd just as soon not be cheek-by-jowel with the next table.

      Another suggestion might be Peterrino's which features both steak & seafood, and also is "old school." So long as you are not there during the pre-theater rush, I'd expect it to be fairly quiet. Not great food (but neither is OutBack's) and may be the right ambiance and menu for your crowd.

      1. q
        Querencia Sep 13, 2012 12:25 AM

        You mention that he likes Outback so maybe chewing isn't an issue for him but general rules-of-thumb for choosing a restaurant for the elderly include these: 1) There may be dental issues. 2) If there is a hearing aid, a high noise level can be very uncomfortable. 3) Many elderly people have problems that have to be accommodated in diet, like no spicy food. 4) They tend to like what is familiar and often don't want to experiment with cutting-edge cuisine. 5) One reason older folks like buffets so much is that they can choose what they want. It is never a bad idea to make discreet inquiries ahead of time.

        If they are staying downtown and you don't want to spend your mortgage payment, consider Weber Grill. Another option is Reza's, where grilled anything and wonderful rice have a very general appeal.

        1. e
          elysiumarie Sep 12, 2012 06:14 PM

          Owine & Engine and West Town Tavern come to mind, as places that serve wonderful meat and potatoes (have you had the owine and engine steaks?!). They both take reservations, and neither one is rowdy. (That said, last time they were here, I took my 87 year old Midwestern, meat-and-potatoes grandpa and grandma to Longman & Eagle, where they had the time of their lives-- first time doing shared plates, first time having all these new-fangled foods; they still talk about it!)

          1. j
            jbw Sep 12, 2012 12:21 PM

            If you don't mind coming into town Lawry's comes to mind, or perhaps Wildfire.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jbw
              TheRealAde Sep 12, 2012 12:44 PM

              Don't mind at all - we are in Wicker Park, and I don't know where they are staying but I am thinking probably downtown. I had thought of Wildfire, but I guess that's where they went last time he was here ... With my hubby's now ex, so he wanted to go with something else. I have never been there, but it seems like that's along the right line. I am looking up reviews now for Lawry's, and have also checked out Sabatino's, as was mentioned earlier. I will run these ideas past my husband to see if he has been to either.

              Myself, I have only lived here for a couple of years, and we generally either go for ethnic food or something over-the-top. Both of those types of places would be either inappropriate, or unappreciated with this group.

              I did suggest that it would be entertaining to take the old guy to Kuma's. That was met with an icy glare :D

              1. re: TheRealAde
                camusman Sep 12, 2012 01:37 PM

                Another possibility would be La Scarola, which is pretty easy to get to from Wicker Park, as it is just northwest of downtown.

            2. t
              TheRealAde Sep 12, 2012 07:07 AM

              I should also add that price isn't a big concern, but we're also not trying to drop hundreds on a culinary experience for people who prefer more simple food. Probably $30 or less for an entree is about what we are looking for.

              Nothing trendy, overly loud, long wait, etc - those would all be things that would annoy one or all of the older people in our party.

              1 Reply
              1. re: TheRealAde
                camusman Sep 12, 2012 07:07 AM

                I think the old-school Italian atmosphere of Sabatino's would go over well. They do a good job with steak. I'd try to get a booth off to the side if it's Friday or Saturday, as it could get a little noisy.

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