Tuesday, June 8, 2010


A few posts back I wrote to you all about Crisp and its excellent Korean style chicken. I also mentioned that Jeff Schneider (my roommate) claimed at one point that Crisp was even better than his previous favorite chicken locale, Marcello’s. As you can see from the comments on that post, he clearly takes those words back and much prefers Marcello’s. Well I just had to go check out both sides of this internal chicken showdown.

I find it interesting that a few of my friends do an excellent job of keeping everyone in touch (and applaud them). Sometimes one of them will even call me on his way home from work to see how I’m doing that day. It’s a nice gesture, but if you’ve ever seen the scene in Family Guy when Peter goes to sensitivity camp and calls Quagmire to see how he’s feeling, well it’s kind of like that. Either way, this proactive friend got a bunch of us together to take a tour of the Goose Island Brewery. The tour is an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and includes some free beer (it’s only $7 too). However, I’d just finished Bike The Drive earlier that day and was very tired. Since I live right across the street from Goose Island, I couldn’t really get away with sleeping through this event. After the tour, no one wanted to just go home, and somehow everyone ended up at my apartment drinking, thus ruining any chance of a nap.

The debate soon started over what we should do for dinner. Noam took the lead by suggesting Pequod’s. We were all set on this, but the sneaky underbelly of our friends that is Richard Gross convinced a few others that going to Rose Angelis would be better. A showdown was had, and somehow we ended up compromising on Marcello’s. This was probably because it’s got lots of seating and was in walking distance (since none of us were really up to drive).

Marcello’s is located a little east of Halsted on North Avenue in a little strip mall with practically nothing else. The building is huge. They have a main building and another connected store front that serves as a bakery. The restaurant itself has a bar, large dining room (separated into multiple rooms), and party rooms in the back.

The service was generally pretty good. We had a big party that came in without a reservation. They take reservations, but they have so much seating that I don’t think you’ll need one. Our 1 waitress seemed to handle everything pretty well, although some people had to remind her about a drink or a salad (or in Steve’s case both). The host kindly opened the door for us, but when I asked him where the bathroom was, he responded, “Past the host stand to the left if you think you can make it that far.” I didn’t even stumble on my way in, so I don’t know exactly where that came from, but oh well. Speaking of bathrooms, they have ice in the urinals, which I’ve always thought was a classy and fun touch. Despite the 1 waitress, we got all of our food rather quickly, and the prices were pretty reasonable. I split an order of broasted chicken with Schneider, and it was plenty for the two of us for only $12.95. The other items also seem pretty reasonable with entrée salads and personal pizzas around $11.

The Food 
Instead of bread, Marcello’s starts you with thin garlic crackers and a garlic butter to slather on. It was a nice change of pace from the typical dinner roll. For an appetizer, everyone at the table besides me split a jumbo shrimp platter that they raved about and would suggest getting if you eat that bottom feeder traif.

 The Jumbo Shrimp Appetizer

Now I’ve already mentioned it, but the main reason you should go to Marcello’s if for the Broasted Chicken. It’s clearly the most popular item and it comes in plain, bbq, teriyaki, buffalo, or garlic oregano. I had the plain this time, but my neighbor Dave Waitz says the garlic oregano is the way to go (a restaurant doesn’t open without Dave knowing, so if he says something’s good you go with it). The chicken comes with your choice of a side and coleslaw. The coleslaw was pretty traditional and slightly heavy on the mayo. Our side of choice was the roasted potatoes which come almost cubed with a nice crisp on every edge. As far as a comparison to Crisp, I’m going to say that ultimately Schneider was right and Marcello’s takes the cake.

Broasted Chicken and Potatoes

If for some reason you go to Marcello’s too often and get tired of the chicken (pretty unlikely), you could get the Skirt Steak Sandwich like Steve. It came nice and tender and on a garlic bread bun. You can also choose to throw on a bunch of grilled onions. I think the one I had at Claim Company was better, but this was pretty close. Ricky was also very happy with his Chicken Parmesan Sandwich. I’ve also heard good reviews of the thin crust pizza but didn’t get around to trying it.

The Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
 The Skirt Steak Sandwich with Twice Baked Potato

Some Chicken fanatics will tell you to go to Harold’s, but I say Marcello’s. It’s a nice standard place you can trust to have a table and a broasted masterpiece waiting for you. The atmosphere is definitely family style, and you’re prone to see the seniors by the plenty. That doesn’t mean the food won’t wow you. The menu is really large which may seem good, but I don’t think it’s universally as awesome as the chicken. Because of that and the average service I’m giving Marcello’ 4 out of 5 Pearls.

Marcello's Father & Son on Urbanspoon


  1. I too like Marcello's... the one in Northbrook is good too!

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