Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fireplace Inn

Last week it was the Professor's birthday, and a celebratory meal was in order. Important factors in our location decision were that we needed to be able to watch the Blackhawks game, get some cheap drinks, and have room for about 12 people. A bunch of places were tossed around, and we finally decided on Benchmark (the trendy new bar in Old Town with a retractable roof). When we got there it was way too crowded to get a table for our group of 12 (let alone a group of 2), so we headed next door to Fireplace Inn.

Fireplace Inn is a pretty large bar and restaurant on Wells in the heart of Old Town. They have two main rooms with a bar in each of them and tons of TVs. They even had a large projection screen we got them to throw the Hawks game on (until the damned UFC fight started). It seemed ironic to me that they changed away from the game while on both sides of the TV they had framed pictures of player hoisting the Stanley Cup. We got tossed down at a long table which was perfect for our group.

Our server was great. She put up with somewhat obnoxious combinations on our check (multiple credit cards and cash), she brought out our food in a timely manner, and there weren't really any order screw ups (impressive with a large group in a busy bar). The real issue came up with the hostess. Around 9:30 we were wrapping up our meal and decided to stay for the rest of the game and have a few beers. Some incompetent parents brought in their whole family for dinner at 9:30 in a bar WITH MULTIPLE BABIES! I guess the hostess had no table for them that was large enough except ours. She then came up to us and had the audacity to ask if we would be leaving soon so that she could use the table (just as our next round of beers came). So not only did we have a rude hostess, but we also had a bunch of crying children and desperate/ignorant parents giving us menacing glares while we finished our drinks and paid.

The cost was pretty reasonable to a little pricey depending on what you got. There were a variety of sandwiches for around $10, and the entrees ranged from $15-$22 (you can get pricier steak options too). The portions were plenty big, but if you look at a place like Smoque, you'll clearly see that there are BBQ options out there that are cheaper and larger.

The Food
The first things that came out were soups and salads that came with entree orders and we got an order of Onion Rings. The rings were pretty good, but I usually like a more uniform fried layer. These kind of fell apart after one bite. I had a house salad which was pretty standard, and I tried some of Erika's French Onion Soup. The soup was extra cheesy which was appreciated, but besides that was pretty standard as well.

The Onion Rings

The House Salad

 The French Onion Soup

For the main courses we got the Pulled Pork Sandwich, Brisket Sandwich, the BBQ Chicken Salad, the Original Boneless Rib Sandwich (a.k.a. Ribwich / McRib), the Miniature Brisket Sandwiches, and a variety of combinations of the BBQ Chicken and Baby Back Ribs. Ockrim and I were both very excited about our sandwiches which the waitress said were the two best on the menu (Brisket and Pulled Pork). Both were exceedingly dry, and the brisket was teetering dangerously on the line of jerky. The saving grace however was the sweet house made BBQ sauce which added a lot of flavor to both our dishes. The Professor loved the ribs, going as far as saying he might like them better than Carson's. The Ribwich was said to be pretty tasty and benefited from being nicely soaked in the sauce. The chicken seemed to go over well with the table, but it didn't seem to blow anyone away.

The BBQ Chicken and Ribs Combo

The BBQ Chicken Salad

The Mini Brisket Sandwiches

The Original Boneless Rib Sandwich

The Baby Back Ribs

The Brisket Sandwich

 The Pulled Pork Sandwich

For dessert they brought out a complimentary piece of Cheesecake for the birthday boy. He seemed happy albeit embarrassed when we sang to him. The Cheesecake was alright.

 The Professor and his Cheesecake 
(if that's not happiness, then I don't know what is)

Atmosphere wise the Fireplace Inn is pretty cool. They've got lots of TVs, beer, and good options for group seating. The service was great until that hostess rushed us out. I would say the food was slightly sub par. I thought my sandwich was really bad, but the other dishes seemed to be alright (and the birthday boy was happy with his ribs). Also, the sauce is really tasty. I'm giving them 2 out of 5 Pearls.


The Fireplace Inn on Urbanspoon


  1. I love this place. The food is very unique, and of course they have a Chicago fireplace in several locations. This would be a great weekend date idea.