Sunday, January 15, 2012

Charlie Beinlich's

Location: 290 Skokie Blvd, Northbrook
Cost: About $13 per person

My sister and Noam came in town for some wedding planning and general vacation the other week. Noam got in a day early, and we decided to meet my parents for a lunch break in Northbrook. My dad said there was this place down the road from his office. The way he described it was that it was an institution. So we all ended up at Charlie Beinlich's.

I had no idea what to expect when I pulled into the Beinlich's parking lot. The building is this little shack of a bar on the side of the road, and yet the lot was chock full. I expected to see a bunch of bar flies and businessmen, but there were families and groups of old ladies eating when I came in as well. It's a single bar room that they jam as tightly full of tables as they can. We had four people and got sat after waiting 10 minutes or so. If you're in a rush for lunch, I'm not sure if they can always make that happen for you.

Our service was a team effort. Our food came out quickly, and our drinks were kept full. They brought out our bill with our food which was kind of confusing. When it came time to pay, we had to search amongst a sea of dirty plates to figure things out.

The menu is very limited, and my dad says it hasn't changed in the many years he's been going there. They keep it on a little tack board they hang on the wall. It basically boils down to burgers, chili, shrimp cocktail, and a few other sandwiches. I don't think you could spend more than $15 here per person on food alone. The portions were plenty large too.

The Food
We didn't feel like getting any shrimp cocktail, so we tried the only other appetizer on the menu, the Chili. It was a really simple, hearty dish with plenty of beans and meat. The base maintained a strong tomato flavor and could've been a little spicier, but it still did a nice job of warming my bones.

 The Chili

We all went with the burger in some variety or another. The most interesting order was Noam's burger which had Swiss and Bacon (bacon's not on the menu, but they have it if you ask). In general, the burgers were very juicy and simple. The buns are toasted with a decent amount of butter. One nice touch is that they've got grilled onions for a standard topping. They were all cooked properly to specification too. For a side you can get french fries and coleslaw. The fries were crispy and crinkle cut, and the coleslaw was extra creamy. It seems probable that they get those out of a frozen bag and a jar respectively.

The Bacon Cheeseburger

 The Standard Burger

There are no bells and whistles to Charlie Beinlich's. They're not trying to impress anyone. Clearly though from years and years of quality service with simple, straightforward food, they've created a devoted following. It won't blow your mind, but if you're into institutions you should check this place out. I'm giving them 3 out of 5 Pearls.

Charlie Beinlich's on Urbanspoon