Friday, June 15, 2012

Papa D's Grill


Location: 2273 N Lincoln
Cost: About $12 per person

I went to undergrad at the University of Illinois, and in Champaign there are many greasy late night eateries. One of my clear favorites was Geovanti's. They have amazing chicken fingers and honey mustard dipping sauce. I will always hold dear memories of Geovanti's except for the time when my friend Alison completely ruined my favorite pair of jeans by rudely reaching across everyone for a french fry and subsequently dropping ketchup on them.

Well, one day my roommate Jeremy came home with a big fat grin on his face because he'd discovered that the owners of Geo's had opened a place in Lincoln Park called Papa D's Grill (notice the similarity in web design). Supposedly they had the exact same chicken fingers and dipping sauces. Soon thereafter, I had the chance to buy a groupon, and the two of us went to hit it up.

Papa D's is a simple storefront smack in the middle of the Depaul bar scene on Lincoln. There's no air conditioning and all of the tables are wobbly. We were the only people in there eating. It smelled kind of funky most of the time we were there until they started cooking up some obscene amount of bacon for the evening "rush." Then it smelled awesome.

The burn out looking guy behind the counter took care of us pretty quickly, but it's not like he had anyone else to serve. The cost isn't bad, but somehow you just feel ripped off. I hate that the prices in store were not the same as online. It's just some scam to coax people to come in and then up charge them. What makes things even worse is that they clearly have higher prices taped on over the menu on the wall. What it comes to is that an order of chicken fingers, fries, and a drink will run you around $12 (add a few bucks on if you want 5 fingers instead of 3).

The Food
The main goal was to order some Chicken Tenders and French Fries with Honey Mustard Sauce for dipping. That being said, we had extra space to work with from our groupon, so we also split a House Salad and a Burger. The salad was crummy on all accounts. The lettuce seemed wet and the veggies were bland (like Subway bland). The burger was right out of the freezer and the bun was stale as could be. Still, those dishes aren't why you go to Papa D's. The chicken tenders did not hold up to my wonderful memories from undergrad. The batch was inconsistent with some of them being too dry and some of them coming out not fully cooked (taking a bite of an undercooked chicken tender is really unsettling). The fries were soggy. The dipping sauce was still perfect. It's like some creamier version of the best honey mustard you've ever had.

The Chicken Fingers and Fries

The Burger

 The House Salad

Eating at Papa D's was a pretty awful experience, and I felt equally awful for quite some time thereafter. If only I could just find out where they get that damned honey mustard sauce from. Since everything goes in the deep fryer, I'd imagine that my undercooked tender was just bad luck. Still, I'll never go back, and I can easily say that you won't enjoy your meal here. I'm giving them 1 out of 5 Pearls.

Note: For the record, I believe Jeremy disagrees with my opinions on our meal. His grease laden stomach loves the 3 piece tender meal.
Papa D's Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. You talking smack about Subway?

  2. Indeed I am. Don't tell your dad.

  3. I don't know if the comparison is fair. Did you ever eat Geo's sober?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Ha that's a good point Carrie... I hit extreme Champaign townie status and became friends with George (the owner) this year; I know he would be VERY unhappy if he knew they served you bad food!

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