Burgers, mezcal cocktails side-by-side in Logan Square

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Hungry Hound: Johnny's Grill and Mezcaleria Las Flores (WLS)

A former diner in Logan Square neighborhood has been reborn for hipsters, including an adjacent mezcal bar next door.

If you're craving a serious burger and a dose of rustic, Mexican-inspired cocktails, it sits at the corner of Logan Boulevard and Kedzie on the city's Northwest Side.

Nearly every table has the same thing. Then look at the grill - there are burgers everywhere. You would expect this sort of lunchtime staple at a diner, and in fact, Johnny's Grill has been a fixture in Logan Square since the early 70s. But it was recently taken over by a local pastry chef and her team, who've updated the menu.

"Breakfast lunch dinner, we have everything from your standard diner 2 x 2, two eggs scrambled, pancakes, toast, to an Irish breakfast which is practically a heart attack on a plate," said owner Sarah Jordan.

Jordan has been working on the diner's cheeseburger, which has suddenly become a hit.

"I have numerous favorites here in Chicago but I really wanted to do a really simple but really tasty burger," she said.

It's simply two three-ounce patties and sharp cheddar, set onto dijonnaise-covered soft buns that have been griddled on the inside. Then raw onions and housemade pickles. Simple but seriously delicious.

Next door, their bar, Mezcaleria Las Flores, dedicated to mezcal.

"It pre-dates tequila. Tequila is kind of the cousin that's gone off and become a little more refined; mezcal is a very rustic product that is basically indigenous to Mexico," said Beverage Director Jay Schroeder.

One highlight, the Falconry Demonstration: egg white, fresh lime, blood orange and mezcal, with calvados and maraschino liqueur, topped with a spray of fresh hibiscus through a falcon stencil.

"Due to the fermenting nature of mescal and all these big boisterous flavors and aromas, I think it kind of ends up making sense that Mexican produce, Mexican ingredients go really, really well with it. Tropical fruit particularly. But it's really flexible," said Schroeder.

Mezcaleria always has about eight different cocktails on the menu, or you could drink it neat, which would not be my choice; they also serve their cocktails in interesting vessels. Not just glasses, but also sawed-off beer bottles and even different bowls and of course they always taste better out here on the patio.

EXTRA COURSE: Johnny's Grill owner talks about their unique pastries, including giant pop tarts
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In this week's Extra Course, Steve talks with the owner of Johnny's Grill about a few of the unique pastries they make.

Johnny's Grill
2545 N Kedzie Ave.

(773) 278-2215

Mezcaleria Las Flores
3149 W Logan Blvd
(773) 278-2215
Related Topics:
foodhungry houndChicago - Logan Square
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