3 Squares Diner: Breakfast, lunch and dinner get a twist at new Uptown diner

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The Hungry Hound says the menu is full of updated diner classics, including several options that are vegan or gluten-free.

3 Squares implies yes, you can find breakfast, lunch and dinner inside this ambitious little diner, just a block from the Aragon Ballroom.

But this isn't your parent's greasy spoon Greek diner you grew up with. Rather, a slightly modern take with several nods to the vegan and gluten-free communities.

Along with the requisite cheeseburgers, chicken and waffles and French toast, the food at the homey 3 Squares isn't trying to deliver a carb- and fat-laden bomb with every plate.

"Part of our concept is you can have a meal here and still be able to function for the rest of your day; it's not gonna weigh you down," said Ian Voakes, chef and co-owner.

Homemade peach jam tops that French toast, while those waffles are lighter - and more complex - than what you're used to.

"We use sourdough waffle which we make in-house. We use our own starter, so it's a naturally fermented waffle," Voakes said.

Paired with excellent fried chicken, the dish has a necessary salad containing pickles and red onions, to help cut through the richness, before being drizzled in a sweet-sour gastrique of caramel and vinegar.

Ho cakes here contain two types of cornmeal - both red and yellow - then get a unique topping.

"We spread on the ho cake some fermented tofu butter that's been pureed with a little bit of goat cheese," Voakes said.

Slow-simmered, jerk-braised goat leg is then shredded and plated on top, along with an habanero-cilantro salsa, followed by a haystack of sliced mango and papaya.

Want a simple breakfast sandwich? Gluten-free bread is always an option. Here on the Lawrence sandwich, it's schmeared with pickled jalapeno butter then griddled face-down.

Meanwhile, an egg is turned into a perfect omelet with a single slice of American cheese; the toasted bread is topped with some fresh greens, then a few strips of bacon and finally, that cheesy omelet; a mess of fried, barely smashed potatoes arrive alongside.

At lunch or dinner, gluten-free fans will also find a creative take on trout and roasted beets.

"We take lake trout from Lake Michigan; we cure it as if it was pastrami, using classic pastrami slices, then we smoke it, just as if it was pastrami, but we do it a little bit colder of a smoke temperature and a little bit less time," he said.

It's served with toasted pisatchios, set over a horseradish beet dressing and served with gluten free crackers containing seeds and quinoa.

Voakes said the diner isn't necessarily vegan or gluten-free, but they realize the community has special requests, and they're more than happy to accommodate them.

"We like to cater to a lot of people. So we take diner classics and try to elevate them or put our twist on it," he said.

In Steve's Extra Course Video, he takes a closer look at some of the milkshakes at the diner, including several that can be made with alcohol; there are also a few vegan-friendly shakes.
EMBED More News Videos

In Steve's Extra Course Video, he takes a closer look at some of the milkshakes at the diner, including several that can be made with alcohol; there are also a few vegan-friendly shakes.



3 Squares Diner
1020 W. Lawrence Ave.
773-293-6158
www.3squaresdiner.com
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