By Zachary Wright
When you walk west off the Wellington stop on the CTA Brown Line, you might notice how unassuming Golden Apple Grill and Breakfast House is.
It’s a plain, simple diner that still adorns its old awnings that are faded. However, once you walk in, it’s different. It’s vintage with a more sleek and upscale twist.
The seats feel new, and they’re comfortable. It’s clean, but inviting. It’s not the type of clean where it feels sterile and cold. It has the cozy aspect that is hard to find in newer diners that try to capture that vintage, delightful feeling.
Located at the intersection of Southport and Lincoln, Golden Apple Grill doesn’t stray far from the beaten path of diner classics like pancakes, burgers, french fries and breakfast skillets. However, while they are traditional in a sense that they don’t offer anything beyond the diner norms, the dishes are delicious and flavorful.
Each of meals ordered were crafted with care. More often than not, diners do get the reputation of being sloppy, rushed and lacking in flavor. That is what sets Golden Apple apart. The pancakes are fluffy and sweet, the syrup is hot and the bacon is crispy.
The biscuits were also soft but not soggy. I was able to still taste the butter mixed with the white sausage gravy that tasted straight out of your grandmother’s kitchen on a winter day.
The breakfast is what makes the diner worth the trip. The dinner selection is popular, but not as popular as their breakfast which is served all day.
They also serve four choices of blintzes, which is jam or cream cheese wrapped in a thin, crepe-like pancake. The choices are strawberry, apple, blueberry and cream cheese.
Also, they serve a nice but slim selection of desserts. They offer old favorites like banana splits and milkshakes, but also pie and cheesecakes. The selections of cake, pie and cheesecake generally depends on the day.
There is one type of cheesecake – apple caramel – that is worth the extra calories. The texture of the jam, which was a bit chunky because of the apple, is a bit weird on the palate. That can be overlooked by its delicate and decadent taste of the slightly burnt graham cracker crust, the caramel and the flavor of the cheesecake. I do think it can be a bit too sweet.
However, there are a few rotten sides to Golden Apple. There are very few, if any, vegan options or gluten free. Newer diners, especially those that practice farm to table and follow newer trends generally practice vegan cuisine.
The drink selection is also very basic. Just your typical run-of-the-mill Coca Cola products, although they do serve some alcohol which is mostly beer. None of it will really stick out to you, but that’s fine for diners that try to incorporate tastes for all walks of life.
The coffee is nothing fancy. It’s more or less a hot cup of joe with how much cream and sugar you’d like. It’s not Instagram-worthy where they focus on the artistry of the foam rather than the flavor.
As a matter of fact, none of their selections are really Instagram worthy (unless you try to make it pop). They’re a restaurant – a diner – that allows the food to take a more rustic approach while trying to focus on flavor. While we eat with our eyes, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are many newer restaurants that try to focus on the aesthetics of food, but they forget what really makes the meal memorable, which is the flavor.
The plating of their dishes isn’t ugly or unpleasing to the eye. They manage to get a well meaning balance between the look and the flavor.
Also, Golden Apple is reasonably priced and you get a lot of bang for your buck for around $10 dollars. The most expensive thing is a steak, which goes up to about $20 dollars. The waiting staff is also kind and receptive.
All in all, the Golden Apple lives up to their gold standards and deserves to be a new late night breakfast spot.
4 out of 5 torches