Ralph Lauren for Lunch... Preppies Unite!

June 02 2005 - 8:49 AM

Chicago isn’t New York.  I’m only bringing it up because I have some delusions, harkening back to the 30s or the 50s where I picture long martini lunches, where the 75 year old man in the corner isn’t whiling away his social security and instead is taking his sweet time because he owns wherever it is he works. Where Chicago is the place they set those half-assed New Yorkers straight.

My reality was Ditka’s, where the fantastic Crab bisque has little to do with the quantity-oriented tendencies of the wise-guy Chicagoan. I miss those smaller upper west side restaurants where taking lunch or dinner in the bar is an all day event or those big mid-town and downtown spots where it’s more of the same.

RL is compensating for this… please disregard the plaid pants…
….and madras.

It begs the question does wearing Polo to the Polo restaurant require the same response to wearing the t-shirt of the band to that band’s concert? The response being, “Don’t be that guy.”

It was 1:30 and I hadn’t taken lunch so I figured no better time to sneak in a luncheon-style lunch. I sat in the small bar area and ordered the RL hamburger. The inflatable obstacle course complimentary bread and romano-chip thing was terrific and kept me busy chewing while I decided between the Lobster club sandwich and the RL Burger. I figured – go with the burger… if they put their name on it it has to be good. Especially with so much competition in the area- Ditka’s Blackie’s etc.
It was good. I’d go out on a limb and say the bun was better than the burger.

The fries were tasty too. They were slimmer than usual and man I wish I got a beer (note: $5 a beer).I noticed they were pouring Zardettos as their bottom rung sparkler and to be honest I find that it covers as well as I’d expect for a proseco and tends to be more forgiving in the heartburn department according to my wife.
The atmosphere is the entertainment: people wandering around in plaid suits, plaid pants, and navy pant suits (of course with pearls). Lots of long hair down, lots of guys in Polo T’s. Preppies Unite!

An older gent came in and sat in the corner, passed on his “usual” Crab appetizer and callled for a beefeater. He then struck up a conversation with the champagne drinking lady who was having a few glasses before she goes out shopping.
The bartender had a steady stream of glasses of white burgundy called for Mr. _____  or a bordeaux for Phil. He confirmed that there are a LOT of regulars.

I can see why. People are dressed nicely. They are polite. It’s like a country club. Considering you walk back out into the real world often enough I think I could enjoy this.