Monday, June 1, 2009


2100 W. Irving Park
Chicago, IL 60618

O'boy, could we have done without a trip to this place, which is an overgrown Irish pub/sports bar (with two outside seating areas) in the North Center neighborhood. As we reach the end of the list, restaurants are being picked pretty much at random. I happened to know where O'Donovan's was, so it got the nod for an early lunch over Memorial Day weekend.

Click for the large size - note that all burgers come with "fires." Debateable.

Adam got the standard, and I got mine with bacon and cheddar.

We'd forgotten what category the O'Donovan's burger had been mentioned under---turns out it's the fourth-place cheap burger, available for $2 on Mondays with a drink. (Time Out cites a "peppery kick" that would prove nonexistant.)We were paying Saturday prices, but I don't think it would have mattered. It was pretty bad, along the lines of the McCormick and Schmick's $2 burger. Things were looking promising when the waitress asked us how we wanted our burgers cooked (medium for both of us). But we got these charred-out pucks:

This kind of patty just cannot be cooked anything rarer than well-done. Just sad. Why bother? The bun was lightly toasted and a little stale. At least we're in decent-tomato season. Fries are forgettable McDonalds clones. It will come as no surprise that a Sysco truck was unloading box after box through the back during our meal.

Two things saved the morning from being a total waste. First: O'Donovan's makes a really good bloody mary.

All essential elements (salt-pepper sand, salami, pickled vegetables, 6 oz. beer back) are present.

What makes a big, dumb beer garden care about their bloody mary but neglect about their burger? Everything tasted fresh, with an agreeable (read: noticable) spice level. I think these are a big-ticket item, but there was "a problem" getting our order into the computer and we weren't charged for these, which was the second good thing that O'Donovan's has going for it. Consequently, I have no idea how much these cost, but they'd go for $10 most places, and getting them free was about the best trick O'Donovan's could have possibly pulled on us. That being said, even for $2, there's just nothing to recommend about this burger.

8 comments: said...

we used to go to o'donovan's all the time. not great but when your highschool is only five blocks away it's the best. imo...just another place to eat but nothing to write home about...peace.

Jay said...

If the waitress asked how you wanted it cooked and you said medium, and that's what she brought you, you should've sent that back to the kitchen. It's the only way they'll learn.

Curiously, right nearby O'Donovan's is the Lincoln Restaurant, which serves up a surprisingly good burger.

Anonymous said...

O'Donmovan's has the best dessert in Chicago land. It's not really fair to rate this place because I go to O'Donovan's several times a week. Pretty neat place. Been there a few times during the week. The food is pretty tasty actually as far as bar food goes. Service was prompt and friendly. Very comfortable atmosphere. The burgers were good. (Thank you O'Donovan's! Thank you for your drink specials. Thank you for your daily food specials.) Overall, the place is good. The beer garden is large and has plenty of room to sit and enjoy it. The food is ok, nothing to get excited over. I will be back, but next time, I'd prefer a new waitress. I have always liked O'Donovan's.

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