- by Matt Kirouac, Editor-in-Chief
From: Robert Morris College From Robert Morris's Chicago campus, one has easy access in any direction to a quick drink, a bar-side bite, or reliable American grub. Tourists traps and hidden local alcoves vie for the attention of hungry passers-by with their elaborate decorations, and their brisk, reliable service. No place, however, touches the satisfaction stratosphere quite like Plymouth Restaurant and Bar; a no-frills tribute to Americana in every sense of the establishment. Never mind the fact that the three-story institution could be more convenient to the downtown campus-dwellers, situated a scant block away across a derelict pigeon-infested park. This is the type of restaurant I'd venture out of my way for, be it smack dab in the gut of the Loop or a CTA journey away. There certainly aren't any shortages of simple American restaurants in the city, downtown or otherwise. Heck, the melding of diner fare and pub-slyle chow can be picked out of just about any neighborhood. The thing about the Plymouth though, that sets it boldly apart from the masses is the impressive success at which it hits upon every criterion in this restaurant genre. First thing first, the colorful and picture-heavy menu is as long as a biblical scroll. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner have their bases thoroughly covered, with enough offerings to satisfy the pickiest brat in the party. Diners have the option of dining in the three areas. There's the main room on the first floor, where an open kitchen cranks out hearty dishes and sassy waitresses recall memories of a truck stop eatery. On the lower level, it's all about the bar, with snack-type bites and billiard games. Then there's the rooftop deck, open through the winter and heated accordingly, serving a condensed version of downstairs' epic menu. On a recent post-school visit, our party digested a feast of eclectic comfort foods in the nearly-empty main dining room. We were served by an urgent and sometimes-neglectful waitress, while perhaps spending too much time gawking at the eye candy littering the walls. It took a good while to peruse the length of the hefty menu, flipping from page to page of breakfast goods, burgers, club sandwiches, appetizers, salads, pizzas, and so on and so forth. The soup special of the day was some kind of creamy potato medley reminiscent of a steaming chowder, came in a little crock that paled in comparison to the monster-sized bread basket accompanying it (there sure was no shortage of crackers). For our round of entrees, it was hard to resist something served between bread; the bulk of the menu is pure sandwich hysteria. I got the portabella ciabatta, marinated and grilled mushrooms compressed between soft ciabatta rolls with roasted red peppers, red onions, and an ample amount of salty feta cheese. I especially went nuts for the side of waffle fries that came with. It's far too rare that I stumble across these beloved fried gems, the slicing mystery of which will always enamor me. The plate next to me was the signature Plymouth burger, a 1/2 lb. Angus patty cooked to medium-well perfection with some grilled mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and a selection of cheeses. Again, when making a selection for your side dish of choice, do not under any circumstances, pass up the waffle fries. Other dishes ordered, and to delicious success, were the roasted turkey Reuben. It came open-faced on thick and buttery Greek break, oozing over the melted Swiss cheese and the essential Thousand Island dressing alongside. The last dish ordered dropped the jaw the most. The taco salad, comprised of an absolute pile of ground beef, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream, was delivered to the table in what can only be described as a giant fried bowl. The crispy taco shell in which the Mexican salad is served makes for a fun combination of knife-and-fork salad and greasy nachos. With the bevy of options offered at Plymouth Restaurant and Bar, the customer feels in complete control of their typically plain American diner-style meal. Go downstairs to the bar for a nightcap or keep it main level for a table-service dinner? Or perhaps you'd like a panoramic view of downtown with your lunch? Then there's the tedious decision to be made of what to order. yes, it's all about the customer and the extra-convenience at this downtown dining destination that'll have everyone crying "Plymouth Rocks!"