When Jon Lidz left his career as an army officer some 25 years ago, he had dreams of opening a restaurant. Although he took a few detours—working everywhere from Wall Street to the button-making business—he still daydreamed about a place where friends and neighbors could enjoy fresh food in a casual, comfortable setting. So with the encouragement of friends and family, he opened Little Shanty, where he created a menu starting with his grandmother’s Southern-style, hand-cut french fries, plus burgers, Chicago-style hotdogs, and shakes.
Little Shanty’s casual interior brings to mind an auto repair shop—complete with aluminum siding, exposed brick walls, and booths sidled next to windowed garage doors. The kitchen resides on the other side of these doors, allowing diners to avidly watch as cooks assemble burgers or drag race pickles.