"In Chicago, the backbone is corner taverns and bars," says Donnie Kruse on an episode of Chicago's Best. "That?s where you got your updates on your day, that's where you got your drink, that?s where you met people." In 1993, with corporate franchises multiplying and the Internet starting to change social lives, Donnie and his business partners decided to resurrect the idea of a neighborhood hangout. "We said, let's do that, and we'll bring back home cooking." Twenty years later, Stanley's Kitchen & Tap has found plenty of acclaim for its homestyle comfort food, especially its famed fried chicken and mashed potatoes?which WGN-TV lovingly spotlighted during Stanley's Chicago's Best segment.
The entire staff takes pride in their friendly atmosphere, local cast of regulars, and Chicago-style sense of community. Plus, occasional drop-ins from the likes of Dennis Rodman and other luminaries create a sense that anyone could walk through Stanley's door. But it's the crispy chicken, sumptuous potatoes, and full menu of comfort fare?washed down by 312 beer?that attracts taste buds. And while the specialty is chicken, voters at the 2011Roscoe Village Burger Fest declared Stanley's secret sauce-laden behemoth their first-place favorite. Wrigley Field agrees?the StanBurger is the official burger of the Chicago Cubs, being aerodynamic enough to sail over the fences during a home run.