Today's Groupon is an invitation to a dinner party, but not the kind where you're forced to make awkward small talk with coworkers and exiled presidentes while waiting for the brisket to cook through. For $20, you'll get $40 worth of delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and drinks at the 44th Ward Dinner Party—that's half price on Metromix's Best Concept of 2009.
This hip Lakeview restaurant-bar is a dinner-party only in the sense that there's limited space for guests and everyone will get confused about whose turn it is halfway through a game of Apples To Apples; advance reservations are recommended. The Ward's true claim to fame, however, is the fact that it specializes in the greatest of all mankind's comfort foods: grilled cheese. Where other restaurants stop at heating up the cushion of air between two slices of dry toast, the 44th Ward's menu comes up with an admirably vast number of bread-cheese-and-heat permutations on the old favorite. Signature sandwiches include the traditional Traditional ($5), the Belmont Harbor (thick hickory-smoked bacon, aged sharp cheddar, and thin apple slices on sourdough, $8), and the flavor-jammed 90/94 (thinly pressed ground beef, sautéed portobella mushrooms, and chihuahua cheese sandwiched between two crustless grilled cheese sandwiches, $11).
While grilled cheese would seem like a big no-no for vegans, the 44th Ward has solved the problem with its 60657 (soy bacon, soy cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms, alfalfa sprouts, and optional vegannaise, $11). If none of the pre-fabs appeal to you, you can build your own out of seven kinds of artisan bread, 11 different cheeses, and 18 choice extras ($6+). For dessert, there's grilled cheesecake ($5) and fried ice cream ($3/$7) in three flavors, each paired with its own impractical-but-delicious breakfast cereal.
The 44th Ward also serves up cocktails as streamlined and stately as its antique wallpaper and Victorian furnishings. Signature drinks, such as the Lakeview Lemonade (whiskey, lemon-lime soda, triple sec, and sweet & sour, $7) and Wrigley Martini (Stoli peach, black raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice, $9), will have you making kissy-faces with strangers in a hurry. Stop by with a trusted friend or favored mail carrier, and create your own variants on the mother of all mom treats.
Note: Your Groupon is not valid for nightly specials or other promotions.
The 44th Ward Dinner Party has been hailed Best Concept of 2009 by Metromix and Yelpers give the 44th Ward Dinner Party four stars. It also got a glowing review from Chicago magazine and has been featured in CS magazine:
- The owners didn’t sacrifice style. The newly Victorian vibe—settees that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in your great-great-grandmother’s parlor, intricate antique-y wallpaper—sets a striking stage for a place to drink grown-up cocktails while munching on every kid-at-heart’s favorite sandwich. – Kate Schwartz Seamons, Chicago magazine
- Sandwiches oozing with bacon and cheddar, a vintage photo booth for capturing the moment and plenty of creative types to pass your card to? This Ward gets our vote. – Amalie Drury, CS magazine
Numerology Secrets To Change Your Life
Much like feng shui (the ancient Chinese art of setting fire to your couch and then reading your future in the ashes), numerology is a very real technique for unlocking the secrets of the universe. The 44th Ward knew this when they chose their name: 44 = 22 x 2 = 222, the number of eyes on Krishnu, the lucky, world-devouring cat. Thanks to its choice, business is booming and Krishnu will sleep for another thousand cycles. How can you use numerology to control your own destiny?
Naming your baby: Choose your baby’s name according to the letters’ numeration in the alphabet. For instance, if you name your baby Aggf (1,7,7,6) it will grow up to love America. Welcome to the greatest country in the world, Aggf!
Buying a house: Choose a house on the even side of the street to keep things even and avoid odd occurrences, such as spontaneous cloudbursts of toads or your car changing color right before an important meeting.
Destroying your enemies: This is a tricky one. Let’s say your enemy is Beth Tonkins from St. Dominic Prep. Take the year Beth graduated (1993) and subtract it from the year you graduated (1995), when Beth Tonkins told everyone in the Summer Shakespeare program that you killed a pony by breaking its back, which doesn’t even make sense because the pony was already throwing up before you rode on it (1995 – 1993 = 2). The result, 2, is your “constant.” Constantly call Beth Tonkins at 2 in the morning and remind her that you look really cute on the dust jacket of your bestseller, and she’s still working at her hometown pet store breeding hairless mice for snake food.
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