Chicago SMAK: Standard Market Grill

New city. New neighborhood. New pool of restaurant options.

I had been to Standard Market Grill once before for beers and a Hawk's game. The atmosphere is great - an open kitchen theme, dining and bar areas, with outdoor seating along Clark Street. The energy was great - young couples getting dinner and drinks, families eating dinner, people watching the game. Clearly this is a restaurant for anyone and everyone. It was quickly put on my list of restaurants to go back to and actually eat at.

Standard Market Grill

So when my brother came down to Chicago to visit me for a weekend, I recruited him to give Standard Market Grill another try with me. After a 2-hour commute into the city (the joys of working in the suburbs and living in the city), we walked over the SMG for a quick meal before walking to the beach. The entire ordering process was very confusing at first. Did we sit down at a table on our own? Did waiters take our orders? But why are there registers there at the counter? After putting two and two together, we realized that the ordering was similar to that at Panera - order at the front counter, receive a buzzer, get your food. I feel like this is a strange set up for what feels like a sit-down restaurant.

the napa

THE NAPA | goat cheese, salted focaccia, tomato bacon jam, arugula

The food was good, but not the best that I've had. I ordered The Napa - a hamburger topped with goat cheese, tomato bacon jam and arugula atop a salted focaccia bun. The burger itself was good, not real complaints there. The side however, I was less than impressed. I am a sucker for sweet potato fries so I was very excited to see that they had this as an option. Unfortunately they came out rather mushy and overdone. Overall, I had a good food experience but I definitely think that there is room to grow or improve.