Before my first surgery, Cindy and I drove into Chicago for what was supposed to be a day, but it ended up being a day and a night. Our ultimate goal was to go to Trader Joe's to stock up on items that I get for us when I'm in Chicago on a regular basis. Since it was going to be about three months before I was going to be able to be anywhere close to a Trader Joe's, we really needed to go.
The only problem is that our visit to Vito and Nick's took so long and by the time we were done with their great pizza it was past 9 p.m. And Trader Joe's closes at 9 p.m. Cindy was upset as that was the one thing she wanted to do while she was in Chicago (it didn't matter that we'd gone to IKEA, a couple malls, walked around downtown and went to a world class old-style pizza place on the south side of Chicago). We needed to go to Trader Joe's even if it meant spending an unscheduled night in Chicago and then getting up in the morning to go to Trader Joe's on our way out of town.
We ended up getting a hotel room at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Addison for the evening. That's right - no overnight bag, no change of clothes, no toiletries, nothing. The next morning, we got up, cleaned up the best we could and headed out the door around 8:30. Cindy said, "Maybe we should get something to eat for breakfast."
I was actually fine, especially being on a diet and everything. But Cindy is one of these creatures where she has to have three square meals a day. And breakfast is the most important meal with the bigger and more elaborate the breakfast, the better. I didn't even hesitate as I took a right on Lake Street and took her to Dapper's for breakfast (see map).
Dapper's is one of the many restaurants along the Lake Street corridor between Elmhurst and Addison in the western suburbs of Chicago. It's a large, family style restaurant that serves good food and has a laid back feel to the place. I've eaten at Dapper's many times when I've stayed in either Elmhurst or Addison, especially when I need a fix for some good ol' comfort food.
The Dapper's in Addison is officially known as Dapper's West and is the third of three Dapper's restaurants in the Chicago area. The original Dapper's - known as Dapper's East - is in the Irving Park/Avondale area in Chicago, just down Addison Ave. from Wrigley Field (see map). There's also a Dapper's North in suburban Norridge near O'Hare Airport (see map). Dapper's has a loyal following of customers who keep coming back for the good service and good food.
Like a lot of family-style restaurants in the Chicago area (and in other areas, I also found), a Greek family is behind the business. The Manaves family own and operate the Dapper's restaurants and they feature a number of Greek foods on the menu, as well.
Dapper's building is very nice and very modern. They feature big booths, large sturdy tables and comfortable seating. Right from the start as you walk in, you're greeted by not only a hostess, but a huge dessert cooler full of pies, muffins and other delectable goodies that you can look at before you have your meal.
And the menu selections are plentiful and varied. I've often thought that if you can't find anything on the menu at Dapper's, you're not hungry. I've found some family restaurants that have large menus where the food is *OK* because they're spreading themselves too thin. I've never found that to be the case in my previous trips to Dapper's because every meal I've ever eaten there has been above average.
One of the more peculiar aspects of Dapper's is that they have a number of flat panel televisions around the place. I've been in there when they were showing Cubs games or Bulls games on TV. I've never been in a family style restaurant where they have TV's going. It drives Cindy nuts when we have a TV going in our "lodge" at home when we're eating dinner out there. It didn't even occur to me that she'd have a problem with Dapper's having televisions on throughout the place when we were having our breakfast. "This is a family restaurant," she said. "People should be talking to one another over their meals, not watching television."
I said, "What about guys like me who eat alone in places like this? Maybe televisions help those people pass the time."
She said, "Yeah, but you always read a newspaper when you're eating alone."
"Well, maybe I'd like to watch television instead," I replied.
Once we were seated and Cindy got over the fact that there were televisions on in a family restaurant, we took a long look at the huge breakfast menu to figure out what we wanted. Cindy was having trouble figuring out what she wanted, so she wanted me to go first. I was going to be very simple - three eggs over easy and three pieces of bacon. The waitress said, "Why don't you get the breakfast special with hash browns and toast?"
Actually, it would have been cheaper to do so, but I wasn't going to eat the hash browns and the toast and if there's one major pet peeve I have in this world is throwing out food. God, it just rankles me to the core to have to throw out food. Ask Cindy. Actually, in hindsight, I should have gotten the breakfast special and told them to hold the hash browns and toast. Live and learn when you're on a diet.
Cindy - who was not on a diet - got the Belgian waffles topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Although it was all I could do to change my order, but I fought through the temptation.
When our very efficient waitress brought our food, the discrepancy was enormous. Cindy had this huge waffle topped with a pound of strawberries and covered in whipped cream. I had a plate with three eggs and three pieces of bacon. When the waitress set it down in front of Cindy she said, "Oh, my!"
I said, "I'm telling you - they don't skimp on portions here. Except if you order three eggs and three pieces of bacon."
My meal was over in, oh, maybe a minute. Cindy had just begun to dig into her waffle. It was all she could do to eat half of it. We could have easily shared a Belgian waffle, but I'm allergic to strawberries (love the taste, hate the hives).
The waitress asked Cindy if she wanted to box up the Belgian waffle. Unfortunately, we were over three hours from home and had no room in the cooler (especially after we went to Trader Joe's) for the leftovers. Besides, can you really heat up a Belgian waffle again?
The prices are reasonable at Dapper's. The service is always professional and swift. And the food is always outstanding. Dapper's is one of the reasons I love to stay in the Elmhurst/Addison area when I'm in Chicago for extended stays. I always have a meal there at least once during my stays and I know I'll continue to do so.