The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Review: Glunz Tavern

By Melissa Wiley in Food on Jan 17, 2013 9:40PM

Prohibition took the wind out of countless watering holes’ sails, those of Glunz Tavern included. But seven years shy of Prohibition’s centennial, the House of Glunz’s long-shuttered taproom is back, this time (we hope) for a longer sojourn. Old Town’s signature stretch of north Wells has long lacked a purlieu for those who prefer to sup in flannel shirts. And while dinner satisfies without quite knocking it out of the park, the Old World ambiance compels you to sit and stay long after you’ve cleaned your plate.

Yes, there’s always been more than enough alcohol to be had in the area; nearby Benchmark and Old Town Pour House are practically within big-screen viewing distance. But something essential has been missing all the same. Finally with Glunz, we dare to hope that garden-variety conversation—and the drink and eats that propel it forward—is gaining ground again. You can get surround sound elsewhere.

We visited Glunz on a recent Friday night purely out of hunger but stayed for the chance conversations spun from the Salzburger beer and friendly, screenless atmosphere. The menu combines Gallic and Teutonic classics, featuring a ragout du jour and hearty entrees the likes of knackwurst and thüringer sausages simmered in Bavarian-style sauerkraut as well as coq au riesling with potato dumplings. There’s even filet mignon on offer for $24, with mushroom duxelle, roasted shallots, asparagus, and bordelaise sauce. It pairs best, we were told, with a side of spätzle überbacken.

For dinner, we sampled the only southern European item on the menu, the gnocchi ($11), with porcini mushrooms, garlic, and pecorino cheese. For something meatier, we ordered the sausages ($10), served with sauerkraut and parsley potatoes, as well as a damn good hamburger topped with blue cheese and served on a pretzel bun ($12). We also snacked on an obligatory warm pretzel ($3) with Dusseldorf mustard, of which we could have ordered six and been perfectly gemütlich, as well as the cookies du jour, a savory rum pecan.

As sometimes happens, the most pedestrian fare on the menu pleased our palate best. So while we wouldn’t go out of our way to reserve a table for a full-course dinner, we’d happily loiter over another hamburger, a beer, and a pretzel any blustery night of the week. Glunz Tavern is as good an excuse as any to bask in a fresh froth of liquid nostalgia.

Glunz Tavern is located at 1206 N. Wells Street.