• Sam Worley
  • Fried green tomatoes, chicken salad, garnish, garnish, garnish

Earlier this year I made a new friend who has either worked downtown longer or has learned to make downtown work better than I have, or both. She introduced me to a couple bars worth visiting in the Mag Mile vicinity. After I wrote about one for this year’s Best of Chicago issue, she took me to the other only with my assurance that I’d do nothing to let anyone else in on the secret. Suffice to say: It was a rare nice bar in the area. It was cute. It was sparse. It had a name in another language and a respectable martini. It had class, is what I’m saying, and my friend reminded me of this the other day when I proposed to hold up my side of the relationship by taking her to a restaurant called Hash House A Go Go. Which is on State Street, around the corner from the Original Mothers and Mothers Too. Which describes its cuisine as “twisted farm food.” Which originated in San Diego but has many locations in Las Vegas. Which has on its menu “big O’ ravioli,” “Big O’ SHRIMP,” “Big O’ squash,” and a signature 24-ounce Budweiser, served in a paper bag.

Well, what it lacks in class it certainly makes up for in exuberance, not to mention consistency. Common themes appeared among the dishes we ordered: All arrived at the table with an enormous sprig of rosemary geysering up from the food, a flourish that afflicted every other plate I happened to see in the restaurant. All three—an app and two entrees—were garnished with diced red and orange bell peppers. All three plates were decorated with crunchy sticks of deep-fried linguini. Two of the three effected a tower presentation that might’ve captivated the attentions of Donald Trump.