Tuesday, December 22, 2009

(Updated) Edgewater Icon, Standee's Diner, to Close Jan. 3, 2010

(Updated/Revised) - I first stumbled into Standee's Diner in March of 1997. Now, sadly, it will close at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 3, 2010 due to a dispute with the landlord. Click photos to enlarge them Standee's Diner ("Snack and Dine") is (still) located at 1133 West Granville Avenue in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood, half a block east of N. Broadway. The good news: Standee's will be quickly reincarnated in a new location. Currently located just a few steps west of the CTA's Granville Red Line station, they plan to reopen just east of the tracks. One local resident, TheFemGeek, posted this on Twitter: "Standee's is closing at the end of the month and hopefully they will open across the street in the future but it'll be under new management," and "In the next few days a waitress who's been working @ Standee's forever will sell some photos she's taken of the place over the yrs." Another local, "blergh," posted this on Twitter: "OH MY GOD STANDEE'S LOST ITS LEASE AND WILL BE CLOSING D: LIFE AS I KNOW IT IS OVER D:" The little diner's atmosphere felt like a scene from a movie. With a great juke box, a menu full of homestyle cooking and a grandfathered wooden cutting counter next to the grill, the place was packed with character. Local character, and all of the characters were willing to chat. Some great conversations in there, about everything from politics to snowfalls to crooked aldermen. Sometimes we'd grab a bite to eat, then get a pitcher of beer at Gino's North, just the other side of the El tracks. Chrome on the counter and behind it, the place sparkled in a dim sort of way. Standee's would have been perfect in a movie scene, but even moreso it had a dreamlike quality. Not quite real, I guess, because it was so out of synch with the corporate dining that so many of us have become accustomed to. Drunks on the sidewalk; occassionally one would come in and start screaming at the walls. The staff would immediately kick them out. Loyola students sitting with a cup of coffee and a stack of books for hours. Drunks tripping home, stopping in for coffee and fries, sometimes falling asleep in a booth. There was very little PC about the joint - lewd jokes were frequently shouted from one end of the dining counter to the other. I remember an elderly waitress, Anna, who came to America from Germany. She never lost her heavy accent and was always impatient with customers. I loved her. Standee's would always have a pie of the day, and one time she suggested a slice of the "peeka dee kahn" to me. I had to ask her three times to repeat that until I realized that she meant the pecan pie. I ordered it. It was homemade. It was delicious, the best peeka dee kahn pie I've ever had to this day. May Anna rest in peace. The food was the main attraction for me, with the sometimes Felliniesque sideshow being just an added benefit. Think grandma's for Sunday dinner. The Disjointed Chicken was something sent to Earth by the angels, I will always believe. The portions were huge, the prices always fair. Standee's will be missed. There might be a petition effort to "save" the diner, as indicated by an expired post on Craigslist. The current landlord, of course, does not have to obey a petition. Even if Standee's rises from the ashes in a new location across the street, as TheFemGeek indicates it might, it cannot be what it was. The character, the unique ambience, the delightful weirdness, all of that will be lost forever. You have nine days to experience it again, or perhaps, for your first time. There will not be a next time. UPDATE: TheNeighborhoodFirst.org will be sponsoring "Thank You" cards all day Tuesday, December 29, 2009. Please join them in showing appreciation for this well-liked neighborhood establishment. Stop by to share a memory and sign a card. Click for details.... Standee's Diner 1133 West Granville Avenue Chicago, IL 60660-2012 Phone: 773-743-5013 RELATED: http://www.theneighborhoodfirst.org/ Video: Standee's - a nice little video by James Matthess Video: Standees Diner, Chicago (Medill Slideshow) Video: Writer Jack Bess talks about the closing of the Uptown Diner (Feb. 2006) Leave a Comment * Conservative T-Shirts * Follow CNB on Twitter * RSS Feed