The Palace Grill in Chicago

Palace Grill Restaurant

“The puck drops ….” “The Golden Jet” “Cold steel on ice” “He shoots, he scores!!”

These are all phrases that conjure up exciting images or memories of hockey seasons long gone by…

Recapturing the glory of hockey legends of the past and blending it (with the present) into a terrific restaurant experience is no easy task; yet the Palace Grill (at 1408 W. Madison St.) manages to accomplish this (under the guidance and direction of  sincere and engaging George Lemperis). When entering the main dining area, something remarkable catches your eye: a fascinating collection of red autographed jerseys adorn the back wall. Displayed directly under three rare black-n-white photos of live hockey action in the 1960’s (at the Chicago Stadium) is a Hawks jersey signed by none other than Bobby Hull, “The Golden Jet.”

Just being there, I suddenly have flashbacks to vivid images of the past: standing outside the Chicago Stadium (on Tues., May 8th, 1990) and being able to hear the deafening roar of the crowd during the national anthem, or watching Mario Lemieux skate around the stadium with the Stanley Cup hoisted proudly over his head on (Mon., June 1st, 1992) etc… Standing next to and talking to a faded looking Chris Chelios at night, in the rain, at Wrigley Field during a Springsteen concert (in September 2012) does not hold a candle to these priceless memories from years ago on W. Madison St.

The unique interior of this refreshing diner offers an astonishing spectrum of fantastic Blackhawks memorabilia; whether you’ve followed the team since the 1950’s or last week, it will gain your undivided attention- before, during, and after your delicious meal. Everywhere I turned I found myself time and again catching glimpses (in my mind’s eye) and re-igniting feelings of hockey highlights of the past, present, and possible bright future…

Names like Toews, Kane, and Crawford are outstanding talent from which future dynasties can be built; along with a charismatic, inspirational coach and 20,000 screaming fans at every game who are symbolic of the city’s strong support of this hockey team who won the Stanley Cup back in 1938. Living up to the legacy of teams of the past- 1961, 2010, etc. is a very tall order; however the current cast and ccrew of this particular skating club has done an amazing job, re-kindling excitement on ice during this strike shortened season.

Somehow I feel like the city needs more places like this; places where people can escape from their everyday routines, indulge in their favorite food or drink and re- live sports memories (that give them so much joy) even for a few moments on a Sunday afternoon.  But an oasis like the Palace Grill is far and few between (which makes it all the more appealing and significant) as we become a society that’s seemingly brainwashed on nationwide McDonald’s and Domino’s pizza franchises.

So whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, make the Palace Grill your favorite destination and as you’re walking out the door with hockey memories once again vibrant and alive, keep in mind the immortal slogan of the Chicago Stadium: “Remember the Roar!!”


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