When I returned to campus last semester and walked around the Granville Red Line stop, I was slightly distraught when I saw that one of my favorite brunch spots, M. Henrietta, had closed.Henrietta had been my go-to brunch spot for the past year (no worries, there’s another location in Andersonville), but I noticed the building was being renovated and that a restaurant called Revival Social Club would be taking its place. I told myself I would try it after it opened in November, but didn’t make it there until this past week.
I’ll admit I was skeptical when I decided to try Revival Social Club. After its opening, I read several unfavorable Yelp reviews that complained about poor service and hit or miss menu items.
However, I wanted to try it for myself, and I’m glad I did.
I went with a friend for lunch around 12:45, so it wasn’t too crowded, but there were still a good number of patrons. After we were seated, our waiter was very attentive and took our drink orders immediately.
Henrietta had a bright, cozy, but somewhat cluttered feeling with tables packed into every available space. Revival Social Club has truly converted the space. It has a very open feel with natural lighting from large windows, sleek metal furniture and exposed brick walls. There’s a regular bar near the front and an additional one in the middle of the restaurant with power outlets that make the space work-friendly.
Revival Social Club serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lunch menu also includes breakfast items, so my friend and I could choose between various egg and off-the-griddle dishes or more typical lunch options such as soup, salads and sandwiches, including a grilled cheese with smoked gouda and tomatillo jam ($11) or the “sloppy jose” ($12) –– a take on the classic with braised short rib and poblano mustard.
When eating at a new restaurant, I typically try something that looks unique to the joint. That’s why I was drawn to the coffee-crusted beef tacos ($10), which included coffee-crusted beef tenderloin, espresso barbeque sauce, a pickled pepper medley and salsa verde.
My friend chose the lemon pepper salmon sandwich ($13), which came on sesame brioche and had chilled and flaked salmon, spinach and tomato aioli.We both chose fries as our side, but other options included a side salad, dill-fingerling potato salad or pickled pepper medley.
Our food came out about 10 minutes after we ordered, which exceeded my expectations. My plate included three tacos with corn tortillas, and the fries were served in a metal cup instead of just dumped haphazardly on the plate.
Although I couldn’t taste any coffee flavor in either the meat or the barbeque sauce, the tacos were still flavorful. The meat was smoky and tender, the barbeque sauce was sweet and spicy, and the tangy flavor and crunch of the pickled peppers balanced everything out. It was a filling portion, but perfect for lunch.
The salmon’s fresh taste, along with the light, lemony aoili made my friend’s sandwich a success. Despite the sandwich’s name, it didn’t taste like it had tomatoes on it, so this was somewhat disappointing We both agreed that it was a nice spot for an occasional lunch, but was a bit expensive to make regular trips on a college budget. Aside from the fact that both of our dishes were missing flavors that were in the menu descriptions, our meals were enjoyable and our server was friendly.
I would definitely go back to try the elevated grilled chicken sandwich ($11), which has grilled apple, manchego and prosciutto on it. Another option that looks appealing is the curried chicken pot pie with seasonal vegetables and a puff pastry crust ($13).
I would also consider going back just to try one of their specialty coffee drinks and to enjoy the atmosphere. Even though it may appear super fancy on the outside, it would be perfectly acceptable to go in just for coffee. They have a full espresso bar and offer drinks such as the “honey badger latte” ($4.25) with cinnamon and honey, or a nutella latte ($4.25) with nutella and a sea salt caramel drizzle.
While there are other cafes with similar offerings in Chicago that have more consistent menus and better pricing, I appreciate having a place like Revival Social Club close to campus. It’s a multi-purpose spot: perfect for a meal when you want a nicer dining experience or for when you want to grab a coffee and catch up with a friend or study.
Revival Social Club’s webpage says that it wanted to create a gathering place for residents of Edgewater to meet for good food and conversation, and it has certainly provided a spot to do so.
The restaurant is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m.-12 a.m., and Sunday 8 a.m.-10 p.m..