[Photograph: Josh Conley]

Sure, you can go to Glenn's Diner and "sea things" their way—as the sign out front so cleverly beckons. They do indeed have most anything that swam at one point vying for your appetite on the big chalkboard. But if you're not feeling like seafood (or retro enough for the all-you-can-eat cereal), the meatloaf sandwich dream ($9.99) makes an excellent alternative.

Despite the threat/promise of needing a small entourage of napkins required to eat this, the sandwich shows up looking like it's about to drive you to prom. Tidy, clean-cut, with nary a dribble of beefy, fatty goodness on its collar. It even wears a corsage of lettuce and tomatoes.

But this is meatloaf, and it's all about the meat. This loaf is moist and tender, and gets nicely crusted up on both sides. It is hearty without being too heavy, with onions and peppers shining through. The lettuce and tomato are absolutely optional, not adding much taste-wise or texturally. But the Texas toast is the perfect choice to house this bad boy, and I like for a change that it's not toasted. Biting into the pillowy expanse is like burning through the atmosphere (in a good way) before crash landing on Planet Meatloaf. I suggest you plant a flag on it.

Glenn's Diner

1820 West Montrose Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613 (map)

Josh Conley is single-handedly trying to re-introduce the verb beget into the everyday lexicon. He traveled to Easter Island one Christmas out of sheer irony. He excises a hefty syntax, and shamelessly promotes the color orange. His wife begat him two small children that he regularly belittles HERE.


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