Stanley’s Kitchen serves up comfort food in a family-friendly atmosphere

Known perhaps more for its nightly crowd of 20- and 30-somethings looking to mingle than for family time, Stanley’s in Lincoln Park is surprisingly kid-friendly for an early dinner in the back dining room, which boasts a tot-sized picnic table-and the food is the stuff kids dream of.

If you go

Stanley’s Kitchen and Tap

From toasted mac-n-cheese to cheeseburger sliders to Stanley’s famous tater tots and mashed potatoes, there are dozens of kid-friendly items on the expansive menu. For dessert, children go nuts for the fried chocolate chip cookies. Yes, fried cookies.

Stanley’s also serves dreamy comfort food for adults. My favorite is the southern fried chopped chicken salad, which I affectionately call “the world’s most fattening salad”-and it’s also quite possibly the world’s most delicious: an immense concoction of succulent chunks of fried chicken, cheddar and jalapeno jack cheeses, red onion, bacon, tomato and ranch dressing atop a mound of lettuce, technically making it a salad.

Grown-ups also will enjoy the platters served with mashed potatoes such as the bacon-laced meatloaf or hot open-faced turkey sandwich. Every burger is a standout, especially the Elvis, decked out with bacon, pimento cheese and country fried onions. And not only kids deserve dessert-indulge in the homemade apple pie topped with cinnamon ice cream. One warning: food coma is inevitable, so don’t plan anything too taxing after dinner.

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