Last Sunday I was planning on visiting Rip's Tavern in Ladd, Illinois for some chicken but by the time I arrived a line had formed and I didn't feel like waiting. Fortunately Rip's isn't the only game in town, as I would soon learn.
Welcome to Lanuti's
It might be difficult to see but directly below the rectangular Schlitz sign is an honest-to-goodness mechanical cash register...that's actually in use! The restaurant was last remodeled in 1941 and it's practically the same today, right down to some 70-year-old whiskey bottles that sit on the bar. The term "time capsule" comes to mind.
I ordered the 2-piece dark meat dinner, which comes with bread, coleslaw or salad (I declined both), and french fries. It took awhile for the chicken to arrive but when it did it was piping hot. On the left is an 8-oz. Schlitz (there's no mistaking that Lanuti's is a Schlitz joint) tap that cost me a whole dollar; the chicken was $6.
This was some of the best chicken I'd had in a long time. Not only was it freshly prepared and hot, but the meat was juicy without being too greasy and the skin was deliciously crisp; it reminded me a little bit of Nick's in Madison.
The owner (Marty) was working the bar while I was there and since it was only about 4pm and not yet very busy he was able to tell me a little bit about Lanuti's. He used to bartend there and eventually bought it from the granddaughter of the original owner, and she had actually been in the night before for dinner. And even though Lanuti's doesn't have a significant dress code to speak of he's always dressed in a shirt, slacks, and tie, and it fits with the atmosphere (including the big band music). Lanuti's gets my vote as a Cool Place and I'm definitely planning on stopping again when I get the chance.