Elliott's (there is some dispute over whether it is one t or two on the end) has been reviewed here before, but it's been awhile, and Richard's kids' didn't actually eat anything except French fries, so I thought I'd give it another go.
16 South 2nd Street
After Team Oster's downtown photo shoot a couple of weeks ago, I gave Chip, our friend and photographer (who was working for free), the option of having lunch on me anywhere he wanted. He chose Elliott's.
Elliott's is a favorite lunch spot of ours for several reasons. It's a no-frills, fast & cheap place to eat with the added benefit of incredibly tasty food. It's also owned by an awesome guy named Helario Reyna, who you may know as "Harry" from the Madison Kwik Chek. I like Harry because he clips my articles and tapes them to his wall and always smiles and says hi when I come in. Chip likes Harry because he (is really cool and) gives him free goodies not on the menu, like crab rangoon and baklava. He even burns CDs for Chip!
I thought Elliott's was a great place to take the monkeys (Satchel, 7, and Jiro, 5) because they love hamburgers and dress your own baked potato bars. (They also needed to be disabused of the notion that Danver's is the best restaurant on earth.) Warren has eaten at Elliott's numerous times (a group of us used to go every Monday) and is a fan of the gyro. I love the Santa Fe, a spicy chicken wrap. It was a win-win (win-win-win).
We arrived around 12:30, which is usually a very busy time for Elliott's, but with the Christmas holiday looming large, we lucked out and were able to walk right up and place our order. Everything is basically a la carte, and there's no kids' menu, so I just ordered everything everyone wanted without putting much thought into it.
The burgers and potatoes came right out, so I tended to the monkeys' needs while Chip and Warren secured us a table. Satchel and Jiro attacked the salad bar and instructed me to pile their potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon bits. (Oh to have the metabolism of a monkey!) By the time I had their potatoes in order, and their hamburgers dressed with ketchup and pickles, everyone else's food was ready. As we headed to the table to join Chip and Warren, I noticed some double takes--and a few smiles--from the other patrons. You don't see monkeys in Elliott's too often. It's a very business-y type crowd for the most part.
Photos by Chip Chockley
I was barely half-way through with my sandwich when the monkeys were ready for another round of toppings. Plus, Satchel wanted water. I ended up donating the rest of my sandwich to Warren, who had no problem polishing off his gyro, while I ran back and forth from the table to the counter to the salad bar and back again. (There is a guy, Boo, who will refill your drink, and who only works for tips. He came by during the latter part of the meal and saved me from getting up yet again.)
Once back at the table, it occurred to me that the kids would never be able to polish off a whole potato and a whole burger each. (The burgers are pretty hearty.) I then realized that I could have saved about $8 by letting them share one of each. But I didn't let it get me down. Instead I offered to eat half of Satchel's burger, and Jiro's too.
Soon Harry came out with a plate of baklava and a plate of crab rangoon to complete our grub fest. (In the end, we had to get a to go bag. There was just too much food.)
Having come hungry and having been waited on by their very own waitress (me), the monkeys stayed seated and fit in just fine with the usual crowd. They liked watching the courtroom drama on the TV hanging from the ceiling and laughing at the old caricatures on the walls. They were really quite delightful. It made me definitely want to bring them back again. Maybe for breakfast. I've always wanted to try Elliott's breakfast.