JOLIET – Stay home and cook? Go out and not cook?
That was the question one night when I was home with the kids, picky eaters, both of them, and both too old for the kid's menu. Plus, I was working with a tight budget.
It looked like I couldn't avoid cooking – not unless I was up for a castigation from the person who shared my bank account.
But then I remember what a buddy had told me about Thayer Brothers over on Ruby Street.
"Great prices and great homemade soup," he had said.
And the owner is the mother of former Chicago Bears player Tom Thayer. I found a menu online. Lots of choices, most of them kid-friendly. Reasonable prices, too.
Appetizers ranged from $4.95 for onion rings to $7.50 for nachos. Salads ranged from $7.50 for Chunky Chicken Salad to $8.50 for taco salad.
Deli sandwiches: $6.95 (tuna, homemade chicken salad or hard salami), $7.50 (ham) and $7.95 (roast or corned beef or breast of turkey). Cheese is $1.50 extra and so are fries, but get this: all deli sandwiches are served with pasta salad, potato chips, kosher dill pickle and Thayer Bros. Sauce.
There's also a variety of entrees, daily specials and a great kids menu: Hot Diggity Dog for $3.50 up to $5.25 for a Yum Yum Burger (not kidding, that's really the name) or three chicken strips. Plus chips or fries.
Good enough for me. We piled into the the car and headed over to Thayer Bros. Annie herself greeted us with a low-key, neighborly type of friendless. While a server seated us, took our drink orders and brought menus, Annie chatted to us as if we'd known her our entire lives.
The menus before us varied a bit from the one I saw online and neither one was current. Meaning items such as the Western Fried Chicken Dinner, half a chicken and sides for $8.50 ($1.50 for all-white meat) (which was still on the menu) was no longer available, which one of my kids really wanted.
This kid was so disappointed, the server offered to make a chicken strip dinner. Same food, just strips. Since I was in the mood for chicken, I made that two. My other kid ordered a poor boy.
The chicken dinners came with tossed salad, cup of soup, baked potato, or hand-cut fries and freshly baked bread. Two of us ordered salads, one ordered chicken noodle soup (cream of mushroom was the other soup that day).