Elijah Ferrian hits up the newest project from Gabe Boyer nestled into a low-key alcove in District 7. Boyer brings much needed American comfort food to the area, with a focus on delivery. Photos by Vinh Dao.
From the man that brought Saigon the ‘worst burger’ in town comes an unexpected, but absolutely welcome Chicago-themed neighbourhood joint packed to the gills with meaty sandwiches, dogs, and all things Chi-Town.
“When I took my wife to Chicago she loved all the food here.” Boyer says. “My wife is native Saigonese, and we saw this property [in District 7] and thought that with the current delivery market booming that not only would foreigners definitely love it, but that Vietnamese locals would love it as well. We saw this space and it had a total patio vibe to it, a lot like Chicago. Restaurants in the midwest put a premium on patio service.”
The space was formerly Moto Saigon bar. It was definitely a neighbourhood watering hole at the time, but now it is a full-service diner style restaurant. Its opening has been quiet, but Boyer has already had plenty of repeat business, and he really emphasised wanting it to be a place where folks that feel homesick for a nice chili dog, or Italian ice, can go to wrap themselves into a comfortable food-hug of familiarity.
Chicago-Style shaved Italian roast beef sandwich (VND150,000). Just order the “Italian beef”. This is the crown jewel of Windy City. Shaved Italian roast beef, house-made spicy giardiniera, sweet sautéed bell peppers, spicy Italian beef jus, served on French bread. For those that don’t know what the garnish of the gods, giardiniera, is – pickled vegetables mixed with oil and spice. Think the Italian version of the pickled veggies on a banh mi.
A perfect Philly cheesesteak (VND175,000), a Chicago dog (VND100,000) packed with relish, onions, sport peppers, and no ketchup (as it should be, but you can always add it yourself). A slew of appetisers all hovering under VND100,000, and vegetarians, don’t be shy. Windy City Diner has plenty of options for you. Grilled cheese on white or rye (VND100,000), mac and cheese fritters (VND85,000) and a handful of salads that can be made to order vegetarian.
Boyer features cocktails at VND100,000 and a spirits list, but focusses on providing draught craft beer at a killer price: VND40,000 a glass. Fuzzy Logic, Phat Rooster, and others will continue to rotate their kegs in. Oh, and everyday from 4 to 7pm there’s all you can drink Tiger for VND120,000.
“This is the place to come when you have that hankering for ‘back home’ American food.” Boyer smiles. “This is the place to come to show people that aren’t from America what ‘comfort food’ is. We make our own corned beef. Our own condiments. Our own pickles. Everything is made from scratch. Put off your flight for a month and hang out here. This is the hankering place. You want a Philly cheese steak? I’m your pusher man.”
Windy City Diner delivers on marketoi.com.