Guns, Guys, and Meat with Jack: TGI Fridayís, Oak Park


Posted: February 18, 2003 at 16:17:41

After Saturdayís anti-war rally, I had some time to kill, so I headed over to the pistol range at the Sportsmen's Club in Lyons, where for about 40 bucks you can sling lead for an hour and a half. Me, I prefer the Colt .357 Magnum. These young guys go ga-ga for the Glocks, Sigs and other 9 autos theyíve seen in (mostly bad) movies. Me, I donít need to squeeze off 12 shots in less than 10 seconds. Hell, if you canít drop your target with the "one shot," then you shouldnít really being carrying a weapon in the first place. Also, I hate plastic cannons: too jumpy. Give me nickel-plated metal with a big handle and Iím one happy handgun freak.

So after shooting at picture-targets of Osama Bin Laden, we had fully released the inner child in the cowboy outfit -- but more importantly, we had built up an appetite. Gunplay piques my hunger. I admit itís not the same thing as, say, raging through the underbrush with a bow and arrow to run down dinner, or not even, I suppose, like solemnly swinging an ax and slaughtering a steer for Sunday supper, but thereís something about handling a lethal weapon that, I donít know, it just makes me hungry, mouth watery, anxious for a feed.

The obvious option, Saturday afternoon, headed home: TGIFs in Oak Park, which has going for it VIís assessment that it is the "worst location for the worst chain" in, I guess, the world.

What I like about the place are the many dishes made with Jack Daniels as a key ingredient. Iím not that keen on JD sauce on fish (which they also have in abundance, even on shrimp Ė which seems like a waste of seafood and good whisky), but with steak, itís a natural winner. I go with the 12 oz. Jack Danielís Steak. The smoky tang of the liquor balances the rich fat of the meat, elegant in its simplicity; itís probably the best thing on the menu.

The steaming meat, dripping brownish red onto a baked potato, mingled with the gunmetal blue nose-hair sting of cordite coming off my trigger finger Ė man, that aroma, you just canít duplicate it, no how, no way. Itís the smell ofÖ actually itís the smell of me at the top of the food chain, looking down, flames shooting up from the grill and licking my sides, the dinner bell ringing in my head, and Iím roaring like a madman, insane with appetite, "Fill me up world, I am one hungry citizen, and I say itís time to EAT!"

Anyhow, after hours of shooting and dining, we were in no shape to drive home, so I called The Wife, who picked me up and put me to bed. I started dozing off right about the crack of morning in America, and I had this semi-waking dream of Charlton Heston and Jane Fonda, smooching in the surf, kind of like of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in "From Here to Eternity."

Later that day, my daughters made me take the Osama target (with many bulleyes, I might add) off the refrigerator Ė they said it was "sick" and "scary." Women Ė Iíll never figure them out.

TGI Fridays

401 N. Harlem

Oak Park, IL 60301


(Free valet parking!)