The Charcoal Oven Restaurant

4.3
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151 Reviews
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$30 and under
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American
This 67-year-old gem (longest continuously run restaurant in Skokie, IL.) The Charcoal Oven is worth visiting, not just for it"s great food, but for a nostalgic taste of what restaurants used to be. The Charcoal Oven is 100 percent authentic. The original retro neon sign out front, dining room, and vintage bar all harken back to an era of supper clubs, classic American food, and big powerful automobiles.
Today the Charcoal Oven enjoys a resurgence under the direction of founder Phillip Georgouses’s daughter Maria and her husband Rich. Under Maria & Rich, the Restaurant has been carefully restored to be the original north shore supper club that Phil had originally envisioned.
What 151 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.2
service
3.9
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Quiet
50% of people would recommend it to a friend
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C
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent dinner. Great atmosphere.

AH
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service was excellent especially the chocolate bunt cake

KK
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

I had the greek chicken that was good but my husband had the shrimp which was just ok and way too expensive for what he got.

OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely wonderful! The nicest people and most delicious food! We will definitely be back when visiting our daughter!

T
Chicago
119 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

A little dated and musty inside, but I love this place! A throwback to the old supper clubs of the 60s. Terrific selection of seafood, meat and greek specialties which include a pasticcio starter, salad with homemade dressing (get the Denmark blue cheese!), a a starch and veggie of the day served family style. Terrific service, excellent cocktail and wine selection and don't miss dessert--the pie is to die for.

F
Chicago
19 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 3

Very disappointed. Spotty service with two servers seeming to get in each other’s way. Took long time to get entrees after salad and bread. Food was mediocre at best. Fish was tasteless and steaks over done. May be because server never asked how steaks should be cooked. Homemade chips were good as was blue cheese dressing. Green beans were oily and lacked a describable taste. Pricey for what you get. Servers and bartender had sours faces. Sign on entry door that the restaurant is full and reservations only has been there for years. Certainly not full. May have been a reason we were last there about 20 years ago. Too many good restaurants in the Skokie-Evanston-Wilmette area. Pass this one up.

C
Memphis
3 reviews
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 4

Open Table has it as an "American, Steakhouse or Greek" restaurant, but in reality, it's purely Greek. Nothing special about any dish that we had - salads had too much dressing, pork chop was severely dry and the "best" Greek chicken (per the waitress) was mediocre at best (and dry). It was a great, quiet spot for conversation and the atmosphere was really nice. Staff was very pleasant and the drinks were perfect.

RR
Chicago
16 reviews
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Appreciated the history flowing from every corner. Old photos and trinkets lent to the vintage ambience. The food was delicious and a great value. Service was really lacking but I’ll give this restaurant another try. Hopefully the owner/server will pay more attention to her customers.

DL
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Good food, good service, no wine list.

LE
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Lovely restaurant, good fresh food, entrees include appetizer, salad and sides. Nice and quiet so great for conversation.

S
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a wonderful time! The food was amazing and we loved it. We loved the atmosphere, the people and the place itself.

MN
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 1

I first ate here in the early 60s with my parents. This dining establishment has been open, on and off, since ‘49.
If you like musty, dark and seedy, then this is “ your place”
The service was friendly and ok.
Lots of lighting that was not working, apparently.
There was a party of 20, eating, other than my wife and myself. Our entree was served about an hour after we ordered it.
The food was tasty. Prepared in butter and garlic and breading. Old school and extremely filling.
It’s too bad that the carpeting and the booths are probably 50 years old. With some decor and cleanliness adjustments, this could be a “go to”
dinner spot, again.

P
Denver
8 reviews
Dined on June 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been going to the Charcoal Oven for 15 years. As always the food, especially the fish, was delicious. Rich and Maria always provide the most personable service

SR
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great meal and service! The blue cheese dressing was the best. Walleye was cooked perfectly. Dessert, cherry pie with vanilla ice cream! Outstanding!

SR
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service and food was fantastic as usual. Rick and Maria are the best! Love Charcoal Oven.

DW
Chicago
85 reviews
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Excellent food and service from a great family owned business. We have been going for years and it never disappoints.

HM
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 2

OMG! The "not changed in 60 years" thing is getting old. You can get MUCH better Greek food at Psistaria and nicer atmosphere. If you want really great steaks, and seafood go to EJ's. Way better. Had mediocre Greek chicken, cooked to death green beans, room temperature cottage fries. Everyone wonders how much longer they will be in business. I sincerely hope they close soon. Avoid.

a
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

A throw back to yesteryear. They give you a good amount of food here. The rolls were piping hot and excellent. The salad had romaine, not the frufru lettuce my husband abhors . The Main dishes were generous. I had the scampi and it was excellent. A nice change of pace. I would definitely return.

S
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very good food, excellent value, they bring you an appetizer, then a salad, then they have family style potatoes and vegetables with the meal. The appetizer that night was a 1/4 serving of pastichio. The house dressing is a creamy garlic, delicious, but potent. Do not be put off by the decor, it is very old school, in an authentic way. Very quiet, the place was packed before the theater and we could hear each other perfectly. Highly recommend.

OT
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

MY BIRTHDAY. Number 89

VQ
Chicago
63 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 1

While our food was decent , overall we were disappointed with the experience. Given the classic dinner menu and prices, we expect the setting to be a lot classier and with excellent service. When we arrived there were only two other tables, yet it took a while just to get our menus, then a significantly long time to get our actual dishes. Three servers/wait staff attended to us at different times, so we were never sure who to request things from especially with the long wait. They seemed disorganized, although we thought they were trying to serve customers well, it just wasn’t working. The setting itself is dark and a bit dingy, no windows and very old designs in the dining room; dated and worn out. Two of us had Greek chicken and two had walleye. Both were good. The sides were solid if basic (potatoes and zucchini) as were the salads that accompanied all dishes.

H
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We enjoyed our evening there. The food was tasty and we could make conversation and hear well.

CM
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cant go wrong for great food, cozy atmosphere. Recommend the walleye and lamb chops. Great salad dressings and free appetizer.

BZ
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My wife and I enjoy the Charcoal Oven very much. Old school ambiance. Great quality food.

Highly recommended.

OT
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 3

It’s always empty.

OT
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Delightful restaurant that met our expectations. Fish (skate) was exceptionally good and Shrimp Scampi outstanding.

J
Chicago
22 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a classic old school restaurant. Food is excellent and family owned second generation proprietors take great pride in their work. Everyone should go here at least a few times a year.

F
Charleston
6 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Went here with my manager for a 1 on 1 dinner meeting. It was -40 degrees that night so we were the only ones in the dining area. Amazing food and the bartender kept coming over to tell jokes at the end of the night. Definitely will come back!

L
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

We made reservations not knowing the restaurant or the area, but driving from an hour away, we wanted something different from the usual options. Quaint place, fantastic decor with tufted u-shaped booths and tables with some mismatched chairs. Cozy nook had leaded glass windows and larger red booths. The food was tasty, a bit pricey. Servers (owners maybe) were pleasant and professional. Would’ve appreciated some background music...wondered when the upright piano gets played. Still happy, however, that we chose this location.

MB
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

New Year’s Eve dinner. Special menu only. Prices, I think, were higher than usual but included appetizer, small tossed salad, green beans and mashed potatoes. Portions of everything were small, except for the entrees. Service appeared to be provided by not their usual staff. We asked for more vegetables and potatoes, as they were served family style. We got more potatoes but not more beans and the person that brought them said she felt the potatoes were a bit “watery.” We found that odd for someone that worked there. Getting iced tea or coffee refills was difficult. The coffee drinker only received his original cup. We ordered dessert, chocolate lava cake with ice cream, which was good. We shared that so each person got one forkful. Water was refilled promptly. We were told the restaurant has been there over 70 years. The bill with two beers, four entrees and one dessert with tip came to about $200. For NYE, probably a pretty good deal.

K
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 1

Given a table with no light; there at 6pm and they were out of lobster; bartender grumpy because my sister returned her drink because it was too salty; one waitress for entire restaurant; only one serving of a bread roll; and ribs were full of fat. Been living in area since 1967 and had never tried this place. My curiosity got the best of me. Not worth the price.

SK
1 review
Dined on December 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the last great supper clubs! Excellent food, beer and wine. Quiet ambiance. I have been there several times and the food and service is always top notch.

JA
Chicago
22 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Maria and Rich have done a fabulous job of preserving Maria’s family legacy of The Oven. Consistently good food, wonderful old world supper club feel. We love the Oven!!

SW
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful time on a first visit will visit again
Just know they do big business with north shore theater

k
Chicago
12 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A lovely trio of ladies took care of us. Everything was wonderful from food to ambiance.

B
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

We have been driving by this place for years. Now we have been there I’m sure we won’t be back. It definitely has that supper club feel, which we love, however, the only person that seemed attentive was the woman that helped clear dishes and fill water. Service was slow and the owner (man) didn’t seem to care about helping us with the completely detail-less menu. Greek chicken was great. Pork chops were small and thin lamb was nothing special. Prices were very high. Not very welcoming when you walk in.

OT
Chicago
24 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

The owners and waitstaff are very friendly. Service was very good. Nice, quiet, very supper clubby. The food was plentiful and the home made chips were very good. The food itself was ok. Not bad, not great and pretty pricey.

F
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Enjoyable for our party of 10, intimate and very kind staff. Not a kid friendly menu, but they accommodated as best as they could. Pricey, but large portions and very tasty. Service slow, but staff attentive.

t
Chicago
45 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 3ambience 1

Place is old and out of date. Food was good. Had wine but no wine menu - very strange presentation.
Wouldn't recommend.

FS
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

old school supper club. loved it as it brought me memories. food was good. be patient have a relaxing drink.

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