Things don’t seem to have gone well for Logan Square's Red Lion Grill—originally to be named the Red Lion Pub and Grill—in its first few months. First it turned out that the Red Lion Pub in Lincoln Park, which closed six years ago, was reopening (plans to rebuild the Lincoln Park Red Lion were announced in the summer of 2013, but presumably the owners of the Logan Square Red Lion were unaware). Almost as soon as the flashing neon sign on Armitage went up, the words "Pub and" were covered by black plastic, and so it remains: the place is now officially the Red Lion Grill.
When it opened in July the restaurant hadn’t yet received its liquor license, a status quo that also remains unchanged a couple months later. It’s a little disconcerting to walk into a place that's clearly modeled after a British pub and not be able to order a pint (plus the atmosphere is a little too cafeteria-like to be cozy). But the Red Lion is BYO for now, which isn't so bad: Foodsmart is right across the street, and our server brought us not only a bucket of ice for our beers, but also huge frosted mugs to pour them into.
The menu hews pretty closely to the classics of British pub grub, some of which overlap with standard American bar food: wings, potato skins, cheese sticks, chicken tenders, and burgers (including several veggie burgers). There's also shepherd's pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash, and on the weekends, beef Guinness. Fries (or chips, as they like to call them) were crispy and well seasoned, better than your average fried potato. But the thin pastry surrounding the sausage roll was limp, no match for the greasy sausage inside; the mango chutney didn’t help cut the fattiness either.
Entrees were a little more successful. A steak pie arrived sadly underseasoned and bland, but a hefty dose of salt and pepper improved it exponentially, and the pastry shell was crisp and flaky. Scrod almondine was the dish I'd go back for, though: the sauce was buttery but not greasy, and the sliced almonds provided the right flavor and texture to balance the tender fish. Both dishes came with a painstakingly arranged salad, which wasn't bad—but next time I'll ask if I can substitute fries instead. Red Lion Grill, 2906 W. Armitage, 773-661-1535