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Elgin Public House getting TV exposure for Sloppy Joe dish

ElgPublic House owner Greg Shannwith Sloppy Joe Sloppy Joe Plus. | Mike Danahey/Sun-Times Media

Elgin Public House owner Greg Shannon with a Sloppy Joe and a Sloppy Joe Plus. | Mike Danahey/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 17, 2014 6:54AM

ELGIN — The Elgin Public House is a relaxed kind of place downtown, so it’s only fitting that one of its dishes made the mix to be presented on an episode of WGN-TV’s “Chicago’s Best” that will focus on comfort food when it debuts at 10 p.m. Sunday.

Comfort foods are those hearty, filling meals laced with a twinge of nostalgia and usually a heaping or two of calories that help folks get through tough winters.

The EPH beefcake looking good for the cameras were the pub’s $7.50 Sloppy Joe (served with cottage fries and pickles) and the $9.95 Sloppy Joe Plus, which comes with two bacon strips and cheese sauce (along with the fries and pickles).

“It was a surprise to me,” pub owner Greg Shannon said of being picked to be on the foodie show.

Shannon heard that a regular had recommended the dish, which led to “Chicago’s Best” co-host Elliott Bambrough and a crew coming out to the 219 E. Chicago St. eatery about three weeks ago and spending almost five hours getting material for the five-minute segment. Shannon’s staff wound up making two batches of Sloppy Joes to be used for various shots.

Shannon said his mom used “to make stuff out of a can” for Sloppy Joes. His own version includes higher-grade ground beef, onions, pepper, celery, horseradish, chili sauce, and homemade barbecue sauce.

“This is good Sloppy Joe season,” Shannon said.

To mark the TV appearance, EPH will host a free-to-attend viewing party starting at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. It will feature Sloppy Joe slider-style samples, drink specials and prize giveaways.

Lest one think that EPH is only about comfort foods and typical pub grub, for six years Shannon has been hosting monthly dinners pairing dishes with either beer, whiskey or wine.

The sold-out event Tuesday included pan-seared pork belly; scallops with candied bacon; Thai coconut curry soup; braised beef Wellington; and a cake made with beer, Templeton Rye, salted caramel and fresh berries. Each dish was matched with a beer from Revolution, one of Chicago’s trendiest craft breweries.

The tab was $45 before tax and tip — a price point that Shannon said he tries to stay near for most of the dinners, which he limits to 45 to 60 guests.

Shannon’s next dinner will be Feb. 14, and each of six courses will include chocolate, be paired with wine, and might end with a martini.

As for being on TV, this will be the second WGN appearance for EPH in the last few months. Shannon said that last fall, customer Jaysin Osterkamp had sent a clip to WGN news that caught producers’ attention.

“He had a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt for his girlfriend (Andrea Tyler) that ended upstairs at our Pub 217, where he proposed to her,” Shannon said. People can link to proposal video at

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