✰✰✰✰½ If you're looking for real food on the cheap, the word on the street is..."ask a cop." Sgt. Haynes is neither a chef nor a restaurant critic; he's a cop who simply tells it like it is.
The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats is fun all around. The restaurants mentioned in the book are organized "into five sections corresponding to the five areas of the Chicago Police Department." Each section includes extras like cop talk, detours, and streetwise sidebars. There are even a few recipes sprinkled throughout; you can bet that I'll be making the bacon candy in the near future.
Each restaurant entry includes an address, phone number, website (if available), type of cuisine, and a description. Additionally, the book includes an index and your very own police discount with $34.00 in coupons for some restaurants mentioned in the book. Finally, I especially loved the "mug shots" included in the "About the Authors" page...nice touch guys.
The Bottom Line: Part restaurant guide, part tour guide, and 100% fun; this book is easy to read and filled with anecdotes. I found the tongue-in-cheek format and witty banter between Sgt. Haynes and co-author Christopher Garlington to be highly entertaining. It's almost like Sgt. Haynes is giving readers a personal tour of the restaurants on his beat. The only thing that would have made the guide better would be a few photos. Also, the white print on black background used for the Streetwise sections was a little difficult to read. Highly recommended for both Chicagoans and tourists interested in finding the places with good, cheap food in Chicago. This would make a great birthday or Father's Day gift. Note: As an armchair traveler, I did not have the chance to visit all of these restaurants; nonetheless, it's simply an enjoyable read.
P.S. - I, for one, do hope the authors pursue writing The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Sweets.
Details: The Beat Cop's Guide to Chicago Eats by Sgt. David J. Haynes & Christopher Garlington. Paperback published by Lake Claremont Press in 2011. 150 p. ISBN: 978-189312172-0 Note: I received a complimentary Advance Reader's Edition from Lake Claremont Press in exchange for a review. This was made possible by the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing.
For more fun, visit the website: The Beat Cop's Guide. Looking for extra fun? Check out their show on BlogTalkRadio.