Formerly Cornelia's, the relaunch of this neighborhood darling keeps everything that was great about its former incarnation and throws out what was holding it back. Gone is the clutter and the crazy color scheme. Remaining are the piano and live music, and the fact that the place serves as a sophisticated refuge for those who need a break from the non-stop party on Halsted.
Also having stuck around, thankfully, are the wait staff, especially the bartenders, considered some of the friendliest in the neighborhood. Like most everything else here, it's generally agreed that they've only improved: They're happier because their customers are happier, because the customers are being served better food for a better price.
Most edibles here range from $5-15, and domestic beers are a steal at $3. Everything about Queens is geared toward your comfort: From the slow-cooked brisket entree served with a side of mashed potatoes, to the drink specials that don't take advantage of the fact that they're being served in a party neighborhood, to the welcoming staff.
Live music is performed three times a week on a grand piano, and there are always specials.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman