Photos: Jeff Marini

If there were a statistic that measured PPSF—pleasure per square foot—Giant would be leading the league. Every inch of the narrow Logan Square storefront seems engineered for fun. A poster of a Shel Silverstein poem hangs on the wall, a Clash record plays on a vertical turntable, and the prompt and playful staff ushers diners through the meal with abundant winks and nods, allowing guests to get lost in the restaurant’s off-center nostalgia. To wit: crispy onion rings with chili salt and Parmesan, housemade rooster-shaped ravioli filled with ricotta and bacon, meaty slabs of pecan-smoked baby back ribs. Giant’s kitchen deploys minimal gimmickry, letting the ingredients smolder on the tongue. “Our philosophy is, ‘Buy happy food, don’t fuck it up,’ ” says Jason Vincent, the chef-partner. A festive 20-seat patio in back, added in 2017, seems intended to prove that Giant’s enthusiasm literally cannot be contained.

(Clockwise from top): tagliatelle; flatbread; uni shooters; brussels sprouts; baby back ribs; biscuits