It's a common reverse Walter Mitty fantasy to imagine weekending in an Airstream trailer. Dinners are al fresco under striped awnings, surrounded by washtub planters full of flowers that muffle whirring two-cylinder engines skimming by. Tabletops fold into the wall after meals. Friendships are new, but seem already tested, like a good pair of boots. It's an uncomplicated scenario, just like dining at C&M Galley Kitchen in Stratford Hills.
This South Side trailer-park love child of a restaurant is owned by Chris DiLauro and Manny Mendez, a duo that knows how to make diners happy at their places in the Fan, Bacchus and Kuba Kuba. The wine list is short and serviceable, nibbles are plentiful and taps numbering in the teens guarantee a happy hour. Galley, shorthand for the marriage of menus and initials (C & M — get it?), is the sort of place that everyone will like. Unless they hate casual American, Italian and Latin cuisine. Or Airstream trailers, which the restaurant resembles, especially when they've raised the awnings.
Dishes are all over the map, reflecting the differences in the two chefs' cooking styles. There's a quick paella that will satisfy a craving for the dish, but won't have you begging for the recipe, and an excellent Cuban press sandwich, piled high with pork and oozing yellow mustard. Single orders of decadent pasta alla carbonara and umami-rich spaghetti and meatballs serve two. The Richmond standard, crab cakes, is well done here and comes with interesting sides, like Brussels sprouts studded with golden raisins. Chili and cornbread, cheeseburgers and espresso, along with breakfast all day, defy anyone to say these four little words: There's nothing to eat. Try the baked polenta and eggs.
C&M Galley Kitchen
2805 Hathaway Road, 323-1117 or search Galley on Facebook.
Hours: Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to close (usually 11 p.m to midnight); Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m to close (usually 11 p.m. to midnight)
Prices: Lunch and dinner, $3 to $13; dinner specials to $18