The Piccadilly at Manhattan has a long and storied history, serving up solid, homestyle fare since 1901 (its current incarnation re-opened in the mid-2000s). It's a bit off the beaten path, nestled in a largely residential neighborhood in Maplewood, and easy to miss if you're not in-the-know. Luckily, we got wind of this venerable eatery and finally got to make a visit recently.

Walking into The Piccadilly, you can't help but feel at home. The space feels exactly the way a neighborhood bar and grill should be: comfortable, homey and inviting. During our time there, we noted several regulars coming in, taking their seats unassisted and ordering up "the usual," always a good sign. We especially liked the funky decor touches, like the classic album covers under glass on the table tops (we understand the Bob Dylan table is much in demand).

Lots of traditional apps are on the Piccadilly bill of fare, from toasted raviolis to wings. We settled on an order of the Shrimp Jon Jon ($8), jumbo shrimp breaded and fried with a dipping sauce similar to 1000 Island dressing, sweet with a bit of spice. It was a good, solid beginning--nothing fancy to be sure, but plenty tasty.

The rest of the menu is rife with all sorts of classic favorites, from steaks to pot pies to pasta, along with a good selection of sandwich options, like the Patty Melt ($11), a juicy slab of ground beef on marbled rye and served with a side of fries. To balance out the carbs, we added a side of Steamed Broccoli ($2). Burgers have certainly supplanted the good ol' Patty Melt in the public consciousness, and there's a definite dearth of them on menus around town. That's too bad, because the combo of rye bread, cheese and beef is every bit as delectable as its more popular bun-clad cousin. The Patty Melt at Piccadilly is proof positive--definitely one of our favorite recent sandwich experiences, especially when paired with a glass of Schlafly Pale Ale ($5)

It was a toss-up for us between the meatloaf and the fried chicken--two of our all-time comfort-food favorites--but in the end, the bird won out. We ordered the Half Fried Chicken ($10), featuring pieces of both light and dark meat along with a hearty helping of mashed potatoes and green beans (all white-meat chicken is available for $13). The chicken was juicy, tender and as close to perfectly cooked as possible. On the outside, the batter was a consistent golden brown with no burnt bits. The only add we'd suggest is a bit of black pepper to both the batter and the gravy on the potatoes, both of which lacked some spice.

Lunch also is available at The Piccadilly, and there's a bit of outdoor seating on the attached deck/patio for those who like dining al fresco. For classic home-style cooking in a laid-back atmosphere, The Piccadilly at Manhattan is a fine choice.

-- 7201 Piccadilly Ave., 646-0016,

More Food & Dining articles.