Chicago >Food & Dining > Pauline's
1754 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6064041.979912 -87.674185
Monday To Sunday From 07:00 AM To 03:00 PM
Neighborhoods: Far North Side, Edgewater
Not Recommended – Not recommended. Service was extremely slow, even though there were a couple empty tables. The space was tight. I was seated under the menu bin, and the waitress proceeded to drop a menu on my head. The food is nothing special, though the portion are decent - BUT BEWARE, they only accept cash. No signs on the door or menu, nor any mention by the waitress. "Conveniently" they have their own ATM machine (with a $2.50 surcharge) in the front of the restaurant. Not a bad scam: If 100 customers a day are surprised by the cash only policy and use the ATM, then a tidy $250 is pocketed on a daily basis. I would not recommend this place... there are many better choices in the neighborhood.
let me join the chorus! – thinking everyone deserves a second chance, we tried it again. breakfast food remains ok. how much harm can be done to a couple of eggs. however, the price is too high for the meal and front end staff is laconic bordering on rude. change the attitude of the waitstaff - maybe the waitstaff itself - and you have a viable alternative to m. henry.
Wow is it bad – We so wanted this place to become a regular breakfast joint for us. It's close, and the food is not that bad. But oh my the service. Its not that anyone was malicious, just inattentive and clueless. You wouldnt think you could mess up breakfast service, but they find a way. Its also dirty. Not in a quaint greasy spoon way but more in a "whats that stuff on my coffee cup sort of way".
I could go on and on but whats the point? Eating here is like playing breakfast roulette. Go at your own risk.
THE WORST SERVICE EVER! APPALLING! – Waited to be seated on a busy Sunday afternoon. Fine. Then waited a half hour for someone to take our drink order. After we received our drinks twenty minutes later, it was another forty-five minutes from then that we decided to get up and leave. The restaurant was half empty! We asked the hostess a couple times to please send over our waitress. We weren't the only ones complaining. Our waitress passed by us several times without even making eye contact. When we did get her attention she simply looked off into the distance and said, "I'll be right with you, ok?" and walked away. She was obviously inexperienced, but they were not short on staff. It seemed like thirty other people were milling about ignoring us. Will never go back and will discourage others from doing the same.
Terrible – The worst part about this place is the service. It isn't listed on here, but they do carry outs. One time I called to place an order for carry out and at first the person who answered the phone hung up on me. Then my finance tried calling to place the order and was told to "hold on." They put the phone down and walked away without putting it on hold for around 10 minutes. We finally hung up on our side, because we could hear people talking and laughing in the background. Even if you dine in, the service isn't much better. If the food was better I would recommend this place, but the food is average and the service is terrible. After the last incident, I don't plan on going back again.
BEWARE AND AVOID friends – WHAT a waste. Being dirty and decorated from a resale shop does not make a space retro or kitschy. Rude staff ordering people in a small space not to stand in window and block the light. Instead they have people standing over diners while they are eating. The people standing by/over us were covered in pet hair...coughed...talked loudly and used race-ist profane language. 3 different staff people asked us if we wanted coffee, we ended up with 6 cups on the table, 2 of which they spilled on us. The food was marginal at best, but served cold.
The manager/woman with the eyeshadow was too busy to talk to us, so we paid and left. BEWARE...unless dirty dining surroundings, and an overwhelming sense of "kitsch" is your preferred cuisine experience, bypass this joint for a real diner with gracious staff/owners.
Best coffee in a diner, great food and service – Trying to be a traveller (and NOT a tourist) makes me seek out these neighborhood spots when I travel. And this is quite literally a neighborhood spot. After getting off the 22-Clark St. bus and heading west, I thought that there couldn't be restaurant here...it's all residential neighborhood. But out of the tree-lined streets is a small commercial lot and a diner -- Pauline's. I first read about this place while seeking out breakfast places in Chicago on chowhound.com.
Paulines is a small place with great food. We went on a Saturday morning, but got there around 8:30 or 9:00am. The place was only half full (it was full and line was just beginning to form when we left.) The coffee was out of this world. I must have told my wife, "This is the best coffee" at least half a dozen times.
We both ordered the eggs, potatoes and meat plate. Everything was terrific. I can see why this is a popular spot. Waitress Maria had no problem substituting a biscuit for toast for my wife. (She seemed to know a lot of people that came in, as if they were regulars.)
This seems to be a 100% locals place (which I love when I find them...it's like I'm getting in on the 'real' Chicago.) I couldn't pick out any other tourists (although my wife and I probably stuck out like a sore thumb!) There are lots of poor reviews on this site related to service. We had a great experience and looking at the other folks in the restaurant, they were having a good experience, too. Maybe the trick is getting there before the crowd. If the service were really that poor, I wouldn't expect lines out the door every weekend as others have attested to.
We took the northbound 22-Clark St. bus all the way from out hotel in river north, however it's probably much faster to take a red-line train and catch the 22 further up (like at Belmont or Addison.) But the bus ride up Clark was great and we enjoyed all the neighborhoods we traversed through. Being a Saturday, there were many street markets setup selling food and flowers, another bonus.
Lousy, rude, service – One item ordered was a Chai Tea with whipped-cream, cinammon, and crushed chocolate chips. Surly waitress brings a Chai teabag&waterpot. She takes it away and returns with whipped cream and cinammon - where's the choc. chips? - don't have. Next,FrenchToastEtouffee, was to have apple&cranberry. No cranberry nor any cranberry taste, - a manager comes and says it has cranberries, - I offer him $5 to find one, declines. He takes the dish in the back, and announces he tasted it (did he bite mine? I have just had the flu?) and it has cranberries but they're emulsified he says. Then I say OK, bring me some non-emulsified cranberries on the side, but then they say they don't have any and what else would I like instead. The manager says, he doesn't want to get in a pi--ing match with me! They also forgot the toast on our omelette order!
A great neighborhood gem! – I'm not sure what's up with the negative reviews. Yes, service can lag at times, but I don't go here to race thru my food. The appeal of Paulines is the laid back atmosphere, the great breakfasts, and the overall feel. This is the type of place that you used to find throughout Andersonville. I am a BIG fan of the French Toast, any omlette, and out of this world fried potatoes.
The secret to this joint is NOT to go when it's crowded, nor with a large group. Follow those rules, and Paulines will become a favorite stop.
Yummy – I go to Paulines every time that I'm in town and I find the service to be very friendly. The food might not be exactly how you like it cooked, but the manager is usually more than happy to make it as close as possible. And the ambience is great! It's got a retro, family feel to it that makes it a comfortable place to eat. As a general warning though, if you show up around noon on the weekends, there might be a wait. Other than that, I highly recommend Paulines for breakfast!!
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