Chicago >Food & Dining > Lou Mitchell's Restaurant
565 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL | Directions 6066141.878011 -87.642117
M-Sa 5:30-3, Su 7-3
Neighborhoods: Near West Side, West Side
You'll get a doughnut hole when you arrive, and the charm continues with excellent service. The malted waffle is an ideal specimen.
A Chicago institution since 1923, there's a lot of history here. But the food is an equally good reason for heading here, not to mention free donut holes and Milk Duds handed out by the hostess while leading you to your table.
Best Down-Home Breakfast in Chicago – This is one of my all time favorite Chicago spots. My grandfather took me here every morning before school at 6 am from kindergarden until my senior year of high school. The food is fast and always good. I am a huge fan of the french toast, it is not too overdone and fancied up like the new yuppie places down there. (although i technically am a yuppie i have a natural resentment to fancy breakfast places, maybe this review explains that!) The people are nice and regular, and i hope it is around for years to come!
MUCH HYPED, BUT JUST AVERAGE !!! – Coming from california i've been to many a diner's and 50ish spots. This was just average for me. I stopped in on a wednesday morning, there was no wait time or lines. You can park across the street after 9AM. (read the posted limits) I would definitely recommend the coffee and fresh orange juice, the actual breakfast was just ok. Prices are pretty reasonable for city munching but if you want better food and a better experience drive out to arlington heights and grab breakfast at T.N.T SNACK SHOP 1706 W CAMPBELL STREET, ARLINGTON HEIGHTS 60005. ---A TRUE HIDDEN GEM
Not so great – I am from Chicago, but I had never been to this location. Everything that I enjoy about diners was in place, the cheap coffee and free refills, good counter service and tons of other people sitting around and reading the paper. I ordered the bacon and egg sandwich and a side of hash browns, or american fries whatever they are called. The eggs on the sandwich were dry and the potatoes were some of the worst that I ever had. They were wet and undercooked and lacked any kind of flavor that is present in other breakfast potatoes that I have had. I have been to the other location in Lincoln Park, and that is a good place, their food is great, but this place needs to overhaul some of their menu items.
Since 1923 that says alot – This is a great little breakfast place. Everyone's commented on the free donut holes you get in line which makes the wait a little more bearable. :)
I enjoyed the fact that the food was not too greasy, all to often little grease spoon type places tend to be just that, greasy. I got eggs and ham, the ham was excellent not too salty like at other establishments.
The coffee was great, many places have some nondescript watered down swill they pass for coffee. The coffee at Lou's was really robust and flavorful without tasting like burnt Starbucks coffee.
Recommendations: Bring cash, there's an ATM but it's just simpler if you plan ahead. Also smaller parties get seated faster since the place is relatively small.
My Kind Of Breakfast – First off, don't be discouraged by the line outside, it moves fast! Also, part of the Lou Mitchell experience is getting the free donut holes and milk duds while you wait outside. If you are a single diner, mention this to the line monitor as more often than not you will be ushered to a counter seat immediately. Yes, this is just breakfast but it is an exceptional breakfast. Portions are large and served in the pan they were cooked in. Keep in mind that "2 eggs" really means 3 or in my case, 4 eggs, literally. Potatoes are sliced round style and contain fresh herbs and fill the entire 10 inch pan. I also counted 8 sausages in my pan as well. A must order, however, is the cinnamon roll. And don't forget to get the raisin toast.
Honestly, just go somewhere else – I took my friends from out of town to here for the first time. It was cute that they offered doughnut holes and milk duds. I?m vegan, and I asked if it was ok to get just hash browns and a side of sauteed veggies (onions, spinach and mushrooms). Everything was fine, until i found a big piece of cardboard in the veggies. Granted, people make mistakes. I showed the server, he apologized and offered to replace it, and he did but was pretty sarcastic and rude about it, even though I was a customer. The Manager, (older short blonde lady?s) attitude really took the cake. She came to our table, asked what happened, asked me where the food was (as if i kept it as a souvenir) and then proceeded to go to the plate bin and pull dirty plates with food to ask it this was a plate, which was disgusting. Eventually she believed me (even though like my friends 5 people and the server saw it) and comped only my food, not the juice I got.
Honestly, her attitude really disgusted me. If you want classic diner food honestly go to one of the Clarks restaurants on either Lincoln or Belmont or Tempo down town. If you want to take your friends from out of town a good impression of how Chicago brunch is done, to Lula Cafe in Logan Square, or even Chicago Diner is great, especially if your vegetarian/vegan.
I am embarrassed for my friends from abroad that have an impression that Chicago service is bad. I will never go there again, it?s really disappointing since it?s a big piece of Chicago history and they really had good breakfast potatoes and coffee. However, if you have any problems with your food, understand the management lacks people skills. Or they may have problems with People of Color with money eating there, and not heeding nor believing their brown customers.
Go Hungry – Read the reviews so we stopped here on our way into the city. We had just flown a red-eye in and landed about 5:30 am on a Tuesday morning - arrived at Lou's about 7 am and walked right in. Still got the donut hole which was light and delicious. They advertise the best cup of coffee in the world and it was GOOD! We also had fresh-squeezed orange juice, just thinking about it makes my mouth water - try it when you are there. My husband had the french toast and hummed through most of the meal. I had the cheese and apple omelet - sounds weird, tastes great! This also came with lots of potatos and toast. We ate until we could hardly breath and then they offered us ice cream! We had to say no because we had filled up on extra donut holes. This was the best breakfast we had while spending a week in Chicago. Go on a weekday as it was not crowded at all.
Great Food and Great Service, but Know When to Go! – This is a GREAT Chicago restaurant! I work across the street, so I frequently eat there or take food to go.
There are many legends about this place, and I don't know what is true or not, so I won't address those.
If you want a GREAT BREAKFAST, this is the place to go. The omelets are HUGE and tasty (my favorite is the "Mushroom Green Pepper Special" to which I add American Cheese). I also like the "Skirt Steak and Eggs" breakfast, especially after a night of drinking heavily! The French Toast is also a good choice. As for pancakes, I hear they are good, but I don't like pancakes at all, so I cannot really comment...
As for the lines... YES, there are lines snaking out the door, but mainly on weekends. It is not usually that crowded during the week. One exception to this would be when prominent politicians or celebrities are visiting., but this is rare.
Expect to pay $10 - $15 per person for breakfast - a little bit on the high side, but still not terribly expensive.
If you go pn the weekend, expect to wain in line for 30+ minutes, and mingle with parents taking their kids to experience the "legendary breakfast place on route 66."
For lunch, the Patty Melts are the BEST EVER, the burgers are good, the fries are awesome, and the specials are worth trying... The "creamy tomato" soup deserves a Nobel Prize, at least!
In a word.... YUMMMM!
Best place for breakfast in Chicago! – I go to Chicago at least once a year, usually twice and i ALWAYS make sure i go to Lou Mitchell's. Best breakfast I've ever had, French Toast is to die for! The staff is great, they are sarcastic & witty & borderline rude...LOVE IT! Sense of humor is required. Line is usually out the door, but in my opinion definitely worth the wait. Plus they serve donut holes & have heat lamps for when the weather is cold. The food is just fantastic!!
Used to be good but has gone DOWNHILL!! – This place was good years ago but its gone WAY downhill in the last couple years. Last couple times there the food was terrible. Last week I ordered a tuna melt that tasted - shall we say feculent? I sent it back and was surprised when the bill came that I was charged for it. I asked the manager about it and she said "Sorry, I tasted it and it was fine. You need to pay for it..." I can't recall ever being treated like that in a restaurant.
Order at your own risk, but they lost my business forever.
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