I had to try an American breakfast after only really trying brunch in New York. Breakfast is served until 3pm and mon-fri an early start at 5.30am weekends slightly later at 7am.
The staff are really friendly they adorned our table with free milk duds, donut holes and orange slices. I chose 2 fried eggs and crispy bacon which comes served in a skillet pan with hash browns, marmalade and whatever kind of toast you fancy. They serve freshly squeezed juice if you fancy it and a cup of coffee of course, do as for low fat milk if you don't want the fattening half and half.
On the whole breakfast was pretty good although I won't order crispy bacon again coming from England we prefer what American's refer to as canadian bacon crispy is streaky. I think on reflection also have ordered my eggs scrambled as my friend's dish looked better and bigger!
If you're near Union Station and find yourself hungry and looking for a great cheap meal, then hunt up this landmark Chicago diner, Lou Mitchell's! They've even re-named the stretch of Jackson Boulevard in front of the place as "Lou Mitchell Way"! And they deserve it, too, having been in business at least 85 years. You can imagine all the train travelers from the 1920s & '30s popping into this place for a quick cup o' joe at the counter or whiling away an hour or two over a hearty breakfast. Just a fantastic place.
Basically, the concept is of breakfast prepared in an individual cast-iron skillet and brought directly to you.
Lines get long at this place, even during a rainy downpour as attested to by my recent visit here in June 2009. But don't worry, the staff brings around baskets of doughnut holes dusted with powdered sugar to stave off hunger pangs. To me they had the texture of hush puppies, with a slightly sweet taste (and no onions!).
Apparently, this joint could jumpstart your journey on infamous Route 66 as it lies at the beginning of the route in Chicago (originally at Jackson & Michigan which is now a one-way street heading east). Wonder if Jack Kerouac stopped by here on his way out to California?
Breakfast starts off with a complimentary dish of California stewed prunes PLUS they serve you a complimentary small cup of ice cream at the end of your meal. How can you get more old fashioned than that?
Favorite Dish: $5.25 - I had the Skillet Breakfast of Hard-fried 2 eggs & 3 slices of bacon, crisp fried potatoes (just the way *I* make them), toast (I chose Greek - delicious)
$2.25 - along with a cup o' joe
$3.25 - glass of orange juice.
$10.75 - TOTAL
The entire breakfast was fabulous except for my eggs which weren't quite as hard/done as I like them and were a little too browned for my taste. Other than that, the meal was delicious!
Note: Cash only
Photos: June 2009
The exterior neon sign is straight out of the 1950s, and so is the interior. Since 1923, customers have been attracted by the variety of freebies given here, such as doughnut holes or Milk Duds (caramel-covered chocolate candies) while waiting to be seated.
Cups of coffee that never empty, free donut chunks on entry. The first and only meal of the day. Complimentary ice-cream if there is room.
Favorite Dish: Fresh orange juice.
Silver dollar pancakes and a side dish of bacon.
Lou Mitchell's is a Chicago institution and one of the most famous breakfast places in the world. It has been up and running in the same location since 1923.
What makes it unique? Simple concepts like free donut holes while you wait, a box of Milk Duds for female customers, and free appetizers of an orange slice and a prune. Great service, huge omelettes and other great breakfasts make this the perfect place for breakfast (don't worry, they also have a lunch menu).
On Sundays, a very popular Sunday brunch is available. Be prepared to wait. Also, it is not the cheapest breakfast in town, but the prices are reasonable for as much food as they give you.
5:30am-3pm Monday through Saturday
Favorite Dish: The spinach and feta omelette was excellent. They use AT LEAST 6 eggs, so be prepared. It also came with hash browns. I was stuffed when I left.
Before you even sit down to a table the hostess gives each guest a freshly made donut hole and girls get a little box of milk duds.
At the table you get more complimentary stuff like fresh orange slices. The portions for breakfast are huge!! You feel really comfortable and accomodated to by the caring staff. Be prepared to eat when you come to Lou Mitchell's by not eating for one week before and abstaining from eating one week after because you will still be full. After finishing your breakfast, complimentary ice cream is available to you.
Weekends mean really long lines at Lou's which isn't so bad considering the service you get and the apetite you build up while waiting.
Favorite Dish: The Spinach and feta omelette with home fries. So fluffy and flavorful. The health benefits of spinach are definitely destroyed by this omelette