A trip to Lou Mitchell's


CHICAGO, Illinois - Chicago has long held the title as of my favorite cities to visit, but prior to January 2020, I hadn’t experienced significant time within city limits. My trips to the Chicagoland rarely saw me leaving the areas of Tinley Park and Bridgeview. I became well acquainted with Harlem Avenue as I traveled throughout Chicago’s southwest side.

This was because I often ended up at Seat Geek Stadium on some sort of soccer business. It wasn’t uncommon to find me taking in a United States Women’s National Team match or watching the Chicago Red Stars compete in National Women’s Soccer League competition.

It wasn’t until September 2019 that I ventured into downtown Chicago for the first time. As I made the drive down Lake Shore Drive I began to take in the intoxicating sights and sounds of America’s third-largest city.


I found my way into the Hyde Park neighborhood where I explored Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. I wanted to explore more of this great city, but I was on a strict time schedule.

Four months later I would get my chance to explore downtown Chicago as part of my friend Jared’s 30th birthday festivities.

Following a night of exploring the Windy City we were in the mood for a quality breakfast, what we found was magnificent.

Situated on West Jackson Street in downtown Chicago, Lou Mitchell’s Diner has been a staple of the Windy City breakfast scene since 1923. The diner specializes in breakfast, brunch, and lunch dishes that can satisfy any hunger.

Patrons are greeted at the door with a fresh donut hole or milk dud prior to being seated. This establishes a warm and hospitable environment before the meal gets underway. According to the Lou Mitchell website the restaurant outlines why you receive a delicious treat upon entering.

Why do ladies and children receive Milk Duds when they enter the restaurant? Greeks are known for their warm abundant hospitality; upon entering their home you are offered something sweet as a welcome greeting. “Milk Duds” were originally manufactured in Chicago and the owner of the company was both a customer and dear friend of Uncle Lou’s, thus the choice of the sweets. However, his sisters Polly and Demi and nephew Nick Noble who all worked in the business were convinced Uncle Lou had an eye for the women and adored children. The tradition carries on to this day.”

Once seated allow yourself to be swept away by the classic décor and simplicity of 1950s Americana. The wait staff is dressed with a modern take on a classic diner uniform and all great you in a courteous and respectful manner.

Placards on the counter tell you the history of the diner, including some fun facts and what famous movie star may have occupied your seat.

Photo by: Pavel (TripAdvisor)

When the portions arrive at your table they are hearty and cooked to perfection. It’s impossible to leave Lou Mitchell’s with an empty stomach, but you won’t feel sick either. The food is as my mother says, “a little bit of heaven.”

Once you pay your bill and the staff thank you for your patronage you’ll already be looking at your calendar longing for the day you return to downtown Chicago so you can sample the rest of the fine menu at Lou Mitchell’s.

    ©2020 by Ralph Schudel

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