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Sep 30, 2000 08:45 PM

Lou Mitchell letdown

  • b

I've been trying to figure this out all day - do I post? Do I just leave it alone?

I had a singularly disappointing breakfast at Mitchells this morning. The coffee was good. The hash browns were great (eat your heart out NY) but the eggs (the big double yolked things they serve) were overcooked and it seems to me they used to fry them in butter but this was definitely NOT butter. Weird oily and left a film in my mouth I'd still be tasting if I didn't have a toothbrush at work. The sausage was also overcooked to the point where a steak knife would have come in handy. (To run myself through on). I only go a couple times of year for my cholesterol fix but right now I'm thinking NEVER AGAIN. What's up? Has anyone else had this experience there? It used to be really, really great. I am so hoping this was just an "off" day. I've been recommending this place to out-of-towners for years and have heard nothing but acclaim.

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  1. "I've been trying to figure this out all day - do I post? Do I just leave it alone?"

    why not post? I for one am glad you did!

    Important question: which branch was this? Maybe the other ones are better. Or this particular one lost its chef or something else screwy is happening behind scenes. Wondering if other Chicagoans have reports about your branch as well as the others...

    Also, I feel your pain. Breakfast is important. Though I definitely AM eating my heart out over those hash browns, believe me!


    7 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      Other branches? This is news to me Jim. There's a place that calls itself Mitchells in Old Town but it may as well be in another country as far as the food is concerned (sucks donkey dicks - as my niece would say). This one is the original on Jackson near Canal street. Which, BTW, is right near Union Station so those riding AMTRAK through Chicago have a better option (serves lunch too) than the rip-joints in the station - or did. I just don't know. It was so sad. I should have spoken up to the waitress but I was dumbfounded. This place has been consistantly good for the 20+ years I've eaten there. Hopefully one of the 2-3 people who glance at this board will speak up.

      1. re: bryan

        Actually a LOT more than 2 or 3 people go by this board. You see, it's a Catch-22: people don't leave messages unless there are messages up in the first place. So what it takes to get discussion going is a few dedicated hounds posting a bunch of good information (like this hot-off-presses Lou Mitchell's report). That's how the NYC boards got started. And LA. And SF. And Boston and Philly. So if Chicago people want the same awesome resource as hounds in those cities, it takes some willingness to "go first" and create the critical mass.

        As for the branches, my friend, Jesse, who worships at the shrine of Lou Mitchell's, told me there were three branches, and that the one south of the loop in the financial district was best. But that was five years ago. Now, I can only find two branches at

        565 W Jackson Blvd (which I believe is the branch Jesse likes);(312) 939-3111


        5600 N Manheim Rd; (773) 601-8989

        In any case, just as you wouldn't forsake a 20 year friendship over one fight, I think you owe Lou another chance. But let's watch and see how many Chicago hounds perk up out of their slumber and respond to this. I'm willing to bet we have a definitive idea of what's going on by week's end!


        1. re: Jim Leff
          L.L. Shatkin

          Guys- I'm jumping in because I feel bad that you still have high hopes about Lou Mitchell's. It hasn't been the same for the past five years or so-- apparently, he passed away and the management changed. I've rarely heard a positive comment since then. And yes, there's a second location-- it's inside O'hare airport (the one Jim mentioned on Manheim Rd.) Need I say more.... The other Mitchell's in town are completely different, even though one of them calls itself "The Original".People still go to the one on Jackson but there's a lot of competition these days. Even the traders at the Board of Trade don't go as much-- which is telling since they're a group who relishes big greasy breakfast spots.

          1. re: L.L. Shatkin
            Clifford Abrams

            Thanks for the "warnings", guys. My ex and i almost ended up there for breakfast last week, but, as all good northsiders know, the best breakfast in town is at The Lucky Platter in Evanston.

            1. re: Clifford Abrams

              I must be a bad northsider. Tell us about it Cliff!

              1. re: bryan
                Clifford Abrams

                Not much to tell. Lucky Platter is located on Main Street just east of Chicago Avenue in Evanston, and they serve a great breakfast--any time of day, i think. But especially on weekends. Everything from eggs benedict (including a veg version) to scrambled eggs with about 30 "filler" ingredients to choose from. Pancakes, waffles, meat, fish, etc. Most everything comes with great homefries. Very funky, amusing decor. Efficient, laid back service. And cheap. Breakfast/brunch food from about $6 to $8. Food quality can be somewhat uneven if they're busy, but their heart's in the right place, and it's mostly very good. Tell us what you think.

                1. re: Clifford Abrams

                  I enjoy the food at Lucky Platter. The service is as amusing as the food. You always get the feeling that the crew got lost on the way to a Phish concert and are picking up a couple of shifts for gas money.

    2. We had also heard great things about Lou Mitchell's, but were sadly disappointed when we went. I wouldn't recommend it.