Breakfast in Chi-town for a business traveler
I am traveling in Chicago for work and need a GREAT and affordable breakfast place. The event that I am attending is at DePaul’s Loop Campus but I am willing to travel somewhere authentically Chicago!
I agree that Lou Mitchell's is the place to go. The food is great. When I worked in Chicago, it was the place frequented by Chicago insiders and had a great, old-time Chicago atmosphere. However, I should point out that at least in 1985 through 1988, when I worked nearby, Lou Mitchell's often had a long line to get in and was very crowded.
Walker Brothers Original Pancake House (open for 45 years, according to their advertisement) is also excellent. You would not get the same nitty-gritty "authentically" Chicago atmosphere that you would at Lou Mitchell's, but the food is superb. Try the famous carmelized apple pancake (really, a puffy, open-faced torte). Also, all the locations for this restaurant are in the northern Chicago suburbs. The original is at 153 Green Bay Road in Wilmette, which the internet says is 12.85 miles from downtown Chicago, with other locations in the northern suburbs of Lincolnshire, Glenview, Highland Park, etc. If you have time to only go to one place, I would try Lou Mitchell's because it fits what you are looking for to a tee, and it is relatively nearby, but if you have time, I would definitely try both places.
There’s a recent and lengthy thread (with further links) on Chicago breakfasts that might be useful for you:
Two places mentioned there are quite close to DePaul’s Loop campus.
(1) Intelligentsia, for really excellent coffee but just pastries on the food side. (Maybe go here for a coffee break during the day?) The closer of their two Loop locations is a block west of DePaul at Dearborn and Jackson in the Monadnock Building, one of the great architectural landmarks of Chicago. The Monadnock was the tallest building built without steel frame construction – you’ll see how thick the brick walls on the first floor had to be to support the upper stories. Intelligentsia opens at 6 am M-F, closed on weekends.
(2) Heaven on Seven, the original location on Wabash on the 7th floor of the Garland Building, for Cajun food. From DePaul go a block east to Wabash then 4 blocks north. Opens at 8:30 M-F, 10 on Sat, closed Sun. Heaven on Seven has expanded to other locations now, but the original still feels like an insiders' secret place, hidden away in one of the classic old buildings of the Loop.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Orange on Harrison, which is the closest excellent breakfast place to the campus. It's only a block west of the University Center building on Harrison (you can see a map of the DePaul Loop campus at www.depaul.edu/maps/loop ). Along with its sister restaurant (Orange) in the Lakeview neighborhood, it's one of the half dozen places in Chicago most famous for their breakfasts and Sunday brunches. It's open seven days; I've only been there on Sundays, when it tends to be busy. Great pancakes (pancake "flights" of four different kinds) and egg dishes. They also offer mixes of juice blends to order. Very nice place, and not overly expensive. Highly recommended!
Orange on Harrison
75 W. Harrison St.
No website AFAIK, but you can see their Metromix listing at:
Lou Mitchell's is authentically Chicago, but it's not in the immediate vicinity. Roughly speaking, Lou's is at the southwest corner of the Loop, and the DePaul campus is at the southeast corner. It's about a 10 minute walk west. Of Amata's suggestions, Heaven on Seven is about a 5 minute walk north. As she mentioned, Intelligentsia is right there but is really just a coffee shop (a la Starbucks).
In those topics, the other suggestions in the South Loop, River North, and Gold Coast area are a short cab ride from the Loop.