"Classic" Breakfast Near Hyatt Regency
I'm in NJ Chowhounder who will be visiting Chicago the end of this month. I am looking for a classic breakfast place near the Hyatt Regency (within a mile's walk, max, but closer is better). The prime requirement is that it open early (7AM), as we need to be done in time for 9AM panels at our convention. By classic, I mean your greasy spoon sort of place where you get eggs and bacon and toast and decent coffee, not Wildberry's or anything like that.
Does such a place still exist in that area?
Thanks to all who replied. I will probably plan to have our one fixed breakfast with West Egg. (Whenever we go to this convention in Chicago, we join an also-attending friend for breakfast. When we were in that same area in 2000, West Egg may have been where we ate. I know when we were there in 1991 there was a place like what I'm looking for, but I think they did urban renewal or something on the block in the intervening twenty years. :-))
We will have a few days before the convention, and we will try some of the others as well.
I assume you're referring to the Hyatt Regency Chicago, on Wacker at Michigan, and not the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place or the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. There are plenty of breakfast places within a five minute walk or less.
I don't know of greasy spoon type places for breakfast, but I see that the Billy Goat opens at 6 a.m. so it probably qualifies. (I've never been there early, though, so I just can't speak to their breakfasts.) This is the "cheezborger cheezborger cheezborger" place made famous by Saturday Night Live. It's a block north of the Hyatt Regency on the lower level of North Michigan Avenue. www.billygoattavern
You can also get good breakfasts at several nicer places within a quarter mile of the hotel:
South Water Kitchen - www.southwaterkitchen.com (a block west of the Hyatt, same side of the river)
LB Bistro - www.lbbistro.com (in the Sheraton just across the river on Columbus Drive, go down to the lower level of the Hyatt for the bridge across the river)
Fox & Obel - www.fox-obel.com (a block north and a block east of LB Bistro; they have a cafe in the rear of this gourmet food store)
Yolk - www.yolk-online.com (two blocks north of Fox & Obel)
There's also an enclosed lower-level concourse that runs through all the buildings of Illinois Center, of which the Hyatt is a part. There are lots of shops and restaurants, most catering to those who work in the office towers that are part of the complex, and I'm sure there are places in the concourse open for breakfast; I just don't know which ones they are. This option might be worth exploring in the event of bad weather.
You are staying in between the hearts of the tourist and business areas, so not the best spots for the residential greasy spoons of your dreams. Chicago can not hold a candle to the diner breakfasts of New Jersey and New York. The restaurant closest to you, but still over a mile away, that I think you'd enjoy is Tempo Cafe, at 6 E Chestnut, which is open 24/7. Given your parameters, I'd recommend just grabbing a bite at your hotel, or the aforementioned West Egg, Eggy's, or Yolk, and planning your special local meals when you have more time.
I just had breakfast at Eggy's (granted weekend at 10AM). It was good but service was a disaster. There were not enough servers, bussers or cooks. Food was not anything special and I did have the stupidest thing said to me during a breakfast service ever.
ME: Oh, sorry we already ordered but those biscuits look great but I don't eat sausage gravy, can I just get a biscuit?
SERVER: We only serve the biscuits with the biscuits and gravy and it's two.
ME: Oh OK, well maybe you can do a half order and hold the gravy?
SERVER: I don't know, not sure the kitchen can do that, I'll check.
. . .
Two minutes later food arriives, no biscuit yet.
ME: Hi, how about that biscuit?
SERVER: Let me check, I put in the order.
ME: Great, I'll just eat a little slower and hopefully they can get it out
ME (thinking not spoken): I mean really, grab a damn biscuit put it on the plate and bring it over, I can see the kitchen.
. . . 12 minutes later with nearly everyone done and me still taking mini bites the server shows up again and says oops, let me check on the biscuit.
ME: i don't want it.
SERVER (with runner standing behing): Oh.
So, long story short, good food not great, annoying less than smart tattoed hipster servers who would be much better off not being in the service industry.
If you want the real taste of 1950's greasy spoon go to the diner at The Ohio House Hotel. If you weren't in the middle of the city you'd think you were on Route 66 in the middle of nowhere. It's a joint, but its not really conventient to you.
Just across the river from the Hyatt (walk North on Columbus about 3 blocks past river) is West Egg Cafe for your typical very good every day breakfast.
I know you don't want something more exotic, but Melli Cafe on Grand & Wells in River North or on Halstead in Greektown is awesome. The River North one is less than a mile, but you can cab back and forth in 5-7 minutes. It's Greek diner on steroids with great fresh juices and some of the best skillets I've had, mmm thinking about "The Drifter" with some poached eggs right now.