So ever since the Westernathon I've been jonesing to go back to Miss Muffet, one of the places we saw but did not eat at (there's still a picture of its neon spiderweb up if you follow the links in the Westernathon thread). It took two attempts, but I finally got there.
My first attempt at zipping down the Dan Ryan (Miss Muffet is at 79th and Western) turned into a crawl in the rain last week, and so I aborted the mission at Fullerton and decided to check out the Cozy Corner instead, which I hadn't been to in about 10 years. At the time it seemed like your average coffeeshop, so I was a bit surprised when it turned up in the Sterns' Road Food book. (As I recall, an out of towner asked about it once and Seth had said the same thing, fine if you live nearby but why THIS coffeeshop out of all of them made the book was a bit of a mystery.)
Well, I think I know why. Basically because the same amount of activity is going on as at your typical diner-- waitresses grousing, cops flirting, old guys shooting the breeze for two hours over a single cup and telling each other to stay out of trouble-- but the difference is, the place is about 8 feet square. So basically, it's theater in the round, and you have a front row seat.
Which... is pretty much what Miss Muffet turned out to be like, too, except with a mostly black cast. The best moment was when a booth erupted in laughter and one of the waitresses called out from behind the counter something like "Shout it out! Testify!" I also liked the fact that to-go orders were bagged in your standard pizza bag (the one with the map of Italy and the chef printed in red and green on it), a nice example of the same sort of repurposing you see when places like Dock's open in buildings that were plainly built as Taco Bells or Dunkin' Donuts.
So how was the food? Hey, breakfast is breakfast. I had hopes that since Miss Muffet had grits they might also have really authentic biscuits and gravy, but it wasn't THAT Southern, apparently, they weren't even on the menu. So ham on the bone was fine, eggs and hash browns were eggs and hash browns. Likewise, Cozy Corner was pretty good but not totally memorable for the food. But clearly in either case, that's not the only reason you go there.