After a morning of late-autumn birding around Lake Calumet, I kept my promise to my two sons and spouse of eating lunch out "potluck" (e.g. no destination in mind, no return engagements). We found ourselves at the corner of 103d and Torrence, the gateway to South Deering. Take a look at this neighborhood on a Chicago map and you will see the facination I have with this area. It sits entirely surrounded by industrial plants and railroad right-of-ways. At this corner, you'll find a pocket-sized train terminal, a slag heap and other emblems of old Chicago. Take away the cell-towers and you're transported back decades. Some evidence of its former, east european ethnic identity clings to some business names along Torrence, but it is now a mixed African-American and Mexican community.
At that intersection, three resturants do business: a pre-dawn workweek counter called Leif's Home Cooking (closed Sunday -- looks interesting), a fancier sitdown place called Heinie's (fried poultry and shellfish), and L&H Family Resturant. We went with L&H. Will I tell you that it was finest omlette (a "milano," with Italian sausage and cheese) and best coffee I've ever been served in the city limits? No, although it was also not markedly different from Cozy Corner, White Palace or other shops that appear recurrently on this board. What I liked was the after-church feel of the place, that I've generally experienced on the road (in Georgia, Indiana, Iowa etc.) but seldom in town: efficient-but-unrushed service, a modest specialness to the "specials" (catfish looked like a good bet), generousness in the servings. If I find myself down that way on another weekend, I plan to drive down to 106th (the business district) to check out the rest of the neighborhood.