I was just reading a piece on slate.com about the "slow food movement", and it reminded me of an old thought. The classic chicago coffee shop (i.e., local greek) is really the chicago answer to slow food. Even the lousiest places cook some food. The best places cook all there own food. So which place serves the best breaded veal cutlet. Whose brown gravy reigns supreme.
At one time, the answer would be simple. Lou Mitchell ran the ultimate coffee shop. The double yolk eggs, the greasy potatoes, fresh donut holes in line, stewed prunes, homemade marmalade, "greek" toast and for desert--why more people do not serve desert after breakfast--frozen yoghurt, it all added up to a superior experience. But as Lou Mitchells slipped further and further down the extended family tree, the overall experience lessened. Lou Mitchells, like all of its lesser breathern, declined. Even uber-food mavens, the Sterns, felt obligated to write an obiturary for Lou's. The only negative review I believe they have ever written. So if not Lou Mitchell, who?