Lou Mitchell’s: Chicago-sized breakfast and Top Chef stop

Lou Mitchell's sign
This season of Top Chef, I really got involved. It was the first full season I watched with anticipation, rooted for several people and made sure to catch the finale while I was in Cleveland. (My mom was just as involved with her opinions as I was and we both rooted for the same person in the end.)

My short visit to Chicago immediately followed the finale and throughout the city, there were interviews with Stephanie on what seemed to be every television I saw. The city was humming with Top Chef news everywhere I looked.

With just three hours until boarding the plane back to California, I made a mental note to visit Lou Mitchell’s — the same restaurant where the contestants for Top Chef were competing as the breakfast short order cook to win immunity.

"The cops are patrolling!"

Lou Mitchell’s is not a cozy, quiet restaurant where one has quiet conversation. Not at all. Much like how it was portrayed on Top Chef, it was bustling with the morning rush with people trying to fit in a breakfast before work. Waiting for an available table did not take long and any frustration was eased by staffers who passed out donut holes to people waiting in line. In addition, tables were quickly cleared when the counter help gave warning that police were writing parking tickets for expired meters. I’ve never seen people so quickly gulp down their breakfasts, reacting to the warning issued over the intercom. This place was hardcore Chicago.

An orange and a prune

The donut holes were only the start. Once seated, Lou Mitchell’s offered an orange slice and prune to everyone holding a menu, whether they wanted it or not. Moments later, as I was still perusing the menu, mini boxes of Milk Duds were scattered on our table (keep in mind it was still the breakfast hour).


I don’t remember much about breakfast. Maybe it was the late night or the sadness that my vacation would soon be officially over. I do recall thinking that I should have split Paul’s meal because last night’s Spanish tapas were still heavy in my stomach. But my omelette was good, albeit nothing extraordinary I couldn’t have at any respectable breakfast joint. Maybe a Top Chef should have been the short order cook this particular morning because I wasn’t wowed, just exhausted.

But the meal ended just as it had started, with more food to keep the customer sated: soft serve to end the meal and my trip to Chicago.

Soft serve at breakfast

8 thoughts on “Lou Mitchell’s: Chicago-sized breakfast and Top Chef stop

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  1. Reminder to self next time I'm in Chicago: drop by Lou Mitchell's for some grub and free sides. Nice post!

  2. I've been here before, and the breakfasts are great! BTW, I'm hosting another Great Pop'rs Giveaway. Come on over to my place and help Aunt Julie plan the rehearsal dinner for Big Bear and Little Red. It'll be lots of fun!

  3. I love Top Chef. This year's Season was so good too.That restaurant looks really cool. Free food is always good!

  4. Nice pictures! Without top chef, I wouldn't have known Chicago even existed, no just kidding. TC makes me want to visit chicago even more now!. Cool blog

  5. Oh My! Another one of these jaw dropping stomach hunger craving pages! Whether its the pics or the wording that was put together oh so well just to explain the juicyness of the food, It Sounded Gooood To Me 🙂 and with that in mind I think we should all have a moment of silence and really think when we can take a trip down the best place to eat in your town or at a vacation getaway!Well, let me know what you guys think because I am surely ready to enjoy a national tour of foods:)!

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