ELEVEN CITY DINER: IT TAKES A NEIGHBORHOOD
15 March 2018
Just behind 1000M on wind-swept Wabash Avenue sits Eleven City Diner, a stout brick-and-glass building serving deli classics and breakfast all day.
Enter the building and feel dwarfed by the high ceilings and dazzled by neon bent every which way. Don’t let the kids get too distracted by the colorful array of candy in glass jars behind the counter, and watch out for servers running by yelling “hot soup!” It’s these bits of chaos and showmanship that let you know just how bustling things can get.
Weekend brunch will always be busy but with the diner’s proximity to 1000M, residents can saunter in for a more relaxed lunch any day of the week. Slip into a swivel chair along the bar, order bottomless coffee or a killer Bloody Mary with a salami and provolone garnish and watch as all walks of Chicago come and go on their lunch break. The vast menu contains something for everyone…from mile-high piled pastrami and corned beef between two slices of rye you’re not sure even the biggest construction worker could fit in his mouth to the lox and latkes, artfully plated in a way everyone can appreciate. Once you (or the kids) have eaten all your food, don’t miss out on cakes, pies, malt milkshakes or, perhaps it’s time to return to the candy counter for a hand-picked selection to take with you when you leave.
Newcomers will enjoy the Jewish classics and yet be surprised at how each plate is elevated. The same goes for the restaurant’s interiors, the retro elements blending with modern accents as to give the establishment an authentic twist on contemporary life. At a time when diners are disappearing from the city, Eleven City Diner has become a cornerstone of the South Loop neighborhood since it opened its doors ten year ago, establishing itself as a landmark Chicago institution.
Brad Rubin is the founder and owner of Eleven City Diner but for him it’s a family affair. “Patrons dub his mother “The Lollipop Lady,” because she’s famous for handing out multi-colored treats to the restaurant’s youngest diners. And Rubin’s father is the resident soda jerk, who awards members of the “clean plate club” with gold stars. The collective endeavor makes for convincing evidence that every neighborhood should preserve their diners. Sure, it’s somewhere you can drop by for casual bite, but more significantly, Eleven City Diner is really a place of nurturing, nourishing and comfort in the storied tradition of the classic neighborhood joint.
Visit Eleven City Diner at 1112 S Wabash Ave or at their website.
Discover more of 1000M’s surrounding neighborhood HERE.