In Defense of the Diner

Chicago knows a lot about food, but it knows very little about diners. Chicago Magazine readers recently confirmed this lingering instinct when they voted Little Goat Diner as the city’s best.

Little Goat Diner, Stephanie Izard’s colossal space on Randolph Row, may be a respite from the delicate small plates and ticket-entry restaurants the city has become known for, and it may be one of the few places within city limits where you can satisfy swine and sweet tooth cravings with one milkshake. A diner, however, it is not.

Both Little Goat Diner and even Chicago Magazine readers’ runner-up, Eleven City Diner, are true diners to the same extent as Chipotle is an authentic Mexican Grill. Like the World Showcase food stands at Epcot or the Led Zeppelin 1977 t-shirts tweens can buy at Sears, any restaurant younger than 40 years old that calls itself a diner is probably not the real thing.

Continue reading


Hummus, for Purists

More than ever, we, as a society of human beings, can’t let great things go unchanged.

We jump too hard on the bandwagon, turning perfectly acceptable things like Doritos and mozzarella sticksIMGP4920 into 7-11’s latest gruesome impulse buy.

We don’t feel guilty/satisfied enough watching strangers on TV live in a house together and have their lives taped, so we decide it would be more entertaining to have already awkward first dates, in the nude.

We (American Apparel) decide that the timeless/always flattering raglan baseball t-shirt is basic in a bad way, and so we cut it in half.

These days we let tradition slide to make room for confusing, increasingly diluted words like “innovation.” Not that I’m completely adverse to trying new things, or opposed to improvements (let’s be honest, Chipotle won my heart 4 lyfe when they debuted Sofritas). It’s just that nothing, not even hummus, seems to be sacred any more.

Continue reading