Best Breakfast in Chicago – Lou Mitchell’s Meatloaf

In Trinidad, I never grew up with meatloaf. Why would we – this is a purely European derivative “dish”. In Trinidad – who ate ground beef growing up?? Definitely not anyone I knew – it was expensive and you couldn’t make it into a curry – the only place you would have any sort of ground beef, was in a meat pie or pastelle. For me, meatloaf is like the western version of fried rice – any sort of nonsense can be tossed into it – however it is rare to find quality.

The one thing I have confirmed – I love great meatloaf and frankly I haven’t found a better meatloaf than what they serve at Lou Mitchells.

Lou Mitchell’s is one of those great cultural icons and an amazing breakfast spot. It’s like the Chicago version of the Old Breakfast Shed in Port of Spain (not the new shitty shed).

It’s all old school here

  • Long lines
  • No credit cards
  • The same waitress you had 30 years ago
  • All good signs

As for the food – I would recommend this to any Trinidadian/West Indian person for the following reasons

  • Meals are massive – this is a complete belly full place
  • Prices are extremely reasonable
  • A huge breakfast menu – Omelettes come in their own omelette pan/skillet with a HUGE side order of potatoes – their is no scrimping on anything on the menu
  • All their meals are fresh and the juice is absolutely “fresh squeezed” – no Tropicana dogshit!
  • The coffee is awesome and endless/bottomless – whatever you want to call never ending
  • All service comes with attitude and picong … example below
      • Rishi : <Look at map and 4square on phone> How do I get to Wrigley Field
      • Waitress : How would I know … I’m a Sox fan
      • Rishi : But you live in Chicago
      • Waitress : Ask someone else  … !!<runs off to get another waitress, who is a Cubs fan obviously>

As for the meatloaf …

There were three slices of meatloaf under the mushroom gravy and fries … I could barely finish half of the damn thing. Did I also mention that you should walk with your own Lipitor?

This was all I could eat before asking for the doggie bag

The decor is your classic American Diner …


  • My advice would be to go for there for late Brunch – the lines early in the morning will be super long and you won’t enjoy that experience, especially in the depths of winter.
  • Get there at 1:30 or 2pm. They close at 3pm.
  • Get the Meatloaf or some form of omelette – if it is your first time. If you’re Canadian – stop complaining about the portion size … we will never see a portion like this in Canada … ok … maybe only in St John’s, Newfoundland.
  • The negative reviews on this place – are all wrong! Don’t read those – just get there a little later. Douchebag food reviewers complaining about “I ate there 30 years ago and it’s not the same now” … 30 years ago, there was no internet … do I complain about that?

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at

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