7 Iconic Diners in Chicago You Must Eat at to Be a True Chicagoan

The hash-brown bucket list

We love a trendy brunch of red-velvet pancakes and avocado toast as much as the next lady. But every so often we need to get back to basics. On those days, we head to one of these seven iconic diners in Chicago, where little has changed in decades and your eggs always come with hash browns.


chicago diners lou mitchells
Tom Kelly/Flickr

1. Lou Mitchell’s

Opened by “Uncle” Lou Mitchell in 1923, this West Loop staple claims it’s cracked enough farm-fresh eggs over the years to wrap at least a few times around the world. Beyond the omelets, skillets and pancakes, the best part might be the complimentary homemade doughnut hole you get when you walk in. Oh, and women and children receive mini boxes of Milk Duds—don’t ask why, just smile and chew.

565 W. Jackson Blvd.; 312-939-3111 or

chicago diners sarkis

2. Sarkis

This Evanston hole-in-the-wall has earned a devoted cult following among North Shore denizens. They flock here for Loretta—a sandwich, not a woman. A feast for $7, the Loretta layers white cheese, mayo, peppers, tomatoes, onions and your choice of bacon, ham, turkey or chorizo on a six-inch French roll.

2632 Gross Point Rd., Evanston; 847-328-9703 or

chicao diner iconic

3. Chicago Diner

Proudly meat-free since 1983, Chicago Diner serves up classic diner staples without any animal products. Yep, there's steak and eggs, Reuben sandwiches and chilaquiles all without meat, cheese or eggs and just as good as the real thing. But it’s the oh-so-creamy milkshakes that will convert committed carnivores.

3411 N. Halsted St.; 773-935-6696 or

chicago diner white palace grill

4. White Palace Grill

The South Loop has changed a lot since this 24-hour diner opened back in 1939. But the simple menu of eggs, bacon, pancakes and more has not, and we hope it never does. Stop by, sink into a red vinyl booth and get your fix of classic diner fare.

1159 S. Canal St.; 312-939-7167 or

chicago diner uncle mikes place

5. Uncle Mike’s Place

First-timers may come to Uncle Mike’s Place on the hunt for the perfect omelet or patty melt, but they quickly learn there’s much more to savor. The cozy family-run restaurant has a full menu of Filipino-American fare. Warm up with a bowl of lugao (chicken rice soup), try some tocino (Filipino bacon) with your eggs or go whole-hog with a side of spicy fried Spam.

1700 W. Grand Ave.; 312-226-5318 or

chicago diner diner grill

6. Diner Grill

Nestled inside two converted streetcars, this 24-hour gem will satisfy your cravings for both retro kitsch and greasy food. (It’s a favorite among Lakeview’s late-night bar crowd.) The specialty is the “slinger,” a plate piled with two burger patties, hash browns, two eggs, and chili, but you can also get a simpler meal of buttered toast and eggs any way.

1635 W. Irving Park Rd.; 773-248-2030

chicago diner mannys cafeteria

7. Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen

Grab a tray, your silverware and do your best to make quick decisions as you make your way down the cafeteria line. If you’re heading there for breakfast, we suggest the eggs or French toast—mostly because either is served with Manny's famous corned beef, pastrami, salami or turkey. Oh, and ask for an extra latke. You’re welcome.

1141 S. Jefferson St.; 312-939-2855 or

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amanda nyren

Writer, yogi, mom to about a dozen houseplants

A lifelong Chicago resident, Amanda started covering the local scene for PureWow in 2016. She's a freelance writer and content strategist.