The crowd gets huge at Lou Mitchell's so it's best to go at a slightly off time or to be willing to wait. Right now it's frigidly cold out, but they were nice enough to put some heat lamps up for the line that formed outside. Luckily we didn't have to wait too long. They don't take reservations, but they are famous for keeping the line happy. While you wait the hostess hands out doughnut holes and milk duds.
We were sat at one of their breakfast counters which was a bit odd since we weren't facing each other, but it added to the nostalgia of the place. Our service was great, and it seems like all of the servers have been there since they first opened in 1923 (they haven't lost a step though, and I swear this one lady could carry more plates than the guy at El Toro).
The cost is reasonable for how much food you get and where you're at. You'll probably spend $10-12 a person, and you'll get enough food where you don't have to eat for the rest of the day.
The first thing we got was their version of a breakfast amuse bouche which was really just an orange slice and a prune. Then we got a coffee cake to share. The key is asking for it warm. It was delicious and had a lot of nuts and chocolate.
The Coffee Cake
For our main dishes Noam got the Lox Platter, Lisa got the Espaniole Omelette, dad got the Oatmeal, Mom got the Greek Cheese Special Omelette, and I got the Apple and Cheese Omelette. If you haven't figured it out yet, the thing to get here is an Omelette. Universally they were fluffy as could be and were well proportioned as far as ingredients go. The Espaniole had a salsa like onion sauce with some peppers. The flavors were nice, but the veggies were a bit mushy. The oatmeal was very standard, nothing too fancy. The Greek Cheese Omelette is what everyone should get, especially if you like feta cheese. Although it's a standard dish you can get most anywhere, it was just perfectly done. As far as my omelette goes, I'd never been one for Apples and Cheese until Maddie and I competed in the Bucktown Apple Pie Competition and got to try tons of apple pies with cheddar cheese. This Omelette incorporated those flavors really well. A nice amount of cheese filled the center, and it was topped with spiced apples. I don't think I'd had spiced apples since like 7 years ago at a Boston Market, and this was a welcomed return. All of the Omelettes came with toast and Home Fries. The Home Fries were pretty good, but I would ask for them well done next time since the crispier ones were clearly better.
The Sweet Apple Omellete
The Greek Cheese Omelette
The Lox Platter
The last tradition was the dessert. Everyone gets soft serve ice cream in a small cup before the end of the meal. It's nothing spectacular, but it's a nice touch.
The Soft Serve Ice Cream
People always ask me for recommendations that are uniquely Chicago. Well there's nothing unique about great omelettes, but Lou Mitchell's is a Chicago landmark. On one end, it's kind of something you have to do while in Chicago, but on the other end they have really good food so it's not like some touristy chore (like the St. Louis Arch). Trying to focus on it just as a restaurant with excellent food and some interesting gimmicks, I'm going to give Lou Mitchell's 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.