There are some things that you have to break out your inner, Hawaiian shirt wearing, camera pointing tourist for. For me, it was trekking at Machu Picchu, ice skating in the blistering cold in front of The Bean, and eating lunch at Ed Debevic’s.
Ed Debevic’s is currently located just off Michigan Avenue in the River North at 640 N Wells St. in Chicago (plans to move closer to Michigan Avenue are on the docket). Debevic’s is based off the motto: “If you like what you’re eatin’, order more. If you don’t, there’s the door.” First heard at Lill’s Homesick Diner on Highway 50, Debevic’s has stuck true to that motto, but have added their own splash of sass to it.
Since 1984, Debevic’s has been Chicago’s only retro-themed diner which specializes in flashy costumes, burgers, milkshakes and snarky waiters. I visited Debevic’s after racing around Chicago at the newly-retired Great Urban Race. My friends and I sidled into a booth and awaited the “show.” Quoted because that’s what you’ll get at Debevic’s. Choreographed dances on the bar, trays being slammed on the counter, waiters dishing up sarcasm and “are you really ordering that?” comments. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get to wear a fun hat – I wasn’t – but my friend next to me was honored with it (more like she was tossed it and told to put it on). The food at Debevic’s is normal, adequate diner fare. The menu features: fried pickles, footlong hot dogs, kitchen sink nachos, great big salads, six-way chili, grilled cheese, burgers galore and cocktails (for those who need them). I settled on a grilled cheese with a side of fries, topped off with a strawberry milkshake. The meal was nothing that left a longing impression on my tastebuds, but that’s not why I, or anyone, goes to Debevic’s. You go to enjoy a meal that you won’t hate, to be entertained and to say you’ve been there.
A photo posted by Ed Debevic’s (@eatateds) on
Where else do waiters still get a tip for being mean?
The next time you’re in Chicago and in the mood for a milkshake sweetened with sass, head on over to Ed Debevic’s to munch on some chili-cheese fries and enjoy the show; I know I did.