Heleen and Kathryn Thanas

Lou Mitchell’s sits right at the start of the Mother Road on Jackson Street in Chicago.  It is this unique distinction, plus its 94 year long commitment to good food and service, that draws many a Route 66 traveler to the restaurant.  That’s been true since the Great Depression when Americans were on the move looking for work and “Mitchell’s” as it was called then was situated near both Union Station and the Greyhound Station.   In 1992, the Thanas family, Kathryn and her two children Heleen and Nick, purchased the restaurant from Uncle Lou who was a cousin.  Over the last twenty-five years, they’ve seen the downtown loop transform.  After a decline in which many businesses left the area, there’s been a boom in real estate that has flooded the neighborhood with new residents as former factories have been converted into condos and lofts.  To keep pace with the needs of their customers, many of whom live closeby, Lou Mitchell’s now serves dinner.  The restaurant, however, is truly renowned for its breakfasts, which since 1958 have been served with free donut holes and milk duds.  Perhaps that explains why on a typical Sunday, the short order cooks have to crack 3,000 eggs to get enough omelettes out!



Related Projects