How do you explain Ed Debevic's? The legendary downtown Chicago diner, whose original location closed six years ago and was torn down, has now reopened with new owners and a location not far from where it was originally located. But if you're going visiting to Chicago and you think you're up for it, this is a one of a kind experience, no doubt.
How do you explain Ed Debevic's, indeed. Well, this is good try. "Ed Debevic’s restaurant, famous for its 1950s decor and theatrically surly waitstaff"; This was truly a concept restaurant, that opened in 1984, and it truly was a 50's diner, complete with staff playing the stereotypical roles of rude, gum-chewing, sassy waiters and waitresses. Yes, it was "wink-wink", but some folks didn't get the joke. By the way, among it's famous alumni was David Schwimmer of "Friends".
(AKTOR via YouTube)
There are so many destination restaurants in downtown Chicago, and Eddie's might be the complete opposite of that in some ways. It's sort of dinner theater turned on its side. And the crew dances every hour on the hour.
So back in the day, Eddie's was in the River North area on Wells Street. It was co-founded by a legendary Chicago restauranteur, Rich Melman, who's company, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in a mega restaurant group. It's now owned by the same people (Bravo Restaurants) who own Gino's East. (one of "Holy Trinity" of Chicago pizza joints.) Eddie's new digs are at 159 East Ohio St.
The food? It's a diner. Meatloaf sandwiches. The world's smallest sundae. Phosphates. Green River soda. (The food is 50's diner, the prices are 2021.)
But let me warn you, from personal experience: If you are thinking of taking grandma and grandpa out, and they're not "fun", they may be offended. But if you're going with friends, you may want to try this place. In fact, former President Barack Obama rented the old location for a birthday party for one of his daughters.
One final note: Heed the warning at Ed's. "Children left unattended will be towed at the owner's expense."