Eleven City Diner, Chicago

Eleven City Diner was created by its owner Brad Rubin to  bring its patrons back in time to the 1940s and 1950s when the country was alive with post-war celebrations, when the Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby crooned from the radios of the family Studebaker’s radio, and neon lights beckoned diners to climb into a leather-button booth to enjoy a cozy  bowl of matzoh ball soup.

Hipstorical: Eleven City Diner Chicago Interior

You may not arrive in a 1945 Studebaker, but the neon lights still glow brightly, and the crackle of WWII-era tunes set the scene perfectly for a DELIcious meal at Eleven City Diner. Located in the South Loop, the building was once home to a printing press and then a bank before it began hosting hungry Chicagoans.


Our meal started with an incredible Knish– a light, flaky pillow of dough erupting with mashed potatos or meat, depending on which variety you prefer. (I unfortunately was so hungry upon receiving the first course that I failed to snap a picture. It was just that delicious). Next, I had my first taste of motzoh ball soup (pictured below), which immediately comforted and warmed me from the inside–as if I had a loving Jewish grandmother who’d been brewing it for me since I was a child.

Hipstorical: Eleven City Diner Chicago Motzah Ball Soup

And for the main course:  the #43: corned beef piled high, on an old-school latke (potato pancake), smear of sour cream, topped with fried onion strings on a twisted challah roll–although we switch out the corned beef for turkey pastrami. (See this stunning pile of meat below). This may have been the best sandwich I’ve ever had.

Hipstorical: Eleven City Diner Chicago Deli

A hipstorian tip: invite a friend for lunch and split a sandwich–I promise you won’t go home hungry.

Eleven offers a full menu that includes its all-day breakfast, mac and cheese, salads, deli sandwiches, melts, brisket, dinner plates, burgers and dogs, old-fashioned sodas and floats from the fountain, shakes, malts, and banana splits. Stop by the old-fashioned candy counter on the way out to fill up a satchel of your favorite sweets. Or visit Eleven’s other location in Lincoln Park!

Hipstorical: Eleven City Diner Chicago Candy Counter

Motzah ball, challah bread, knish, latke, pastrami– all firsts for me, and all in one meal. Visit Eleven City Diner to experience a vibrant culture and time in history through its hipstorical setting and incredible food!

Hipstorical: Eleven City Diner Chicago Exterior

Suggestions for more hipstorical places in Chicago? Email me and help me build my archives!