Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

What’s Hot? L26

L26 is hot.

L26   11 West 26th Street Chicago, IL  Open 5pm-11pm or later everyday

This restaurant is located inside the South Loop Hotel in Chicago. You can miss it if you drive past it too quickly. This place is great for amazing soul food, sometimes great live music, and terrible service.

The only time I had amazing service there is when we threw my engagement party there. They were great that day for our private party, and they’ve sucked at service every visit since. They could stand to hire another waiter or three.

The atmosphere is splendid. It’s by far the best I’ve ever seen in a black-owned restaurant. I always spend more there than I think I should. Some items that should be together are a la carte. If you order a steak, there is nothing but a steak on your plate unless you order sides.

I’d Recommend: The macaroni and cheese. It’s divine. There’s more than enough to share, but you’ll likely eat the entire bowl by yourself. Also, try the drinks named after the train lines in Chicago. The drinks are super strong, so make sure you let them know if you want your drink a little less likely to put hair on your chest.

Stay Away From: All of the desserts. They’re not that great. And if slow service makes you reduce the tip, just eat at the bar. The bartender will make you forget you’ve been waiting 30 minutes for someone to take your order.

This restaurant would get the extra factor if not for the terribly slow service.  The food would be perfect if not for the dinner menu. The music would be perfect if there was live music more consistently. The drinks would be perfect if the wine list were just a bit longer. They consistently got four stars out of five out of hundreds of reviews.

Food (3); Music (3); Drinks (3); Atmosphere (4); Price (2); Consumer Review (3); Extra Factor (0)

L26 gets a score of 18 out of 25. And now on to the pictures.

When you first walk in the restaurant, this is what you’ll see. Looks like class and comfort all at once.

There’s a great private room in the back. It’s where I had my engagement party. For $500, it can be yours too. I made this size a little larger so you can see the great wine mural on the back wall.

There are all these little touches that add that extra something special. Here is a shot of a portion of the ceiling. Isn’t it wonderful?

And when the night falls and they set up their live music, the whole atmosphere changes. Green becomes a golden orange. Magenta becomes a plum red. The mood is officially set.

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