Oct 11, 2022 - Food and Drink

Best Day Ever: Ina Pinkney, Chicago's Breakfast Queen

Monica and Justin pose with Ina Pinkney after a recent lunch. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

Ina Pinkney closed her legendary Ina's Restaurant in 2013, but she'll forever remain Chicago's Breakfast Queen.

Driving the news: We recently met her for lunch at Eden, where we learned she's still developing recipes, making food videos for The Takeout and chairing a global advocacy group for polio survivors.

  • That's on top of beating the odds after a nasty fall. "The docs said I wouldn’t take even a few steps unaided," she said. "I told them I was from Brooklyn. Enough said?"
  • She greeted us for lunch standing up unaided!
Photo of a ferris wheel with a woman's face on it.
Ina's photo on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel. Photo courtesy of Ina Pinkney

The cooking great's ideal Chicago day:

🧺 Breakfast: "Lula Cafe. It’s iconic for its farm fresh preparations, and it always delights and satisfies."

🌳 Morning activity: "I like to go to The 606 once every summer. Urban trails thrill me."

  • "Because of the late effects of polio, I use an electric scooter which makes the 606 accessibility ramps essential.”

🍕 Lunch: "Robert's Pizza and Dough Co. in River East on the water overlooking Ogden Slip. Brick ovens, and the gluten-free crust is perfect!"

🖼️ Afternoon activity: "The Museum of Contemporary Art to see 'Chicago Works: Gregory Bae.' It encourages me to think about being in two places at once … in time and space."

🍗 Dinner: "Luella’s Southern Kitchen because I just have to have the best fried chicken and corn bread."

🍿 Evening activity: "I go to the Davis Theatre (right across the street from Luella's) for a great movie-watching experience. The theater is renovated with comfy seats and free popcorn refills."


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