Pauline's

★★★☆☆
  • 1754 W Balmoral Ave

    Chicago, IL 60640

    Map & Directions
  • 773-561-8573

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Had breakfast at Pauline's today. What a great place to eat. We sat outside as the day was beautiful. It was Saturday and the place was busy. We had a wonderful waitress who was on top of her game. The breakfast was outstanding. The

3
★★★★★

Had breakfast at Pauline's today. What a great place to eat. We sat outside as the day was beautiful. It was Saturday and the place was busy. We had a wonderful waitress who was on top of her game. The breakfast was outstanding. The

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My husband and I first went to Pauline's in the dead of January, and it was definitely worth trudging through snow to get there. The diner is crowded and busy, which what makes it fun and authentic. The menu is extensive, I had an amazing plate of French toast with compote (which was also excellent leftover after putting it in the freezer...) Service was good, the owner or manager there was very friendly. Love the 50s feeling.

4
★★★★☆

My husband and I first went to Pauline's in the dead of January, and it was definitely worth trudging through snow to get there. The diner is crowded and busy, which what makes it fun and authentic. The menu is extensive, I had an amazing plate of French toast with compote (which was also excellent leftover after putting it in the freezer...) Service was good, the owner or manager there was very friendly. Love the 50s feeling.

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Not recommended. Service was extremely slow, even though there were a couple empty tables. The space was tight. I was seated under the menu bin, and the waitress proceeded to drop a menu on my head. The food is nothing special, though the portion are decent - BUT BEWARE, they only accept cash. No signs on the door or menu, nor any mention by the waitress. "Conveniently" they have their own ATM machine (with a $2.50 surcharge) in the front of the restaurant. Not a bad scam: If 100 customers a day are surprised by the cash only policy and use the ATM, then a tidy $250 is pocketed on a daily basis. I would not recommend this place... there are many better choices in the neighborhood.

1
★★☆☆☆

Not recommended. Service was extremely slow, even though there were a couple empty tables. The space was tight. I was seated under the menu bin, and the waitress proceeded to drop a menu on my head. The food is nothing special, though the portion are decent - BUT BEWARE, they only accept cash. No signs on the door or menu, nor any mention by the waitress. "Conveniently" they have their own ATM machine (with a $2.50 surcharge) in the front of the restaurant. Not a bad scam: If 100 customers a day are surprised by the cash only policy and use the ATM, then a tidy $250 is pocketed on a daily basis. I would not recommend this place... there are many better choices in the neighborhood.

Pros: None

Cons: Cash Only, Poor Service, so-so food

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thinking everyone deserves a second chance, we tried it again. breakfast food remains ok. how much harm can be done to a couple of eggs. however, the price is too high for the meal and front end staff is laconic bordering on rude. change the attitude of the waitstaff - maybe the waitstaff itself - and you have a viable alternative to m. henry.

never again.

0
★☆☆☆☆

thinking everyone deserves a second chance, we tried it again. breakfast food remains ok. how much harm can be done to a couple of eggs. however, the price is too high for the meal and front end staff is laconic bordering on rude. change the attitude of the waitstaff - maybe the waitstaff itself - and you have a viable alternative to m. henry.

never again.

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We so wanted this place to become a regular breakfast joint for us. It's close, and the food is not that bad. But oh my the service. Its not that anyone was malicious, just inattentive and clueless. You wouldnt think you could mess up breakfast service, but they find a way. Its also dirty. Not in a quaint greasy spoon way but more in a "whats that stuff on my coffee cup sort of way".
I could go on and on but whats the point? Eating here is like playing breakfast roulette. Go at your own risk.

0
★☆☆☆☆

We so wanted this place to become a regular breakfast joint for us. It's close, and the food is not that bad. But oh my the service. Its not that anyone was malicious, just inattentive and clueless. You wouldnt think you could mess up breakfast service, but they find a way. Its also dirty. Not in a quaint greasy spoon way but more in a "whats that stuff on my coffee cup sort of way".
I could go on and on but whats the point? Eating here is like playing breakfast roulette. Go at your own risk.

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Waited to be seated on a busy Sunday afternoon. Fine. Then waited a half hour for someone to take our drink order. After we received our drinks twenty minutes later, it was another forty-five minutes from then that we decided to get up and leave. The restaurant was half empty! We asked the hostess a couple times to please send over our waitress. We weren't the only ones complaining. Our waitress passed by us several times without even making eye contact. When we did get her attention she simply looked off into the distance and said, "I'll be right with you, ok?" and walked away. She was obviously inexperienced, but they were not short on staff. It seemed like thirty other people were milling about ignoring us. Will never go back and will discourage others from doing the same.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Waited to be seated on a busy Sunday afternoon. Fine. Then waited a half hour for someone to take our drink order. After we received our drinks twenty minutes later, it was another forty-five minutes from then that we decided to get up and leave. The restaurant was half empty! We asked the hostess a couple times to please send over our waitress. We weren't the only ones complaining. Our waitress passed by us several times without even making eye contact. When we did get her attention she simply looked off into the distance and said, "I'll be right with you, ok?" and walked away. She was obviously inexperienced, but they were not short on staff. It seemed like thirty other people were milling about ignoring us. Will never go back and will discourage others from doing the same.

Pros: Have no idea

Cons: Horrible service, extremely long waits, nobody cares to compensate unhappy customers

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The worst part about this place is the service. It isn't listed on here, but they do carry outs. One time I called to place an order for carry out and at first the person who answered the phone hung up on me. Then my finance tried calling to place the order and was told to "hold on." They put the phone down and walked away without putting it on hold for around 10 minutes. We finally hung up on our side, because we could hear people talking and laughing in the background. Even if you dine in, the service isn't much better. If the food was better I would recommend this place, but the food is average and the service is terrible. After the last incident, I don't plan on going back again.

0
★☆☆☆☆

The worst part about this place is the service. It isn't listed on here, but they do carry outs. One time I called to place an order for carry out and at first the person who answered the phone hung up on me. Then my finance tried calling to place the order and was told to "hold on." They put the phone down and walked away without putting it on hold for around 10 minutes. We finally hung up on our side, because we could hear people talking and laughing in the background. Even if you dine in, the service isn't much better. If the food was better I would recommend this place, but the food is average and the service is terrible. After the last incident, I don't plan on going back again.

Pros: Fresh orange juice

Cons: Service

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WHAT a waste. Being dirty and decorated from a resale shop does not make a space retro or kitschy. Rude staff ordering people in a small space not to stand in window and block the light. Instead they have people standing over diners while they are eating. The people standing by/over us were covered in pet hair...coughed...talked loudly and used race-ist profane language. 3 different staff people asked us if we wanted coffee, we ended up with 6 cups on the table, 2 of which they spilled on us. The food was marginal at best, but served cold.

The manager/woman with the eyeshadow was too busy to talk to us, so we paid and left. BEWARE...unless dirty dining surroundings, and an overwhelming sense of "kitsch" is your preferred cuisine experience, bypass this joint for a real diner with gracious staff/owners.

1
★★★☆☆

WHAT a waste. Being dirty and decorated from a resale shop does not make a space retro or kitschy. Rude staff ordering people in a small space not to stand in window and block the light. Instead they have people standing over diners while they are eating. The people standing by/over us were covered in pet hair...coughed...talked loudly and used race-ist profane language. 3 different staff people asked us if we wanted coffee, we ended up with 6 cups on the table, 2 of which they spilled on us. The food was marginal at best, but served cold.

The manager/woman with the eyeshadow was too busy to talk to us, so we paid and left. BEWARE...unless dirty dining surroundings, and an overwhelming sense of "kitsch" is your preferred cuisine experience, bypass this joint for a real diner with gracious staff/owners.

Pros: I know not to go back.

Cons: I went once.

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Trying to be a traveller (and NOT a tourist) makes me seek out these neighborhood spots when I travel. And this is quite literally a neighborhood spot. After getting off the 22-Clark St. bus and heading west, I thought that there couldn't be restaurant here...it's all residential neighborhood. But out of the tree-lined streets is a small commercial lot and a diner -- Pauline's. I first read about this place while seeking out breakfast places in Chicago on chowhound.com.

Paulines is a small place with great food. We went on a Saturday morning, but got there around 8:30 or 9:00am. The place was only half full (it was full and line was just beginning to form when we left.) The coffee was out of this world. I must have told my wife, "This is the best coffee" at least half a dozen times.

We both ordered the eggs, potatoes and meat plate. Everything was terrific. I can see why this is a popular spot. Waitress Maria had no problem substituting a biscuit for toast for my wife. (She seemed to know a lot of people that came in, as if they were regulars.)

This seems to be a 100% locals place (which I love when I find them...it's like I'm getting in on the 'real' Chicago.) I couldn't pick out any other tourists (although my wife and I probably stuck out like a sore thumb!) There are lots of poor reviews on this site related to service. We had a great experience and looking at the other folks in the restaurant, they were having a good experience, too. Maybe the trick is getting there before the crowd. If the service were really that poor, I wouldn't expect lines out the door every weekend as others have attested to.

We took the northbound 22-Clark St. bus all the way from out hotel in river north, however it's probably much faster to take a red-line train and catch the 22 further up (like at Belmont or Addison.) But the bus ride up Clark was great and we enjoyed all the neighborhoods we traversed through. Being a Saturday, there were many street markets setup selling food and flowers, another bonus.

2
★★★★★

Trying to be a traveller (and NOT a tourist) makes me seek out these neighborhood spots when I travel. And this is quite literally a neighborhood spot. After getting off the 22-Clark St. bus and heading west, I thought that there couldn't be restaurant here...it's all residential neighborhood. But out of the tree-lined streets is a small commercial lot and a diner -- Pauline's. I first read about this place while seeking out breakfast places in Chicago on chowhound.com.

Paulines is a small place with great food. We went on a Saturday morning, but got there around 8:30 or 9:00am. The place was only half full (it was full and line was just beginning to form when we left.) The coffee was out of this world. I must have told my wife, "This is the best coffee" at least half a dozen times.

We both ordered the eggs, potatoes and meat plate. Everything was terrific. I can see why this is a popular spot. Waitress Maria had no problem substituting a biscuit for toast for my wife. (She seemed to know a lot of people that came in, as if they were regulars.)

This seems to be a 100% locals place (which I love when I find them...it's like I'm getting in on the 'real' Chicago.) I couldn't pick out any other tourists (although my wife and I probably stuck out like a sore thumb!) There are lots of poor reviews on this site related to service. We had a great experience and looking at the other folks in the restaurant, they were having a good experience, too. Maybe the trick is getting there before the crowd. If the service were really that poor, I wouldn't expect lines out the door every weekend as others have attested to.

We took the northbound 22-Clark St. bus all the way from out hotel in river north, however it's probably much faster to take a red-line train and catch the 22 further up (like at Belmont or Addison.) But the bus ride up Clark was great and we enjoyed all the neighborhoods we traversed through. Being a Saturday, there were many street markets setup selling food and flowers, another bonus.

Pros: Food, neighborhood joint

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One item ordered was a Chai Tea with whipped-cream, cinammon, and crushed chocolate chips. Surly waitress brings a Chai teabag&waterpot. She takes it away and returns with whipped cream and cinammon - where's the choc. chips? - don't have. Next,FrenchToastEtouffee, was to have apple&cranberry. No cranberry nor any cranberry taste, - a manager comes and says it has cranberries, - I offer him $5 to find one, declines. He takes the dish in the back, and announces he tasted it (did he bite mine? I have just had the flu?) and it has cranberries but they're emulsified he says. Then I say OK, bring me some non-emulsified cranberries on the side, but then they say they don't have any and what else would I like instead. The manager says, he doesn't want to get in a pi--ing match with me! They also forgot the toast on our omelette order!

0
★☆☆☆☆

One item ordered was a Chai Tea with whipped-cream, cinammon, and crushed chocolate chips. Surly waitress brings a Chai teabag&waterpot. She takes it away and returns with whipped cream and cinammon - where's the choc. chips? - don't have. Next,FrenchToastEtouffee, was to have apple&cranberry. No cranberry nor any cranberry taste, - a manager comes and says it has cranberries, - I offer him $5 to find one, declines. He takes the dish in the back, and announces he tasted it (did he bite mine? I have just had the flu?) and it has cranberries but they're emulsified he says. Then I say OK, bring me some non-emulsified cranberries on the side, but then they say they don't have any and what else would I like instead. The manager says, he doesn't want to get in a pi--ing match with me! They also forgot the toast on our omelette order!

Pros: good food

Cons: service

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I'm not sure what's up with the negative reviews. Yes, service can lag at times, but I don't go here to race thru my food. The appeal of Paulines is the laid back atmosphere, the great breakfasts, and the overall feel. This is the type of place that you used to find throughout Andersonville. I am a BIG fan of the French Toast, any omlette, and out of this world fried potatoes.
The secret to this joint is NOT to go when it's crowded, nor with a large group. Follow those rules, and Paulines will become a favorite stop.

2
★★★★☆

I'm not sure what's up with the negative reviews. Yes, service can lag at times, but I don't go here to race thru my food. The appeal of Paulines is the laid back atmosphere, the great breakfasts, and the overall feel. This is the type of place that you used to find throughout Andersonville. I am a BIG fan of the French Toast, any omlette, and out of this world fried potatoes.
The secret to this joint is NOT to go when it's crowded, nor with a large group. Follow those rules, and Paulines will become a favorite stop.

Pros: Great Breakfast, reasonable price, intimate

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I go to Paulines every time that I'm in town and I find the service to be very friendly. The food might not be exactly how you like it cooked, but the manager is usually more than happy to make it as close as possible. And the ambience is great! It's got a retro, family feel to it that makes it a comfortable place to eat. As a general warning though, if you show up around noon on the weekends, there might be a wait. Other than that, I highly recommend Paulines for breakfast!!

2
★★★★☆

I go to Paulines every time that I'm in town and I find the service to be very friendly. The food might not be exactly how you like it cooked, but the manager is usually more than happy to make it as close as possible. And the ambience is great! It's got a retro, family feel to it that makes it a comfortable place to eat. As a general warning though, if you show up around noon on the weekends, there might be a wait. Other than that, I highly recommend Paulines for breakfast!!

Pros: Ambience, Service, Food Portions

Cons: New waitresses

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Our party of 5 was placed at a table for 3. There was literally no room to put the plates. Some of us ended up ordering only coffee because we were seated at chairs that had no portion of the table top in front of them. It was without a doubt the worst restaurant experience I can remember. I think that my friend who recommended this place has lost her mind.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Our party of 5 was placed at a table for 3. There was literally no room to put the plates. Some of us ended up ordering only coffee because we were seated at chairs that had no portion of the table top in front of them. It was without a doubt the worst restaurant experience I can remember. I think that my friend who recommended this place has lost her mind.

Pros: none

Cons: uncomfortable, tables too close, bad service

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I enjoyed the food ,service and the value . I will and do recommend paulines to all who ask. Thank you Ron nice job

2
★★★★★

I enjoyed the food ,service and the value . I will and do recommend paulines to all who ask. Thank you Ron nice job

Pros: food, service, price

Cons: parking

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This used to be a great place. Friendly, inviting, good food. Since new ownership (not sure how long ago--maybe a couple of years?), the staff is downright rude, the service is scattered, frazzled, unprofessional and horribly slow. What kind of breafkast place cannot make an omelet with mushrooms and sausage? "No substitutes," the surly waitress yells. So, it's easier to make an omelet with five ingredients than two? I don't think so. There are way too many excellent places for breakfast to continue patronizing one just because you used to like it.

0
★☆☆☆☆

This used to be a great place. Friendly, inviting, good food. Since new ownership (not sure how long ago--maybe a couple of years?), the staff is downright rude, the service is scattered, frazzled, unprofessional and horribly slow. What kind of breafkast place cannot make an omelet with mushrooms and sausage? "No substitutes," the surly waitress yells. So, it's easier to make an omelet with five ingredients than two? I don't think so. There are way too many excellent places for breakfast to continue patronizing one just because you used to like it.

Pros: slow service, surly service, rude service

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Arrive and get a small cup of fresh juice, order amazing blueberry pancakes and enjoy a strong cup of java. There are also an extensive variety of omellets you can order from. However, beware, someday's you may be met by bad service, and a cold shoulder from the manager who turns a deaf ear on meeting customer needs.

1
★★★☆☆

Arrive and get a small cup of fresh juice, order amazing blueberry pancakes and enjoy a strong cup of java. There are also an extensive variety of omellets you can order from. However, beware, someday's you may be met by bad service, and a cold shoulder from the manager who turns a deaf ear on meeting customer needs.

Pros: Blueberry Pancakes, Ambiance, Service

Cons: , Service

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Tried twice. The first time I thought it was the slowest service I had ever had. Changed my mind the second time I went, as that was worse yet. The food isn't even close to being worth the wait. On the plus side, we had plenty of time for conversation. On the minus side, all we ended up talking about was how rude and slow the servers were and how it is remarkable that they've stayed open.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Tried twice. The first time I thought it was the slowest service I had ever had. Changed my mind the second time I went, as that was worse yet. The food isn't even close to being worth the wait. On the plus side, we had plenty of time for conversation. On the minus side, all we ended up talking about was how rude and slow the servers were and how it is remarkable that they've stayed open.

Pros: , interesting decor

Cons: , terrible service

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The place does do monster business, but they do not handle it well. The food is an attempt at premium/gourmet, with a premium price. Great place if you are a yuppie with kids that wants to be seen by other local yuppies. If they screw up your order, do not look for sympathy from the owner/manager, he was downright rude. If you are looking for a sweet and intimate breakfast joint, go down Ravenswood to Sunnyside, and hit Joanne and Son's, the best MTO breakfast value in the neighborhood. I've had too many bad experiences here, and won't go back.

0
★☆☆☆☆

The place does do monster business, but they do not handle it well. The food is an attempt at premium/gourmet, with a premium price. Great place if you are a yuppie with kids that wants to be seen by other local yuppies. If they screw up your order, do not look for sympathy from the owner/manager, he was downright rude. If you are looking for a sweet and intimate breakfast joint, go down Ravenswood to Sunnyside, and hit Joanne and Son's, the best MTO breakfast value in the neighborhood. I've had too many bad experiences here, and won't go back.

Pros: Good ingredients, Outdoor Patio

Cons: Expensive, Owner has attitude, WORST SERVICE EVER

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While I respect differing opinions, I would have to say that any positive reviews of this overrated pit are wrong. 'Getting monster business' does not give the waiters and waitresses license to treat you like garbage, and the food is average when prepared well, but omelettes that liquify when you puncture them, raw bacon, and grainy coffee do not qualify as a nice sunday breakfast. The only restaurant I have ever felt justified in walking out of. Go somewhere else.

0
★☆☆☆☆

While I respect differing opinions, I would have to say that any positive reviews of this overrated pit are wrong. 'Getting monster business' does not give the waiters and waitresses license to treat you like garbage, and the food is average when prepared well, but omelettes that liquify when you puncture them, raw bacon, and grainy coffee do not qualify as a nice sunday breakfast. The only restaurant I have ever felt justified in walking out of. Go somewhere else.

Pros: colorful, relatively cheap, close to home

Cons: bad food, bad service, kind of dirty

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My favorite 'neighborhood' breakfast spot, by far. The omelettes and pancakes are especially good. Come hungry, but not so hungry that you can't wait a while, because lines can be long and service tends to be more than a little slow. Not for those who expect I-Hop or Denny's.

2
★★★★☆

My favorite 'neighborhood' breakfast spot, by far. The omelettes and pancakes are especially good. Come hungry, but not so hungry that you can't wait a while, because lines can be long and service tends to be more than a little slow. Not for those who expect I-Hop or Denny's.

Pros: cute 'diner' ambience, great breakfast

Cons: long lines on weekend, slow service at times

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Great BIG Blueberry pancakes. It's more like eating a loaf of bread(based on amount) Great eggs. The potatoes are awesome, cooked with onions, peppers and ?? There still great even though I'm not sure how they are seasoned. Just a fun neighborhood joint to go have breakfast at. Oh yeah, don't forget the GIANT candy dish on the way out.

2
★★★★★

Great BIG Blueberry pancakes. It's more like eating a loaf of bread(based on amount) Great eggs. The potatoes are awesome, cooked with onions, peppers and ?? There still great even though I'm not sure how they are seasoned. Just a fun neighborhood joint to go have breakfast at. Oh yeah, don't forget the GIANT candy dish on the way out.

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Great breakfast. French toast and eggs were great, hot a nd spicy mexican eggs.

2
★★★★★

Great breakfast. French toast and eggs were great, hot a nd spicy mexican eggs.

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Pauline's is across from my house, providing a nice wake-up smell. We go there a lot. They have good food, when you get it. Something happens to my order about half of the time I go. But that's just on the weekends. If you go during a weekday, you get great service and great food. This place does monster business and has lines out the door. No wonder the staff's a little scattered. Also, the best looking menus I've ever seen!

2
★★★★☆

Pauline's is across from my house, providing a nice wake-up smell. We go there a lot. They have good food, when you get it. Something happens to my order about half of the time I go. But that's just on the weekends. If you go during a weekday, you get great service and great food. This place does monster business and has lines out the door. No wonder the staff's a little scattered. Also, the best looking menus I've ever seen!

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The breakfast is probably one of the best in the city. They have large portions and you never go away hungry. I have seen dog clubs and other pet owners there with their pets. I take my macaw there whenever possible.

2
★★★★★

The breakfast is probably one of the best in the city. They have large portions and you never go away hungry. I have seen dog clubs and other pet owners there with their pets. I take my macaw there whenever possible.

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Occasionally when I decide that I want breakfast very early in the morning, my mom and I head over to Paulines. A casual comfort spot that serves breakfast like no two other. Im an omelette fan, so I always order omelette, and never have they failed on my taste buds.

2
★★★★★

Occasionally when I decide that I want breakfast very early in the morning, my mom and I head over to Paulines. A casual comfort spot that serves breakfast like no two other. Im an omelette fan, so I always order omelette, and never have they failed on my taste buds.

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Pauline's is a great little neighborhood place, fun for Sunday brunch with friends. Service can be a crap shoot - you get what the dice give you. Having had a number of enjoyable meals with friends at Pauline's, I took my parents there for a Father's Day brunch. Granted, the day was a busy one, but the meal ended up being one of my worst dining experiences ever in the Chicago area. I found myself making apologies, saying that the food and service was usually so much better. Father's Day brunch 2002 at Pauline's was, honestly, an all-time low. Having said that, Pauline's is very good at serving up traditional breakfast favorites - at an affordable price. The omlettes are great, and the specials usually meet expectations. Always plan on spending some time waiting in line on the weekends - not a place to go if you're in a hurry.

1
★★★☆☆

Pauline's is a great little neighborhood place, fun for Sunday brunch with friends. Service can be a crap shoot - you get what the dice give you. Having had a number of enjoyable meals with friends at Pauline's, I took my parents there for a Father's Day brunch. Granted, the day was a busy one, but the meal ended up being one of my worst dining experiences ever in the Chicago area. I found myself making apologies, saying that the food and service was usually so much better. Father's Day brunch 2002 at Pauline's was, honestly, an all-time low. Having said that, Pauline's is very good at serving up traditional breakfast favorites - at an affordable price. The omlettes are great, and the specials usually meet expectations. Always plan on spending some time waiting in line on the weekends - not a place to go if you're in a hurry.

Pros: Traditional Favorites, Great Specials, Fun Place for Friends

Cons: Service is a Gamble, Long Weekend Waits, Noise/Music Levels

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This is a catchy local restaurant with good food and great service - breakfast and lunch only. Just don't sdtand there holding the door open while you try to decide whether you want to get up thyis morning.

2
★★★★★

This is a catchy local restaurant with good food and great service - breakfast and lunch only. Just don't sdtand there holding the door open while you try to decide whether you want to get up thyis morning.

Editorial from

The Scene
This nostalgic, long-standing spot has red vinyl booths, a long counter covered with photos of film stars and movie posters, and naturally, diner-food favorites. It's an Andersonville institution, drawing an all-ages…

 

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