Monday, 3 June 2013

Day 3 Chicago to St. Louis

Burger Reviewed: Lou Mitchell's Restaurant - Nelly's

The weather on our previous two days in Chicago has been pretty rubbish, it was cold, wet and miserable, more suited to an English summer then America. 

Today we finally got the sunshine we'd expected, not a cloud in the sky, so we went on the first available architectural cruise tour. I'm not usually a big fan of tours, but this kept me interested throughout. It really does all come down to the tour narrator and ours was everything you'd wish for. Price was €38.75pp and lasted around 90 minutes.

Some of the buildings on the tour.

Sadly Chicago really didn't live up to the expectations I had for it, to the point where I'm convinced we missed something in the city. The magnificent mile, really had nothing magnificent and it all just seemed very reminiscent of London's Docklands. I also found similarities between Chicago and Kelly Brook, lovely to look at, not much going on.

There have been quite a few variations of Route 66 over the years but the starting point in Chicago is now on East Adams Street & South Michigan Avenue.

We were using Tom Snyder's Route 66 traveller's guide and he recommended place to fill up your stomachs before getting out of the city is Lou Mitchell's. No more then a few minutes after setting off and you're at Lou's.

Lou Mitchell's  Restaurant & Bakery

Burger: 1/2 lb burger on homemade bun with cheese and bacon
Price: $8.75 - $1 + $1.50
Location: 565 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago

The burger arrives open and it didn't look great. What appeared a dry tomato and a char on the burger which would indicate the medium rare request has been missed. Happily, I was wrong.

The beef was clearly of a high quality and cooked with a great char on the outside, whilst remaining pink and juicy on the inside. The homemade bun was also very good, soft yet firm and managed to play understudy to the patty and toppings throughout. The plastic American cheese was heating to dripping point and the tomato despite appearances was fresh, crisp and almost melted with the patty. The lettuce and slaw on the burger on the other hand missed the mark and was a bit sour and you would happily do without this. Despite being freshly cooked, the fries didn't have much flavour. 

A good quality burger which sets you off well for the 2,448 miles to California.

Overall Rating 8/10
Lou Mitchell's on Urbanspoon

On our way I'd hoped to fall upon certain unheard of places, but some landmark restaurants had been book marked and scheduled. One of these landmarks was the Launching Pad, which to our disbelief had closed. Unbelievable to think somewhere so iconic to Route 66 had to close.

Burger: Lil Nelly with bacon
Price: $3.50 + $1

Location140 Bridge St. Wilmington, Illinois

This was the kinda place I'd been hoping to come across. Unknown to me, in the middle of what seemed nowhere and serving a freshly ground and cooked burger, and at a total of $4.50, no doubt one of the cheapest burgers on the route.

Now this burger wasn't one of the greats at all, but there was nothing wrong with it. I didn't request a cooking style and the patty had been cooked through, but there was no horrible over cooked taste. It still tasted like a burger should, it was ok. The long strips of bacon too, won't win any awards for their taste but it was decent enough and had a good enough flavour and texture that wouldn't raise complaints.

So I never unearthed a gem, but I did have a good burger that you would envisage a typical Stateside roadside burger tasting of.

Overall Rating 6/10

Some sight from our drive from Chicago to St Louis. 

We arrived in St Louis quite late, especially as we'd booked through airbnb and were staying in someone's home. Thankfully our host, Karen, was lovely and still managed to give us a tour of the house and the private 2nd floor we were staying in. 
House Listing - This cost just £33 for the night. 

Distance covered - 298m


  1. Another great post. Pics are brilliant. Looking forward to hearing about the food in St.Louis

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