All posts by Lt. Haynes

The Soupbox


The Soupbox
2943 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL
(773) 935-9800

I love Broadway. In Chicago, Broadway is a narrow but busy street with lots of little shops and lousy parking. Since I was a teenager, I’ve loved all the little restaurants along Broadway. Soupbox is a great idea. A little shop with lots of different soups. In the winter time, on cold days, we used to order soup at the 019 District.

Yesterday, I happened to be near Broadway and Diversey, and stopped by the Soupbox to bring soup home for the family. I’m sorry to confess a certain disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good. I would still recommend it. I was disappointed in the cost/benefit analysis.

In Chicago these days, Mariano’s is taking over the grocery landscape. Each store has a soup bar, and they have a bunch of soups every day. The soup in comparison is just as good as the soup I got from Soupbox yesterday. At a lower cost.

I’m very conflicted in this, because I hate to see small businesses be driven out by large chains. Soupbox still has great soup, and I would still go there when I’m in the area, but I’m saddened to say that I can’t see making a special trip down to Broadway for soup anymore.

Valois Restaurant

valoisValois Restaurant
1518 E. 53rd St.
Chicago, IL 60615
002 District

The Valois Restaurant these days is known for its most famous customer, President Barack Obama. The Valois is only a few blocks from the President’s house, and he has been eating here for years prior to becoming president.

Valois has been around a lot longer than Obama, however. It originally opened in 1921 and has been at it has been at the present location since the late 1950s. These days, the neighborhood around the restaurant is gentrified and seems to have people of every demographic. With college students, pensioners, and what looked like a secret service officer having breakfast on a quiet Tuesday, the place looked like a throwback to a much more peaceful time.

It’s a cafeteria style restaurant, which is a relief to a police officer. Most police officers like to see their food prepared. Police officers have a fear that in the kitchen of every restaurant is some guy that just got out of the lockup right before he came to work, and is pissed off at every cop. Spitting on your cheeseburger is the best case scenario here, so it’s comforting to be able to see the food while its getting prepared.

At Valois, you enter and walk to the starting point of the cafeteria line. There is a big sign displaying the favorites of the President. As a Republican, I was not surprised Levitra to find that I didn’t like any of the President’s favorites. I was smart enough not to mention this to the staff, who seemed really proud that the President came there when he was in town.

I ordered a Denver omelette with toast, sausage, and coffee. Let me just say, any restaurant that screws that order up wouldn’t stay in business long in Chicago. It was very good, with large portions. The toast was just singed, and not really toasted, but other than that, the food was fine. The coffee was great. I don’t understand what makes some coffee good and some bad, but the coffee at the Valois had whatever it is that makes it really good.

I spoke to some of the other patrons, who were all neighborhood people. They said that Valois is the best restaurant in the neighborhood. Jeff Jones told me he had been coming there for fifty years. His parents had started bringing him there for breakfast on Saturdays when he was a kid, and he still went at least once during most weeks. He was having an early lunch of the roast turkey sandwich. He said the turkey was better that what his mother makes at Thanksgiving. That comment earned him a smack from the woman he was with (presumably, his mother.)

All in all, it was very good. A bright, friendly restaurant with good comfort food, in a dynamic neighborhood undergoing interesting changes.

Iron Horse Ale House

iron horseIron Horse Ale House
6158 N. Northwest Hwy.
Chicago, IL 60631
016 District

The Iron Horse just opened in Norwood Park, after what seemed like a log time of reconstruction. The northwest side ale house is contained in an old post office. As you walk into the front part of the restaurant, you see a bar off to your left, and an bright, open seating area to your front. As you go to your table, the ceiling soar’s above you. My wife told me that the building was a post office when she was a kid. The walls and the ceiling have been left in their original form, including skylight windows with iron workings that look as if they are a century old. It is easy to believe that this was once an old time rail station. iron horse ceiling

The waitress (I didn’t get her name) came over to get our drink order. My wife wanted wanted one of those weird beers with a citrus taste. They didn’t have the specific beer she wanted, but the waitress rattled off some alternatives. She had what seemed to be an encyclopedic knowledge of the beers on the menu, and how they compare to  a bunch of other beers. It was pretty impressive, as this was only the second day they were open. The Iron Horse has a large selection of craft beer, and when my wife decided on one, the waitress brought her a sample.

In the back of the main dining room, they have a wood fired pizza oven, and a guy that makes pizza in view of all the diners.  As a police officer, I always like to see my food being prepared. I was also interested if the pizza was as good as the Spacc Napoli pizza, so I ordered a 12″ Italian pizza, with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, sausage, garlic, roasted bell peppers, evoo, parmesan, pecorino for $12.95. They also have a 16″ pizza for $22.95. These are new york style thin pizzas, and while I will show my bias to say that Chicago Style Pizza is better, the Iron Horse pizza was very good.

My wife ordered a very nice salad. It was good, but it was a salad.

I asked around and some of the other police officers who were there said the chicken wings were good as well. I cannot attest to that myself, because they refused to share. That might mean the wings were really good, or that police sergeants are too selfish to give up a lousy wing to the cause. Thanks John.

All in all, I liked the ambiance and the food. It’s good to have another good restaurant on the northwest side. Check out their facebook page at

Moody’s Pub

Moody’s Pub
5910 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60660safe_image
024 District

We reviewed Moody’s Pub in “The Beat Cop’s Guide to Chicago Eats,” and it’s one of my old favorites. I lived in Andersonville for years after I got out of the Marine Corps, and it’s one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. The 024 District has probably the most diverse population in the country, and you can always find interesting things to see and do (and eat!) day or night.

Moody’s is famous for their burgers and onion rings. So when my wife found a coupon for half off a burger on the internet, I thought it was great. I hadn’t been there in quite a while, and was interested to see if it had changed.

When we got there, the dining room was almost empty, but there was a slight wait for a garden table. we headed out to the nearly unlit courtyard and got our table. I don’t think there were any lights at all, only candles. I don’t mean that to sound bad, I loved it. Although my wife had a little trouble reading the menu until we got a candle.

Things started to go a little bad when a frazzled waitress came up and asked what we wanted to drink, my wife hadn’t decided yet and asked for a minute. The waitress hurried away, and we didn’t see her for about ten minutes. When she came back (finally) we gave her a drink order, and she then brought someone else’s drinks to us. She apologetically got us the right drinks.

They were out of onion rings. Which sucks. We did get there late (around 9 p.m.) and it says on there menu that they may run out. I was really looking forward to them.

We ordered different kinds of Cheese on our burgers, I ordered pepper jack, my wife ordered bleu cheese. We split each one (cause that’s the way we roll) and took half of each. There burgers were fantastic. Moody’s found whatever secret ingredient that makes great burgers years ago and I’m glad to see it hasn’t changed.

I had only one real complaint. They don’t give refills on drinks. I had a diet coke, and they told me they would charge me for a refill. Plus they don’t bring water to the table unless you ask. I thought that was a little chintzy.

With the coupon, the whole bill was around $25 dollars. I can’t complain about the price. In a world of rising prices, the fact that an iconic place like Moody’s still charges less that ten bucks for a gourmet burger, good fries and a drink is really nice to see. Moody’s is still a great place to go eat on a summer night.