Mourning over the Lincoln

Lincoln-Restaurant-Chicago-photograph-20081-800x600

I write about Abraham Lincoln a lot in this space. And maybe it’s a natural extension of that for the Lincoln restaurant (which I have always thought of as “The Lincoln”) was one of my favorite places to eat. So the dismay that I feel at the news that it will be closing its doors at the end of the year is very profound.

I enjoyed the Sunday ritual that my wife and I used to have, particularly before we had children. We would go there and brave the thick blankets of smoke that always hung in the air. The idea that a place like that would ever do without smoking was almost inconceivable to us.

When we had our first daughter in the very late 1990s, we still continued to go there because we still lived in the neighborhood. It was the type of a place we never wanted to see change, even as the public’s tolerance for smoking indoors declined. There was a smoking section and a non-smoking section, and that was fine with us because we loved the omelets and the ambiance so much.

After we moved away from the neighborhood in 2000, our visits also stopped for quite a while. In the meantime, the law changed and indoor smoking was no longer allowed. So when we went to the Lincoln–since our younger daughter now goes to school not very far away–it was strange to see it entirely smoke-free. The food wasn’t the same as we remembered, either, but it was still the Lincoln, as we assumed it would always be.

It saddens me to think that I’ll never again have their food, or walk through the basement-styled back room where countless meetings and comedy shows have been held over the years. Life goes on, and the Lincoln is not exempted from the changes life brings. But I’ll surely regret that it happened this way.

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