As you’re reading this, the staff at Ina’s Restaurant will be seating the patrons who’ve supported the Ina Pinkney aka the Breakfast Queen for more than 30 years. The finale seating will include those who’ve become friends in search of real breakfast. And Ina has always dished it up with love and caring from her original site on Webster, to the Ontario spot, and finally the West Randolph corner. Though the food was phenomenal at each location, the Randolph venue has the one thing that creates restaurant envy among her dining industry cronies—a parking lot!
I had the pleasure of visiting each site, but it wasn’t until the last few months that I’ve made Ina’s a regular breakfast spot. I’m big on breakfast as some of you know. There are several other breakfast places that I enjoy—they’re serving good fresh food and good coffee. But it was Ina who put breakfast on the map in this town. She was sourcing fresh local ingredients from Chicago area vendors before it was the fashionable thing to do.
My menu favorites are the sautéed spinach and crisp, cooked to order fried chicken and waffles. They are so good—the menu warned if you didn’t order it, you would wish you had. And that’s for sure.
I was in on the eve of her last day. When I arrived there was plenty of space in the lot and plenty of open tables. The regulars were coming in—one of her vendors whose sausage factory is in the neighborhood, families with kids in tow, and a few diners like me savoring their favorite choices on Ina’s menu before they’re history. If you were lucky enough to have dined with Ina you know how good it was and if you didn’t get to her place, I hope you’ll get to enjoy the next great breakfast at some new site Ina’s people are looking to discover.