We can remember going to Ed Debevic’s on purpose, when it had a pretty good burger for downtown at the time and the shtick struck us as fun enough (when our mom tried to order a Dr. Pepper, a waiter replied “It’s the Fifties, lady, we don’t have Dr. Pepper yet,” which we thought was wittily self-aware about the whole Fifties act). But we haven’t been there in a whole generation of nostalgic throwbacks, so we’re not surprised that when the Serious Eats Chicago team visits Ed Debevic’s 2013, on the theory that it’s the ur-FauxDiner from whence the likes of modern FauxDiners like Au Cheval and Little Goat spring, the verdict is much, much worse:
In my wildest dreams, I had hoped that the food would be nothing more than solid, even though I assumed that it would be frustratingly average. If only we were so lucky. Instead, we encountered dish after dish that were almost comically bad.
Being Serious Eats, of course, there’s an entire slideshow of the comically bad results, so that you can be sure not to have each one, with specific details from the nachos (“what I can’t abide by is cold, unmelted cheese. Yet, that’s what completely covers this plate”) to the burger (“I mostly blame the beef patty, which was oddly soft and mealy”). [SE: Chicago]