James Lunch, a history in cartoons
March 6, 2019 10:33 PM   Subscribe

James Lunch was a working class Chicago diner in the 1950s & 60s. One of its patrons, a man named Paulson, was something of a cartoonist & frequently gave the owner a cartoon in lieu of payment for his tab. The owner passed these on to his son who now shares them with us on Twitter. They're a snapshot of a time & a place; witty, irreverent, all evocative of a hardscrabble life in the big city.
posted by scalefree (8 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
So I poked around a little & it turns out the son is a well known restauranteur himself & also author of several books - Nick Kokonas. He owns & manages world renowned Chicago restaurants Next, Alinea & The Aviary.
posted by scalefree at 2:05 AM on March 7


These are wonderful. Kokonas is well known in Chicago dining scene.

I got a little chuckle at the first cartoon of Paulson being dragged out of James Lunch, and I have to wonder if it's related to a little scuffle that happened at Alinea last week that ended up being waged on social media.
posted by JoeZydeco at 4:34 AM on March 7


That little scuffle was covered delightfully by The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner in a series of tweets.
posted by Kattullus at 4:38 AM on March 7


This is really cool. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:10 AM on March 7


Great find! For non-twitterers, here's the unrolled thread via Thread reader. (And here's the Helen Rosner thread Kattullus mentioned, too.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:59 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Wasn't sure Thread Reader could handle the images. Good to know.
posted by scalefree at 8:31 AM on March 7


I got a little chuckle at the first cartoon of Paulson being dragged out of James Lunch, and I have to wonder if it's related to a little scuffle that happened at Alinea last week that ended up being waged on social media.

There is a curious synchronicity there, I must admit.
posted by scalefree at 6:15 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


Love or hate Nick, I think it's a really neat reference to the heritage of Chicago coffee shops* and his connection to them.

Here's Kokonas, the son of a Greek man who sold coffee for a dime on Skid Row, with four Michelin stars in his back pocket (3 for Alinea and 1 for Roister). That's a very Chicago thing.

* in Chicago if someone says "coffee shop" they usually mean a diner that's open very long hours, if not 24 hours a day, that has a menu the length of a dictionary and serves nearly anything you want at any time. And they're almost always run by Greeks.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:02 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


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