A Feast for the Eyes: Chicago's Feed a Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Rock and Roll

03/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011


Before I start, I have to say it's killing me that I can't add music to accompany this piece. Any story about down-home West Side breakfast joint needs some good fifties country music or . . . wow . . . any kind of music really. The choice might feel apt or ironic or whimsical or even sarcastic, but any tune will work. Would having music start playing when you read a post enrich the experience for you or would it feel like an intrusion? I'd like to know because . . . huh? Oh, sorry . . . and now, Feed!

People have been telling me for months I need to check out Feed, the popular Chicago Ave. breakfast joint. Former Strange Closets Open House star Tracy Ostmann-Haschke gave it rave reviews (she also painted the country diner's murals) and during my recent interview with artist Sharon Bladholm, the environmentally conscious artist praised Feed owners and partners Donna and Liz for the way they incorporate a degree of sustainability into their lives (they raise chickens and rabbits in an urban environment).

It sounds positively quirky, but think about it: this practice could, nay, should be implemented by all of us (I'll take photos). If we all had a little farm and a pile of critters, the benefits would far outweigh the way of life we have right now with our convenient and bountiful but badly lit grocers, central air conditioning and ice cubes. If we all had little farms, we'd reduce carbon emissions, strengthen community bonds (neighbors trading eggs for tomatoes or rabbit meat for example) and provide the U.S. food system with a much needed shock absorber in the event a crisis of some sort disrupts the enormously efficient but increasingly vulnerable world food supply chain (just in time delivery just a few minutes late just might cause food riots). Hey I'm not joking!

Continued . . .


People laugh when I say this (although it's often difficult to understand me through the megaphone and the corner of State and Lake is very noisy); they say Americans will never elect that kind of life, that we're too obsessed with our TV's and our SUV's (and as we age, our RV's). But we're going through a seismic shift; the way we produce and consume energy and information, the way we think about and treat our climate and environment, the way we create and think about our possessions, the way we define being American and being a global citizen. And the most important problem we face - how to monetize blog content (if we assume the 2012 stuff to be myth). So we need to take action now! You go first.

When I praised co-owner Donna Knezek about really going first, she literally rolled her eyes and waved me away, saying their chickens could never produce enough eggs to serve a busy Saturday morning. But that's not the point; it's a start.

I almost forgot that this is a design blog, and there are lessons there, too. Cozy, colorful and 100% country (a bit kitsch perhaps, but Liz and Donna beg to differ), the place ain't fancy but it's got a constantly changing style as friends and regular customers regularly bring in poultry and/or country-centric gifts. So remember the color and change it up to stay fresh. Does that qualify me to keep my Design Blogger Membership card?

2803 W. Chicago (at California) 773-489-4600

P.S. I knew Donna and Liz were kindred spirits when I walked in and saw what was on the jukebox: