The dining room at Eleven Lincoln Park
The interior is a designed to be a ringer for a 1940s diner. Chrome, white tile, and neon are everywhere. There's even a cake carousel. "I didn't want to create a place that looked old-timey," explains Rubin. "This is all to be used."
Eleven Lincoln Park boasts an original 1940s multimixer. But it turns out you can't just throw old equipment in a restaurant and start mixing with it. "It originally had a quarter-horsepower motor that was stamped 1947," Rubin explains. "Refrigeration today is harder than it was then, and the motor wouldn't cut through the ice cream. So I threw a 3/4 horsepower motor in, a Bosch, that I got from Radio Shack to drive all five spindles."
Soda on Tap
Green River, a lemon-lime soda made in Chicago since 1919, is on draft at Eleven Lincoln Park. How'd Rubin get it on draft? "I got peoples—I got a Green River guy!" Why is it on draft rather than in bottles? "It isn't just the romance of having on tap," says Rubin. "We need it on tap because we're doing some serious floats."
"I'm one of only two people that they [Faygo] know of in Northern Illinois bringing these in," Rubin says. "They started making soda in Detroit in 1907." Flavors include Faygo RedPop, Grape, and Rock & Rye, which all appear in floats at Eleven Lincoln Park. "We make our floats in a huge milkshake glass with Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream from Homer's," says Rubin. "If we're using good soda, we should also be using really good ice cream."
Root Beer Float ($6.99)
Served with barrel-aged root beer (your choice of classic or blond) and Homer's vanilla ice cream. Each float comes with a sidecar of extra root beer so you can top up your drink as you go.
Egg Cream ($2.99) and Phosphate ($2.79)
Not every Chicagoan knows what an egg cream or a phosphate actually is. An egg cream, which contains neither egg nor cream, is a combination of chocolate, milk, and soda water. Leave out the milk and you have a phosphate. But you can't just use Hershey's syrup. "A real Brooklyn Egg Cream is made with Fox's U-Bet syrup," Rubin insists, "but there's no distributor in the Midwest. I get it out of Jersey and they ship it right to us. If it's not made with Fox's U-Bet, it's just a chocolate soda."
"This is an original 1962 Bastian Blessing soda fountain," Rubin explains. "It was made by a Chicago company which sadly closed quite a while ago. That's how we make a real phosphate." The Bastian Blessing dispenses soda water in a very sharp, thin stream that helps mix the thick chocolate syrup into a froth.
Soda Jerk Station
Eleven Lincoln Park has a custom-built soda-jerk station in the dining room, in addition to the wooden soda bar in the front.