Chicago Police Lt. David Haynes eats fewer doughnuts and more vegan meals than you’d think. Other than that, he’s a walking cliche — a cop who knows where to find good food all over the city because let’s face it, cops just know.
Haynes, 46, is co-author of the 2011 book, “The Beat Cop’s Guide to Chicago Eats,” with humorist Chris “Bull” Garlington. It’s a paean to the places that serve solid, inexpensive meals in under 30 minutes (the duration of a cop’s lunch break, which occurs day or night depending on the shift).
“I really like places where the owner is there,” said Haynes, who lives in Norwood Park, home of his go-to pizzeria, Phil’s Pizza D’Oro. “The best places are the ones started by a guy who just makes what he wants to make and does it because he loves it.”
The father of three eat healthier than he once did — more salads, fewer lunches out — but his favorites haven’t changed much.
Good point: “I had a great cheeseburger at Burger Point [1900 S. State], the American. It’s got a fried egg on it. You just have to be very careful if you’re wearing a white shirt not to get egg yolk on it.”
Who knew?: “My son’s a vegan, which is a little weird. But he turned me onto to a really good vegan restaurant called the Loving Hut [5812 N. Broadway]. I really like that place. They have this dish called the Runaway Potato. It’s like a potato stew, real spicy. It has the consistency of beef stew but they use this stuff —TVP — textured vegetable protein. I actually bought some at Whole Foods and tried to make it at home.”
Smokin’: “Whenever I want fried shrimp, I go to Hagen’s [5635 W. Montrose]. They have the best fried shrimp and good smoked fish.”
Sweet soul: “Alice’s [5638 W. Chicago] is soul food. I was assigned to Austin [15th District] when I first started going there. It was this little hole in the wall, always packed after church on Sundays. I used to work midnights, so I’d go there first thing in the morning for breakfast. She made this great smothered chicken and gravy.”
Just lunch: “Frank and Mary’s [2905 N. Elston] is only open for lunch, only two dishes a day. Wednesday is always meatloaf day. They have fish on Friday. It’s basically 10 bucks and you can’t finish the amount of food they give you.”
Mmm, doughnuts: “The place that is still the best is Old Fashioned Donuts [11248 S. Michigan]. I don’t know how [owner Buritt Bulloch] does it. He does these glazed cake doughnuts that are still warm, but the glaze is hard. It’s like magic.”