Hackney’s – Finding Success by Staying the Same

Going to Hackney’s on Lake today is the same as it was back in the 80’s.  My grandmother loved the place, my parents love the place, and I love the place.  The same is true of the original Hackney’s location on Harms.  I haven’t visited their other restaurants.  But my guess is you would find a similar experience.

The approach is unpretentious.  Interior decoration is mid-century.  The bar is low-key.  There is a patio for warm weather.  The patrons are there to eat a good meal in pleasant surroundings and go home.  There is nothing remotely trendy about it, and in today’s fast-paced world I find that to be a nice thing.

Many great Chicago dining experiences have fallen by the wayside over the years.  The Como Inn, Fanny’s of Evanston, Myron & Phil, the Studio and so many others have passed into history.

Then there are those that are not the same.  The Berghoff closed amidst national headlines back in 2006 to become a dedicated catering business.  It has since reopened.  But when I went for lunch in 2011 it wasn’t the same.  The old school waiters have been replaced with staff who look like they were hired away from Chili’s.  I also thought the menu wasn’t quite as good.

Hackney’s continues to remain relevant in its original form.  On every visit I get four items: a Green River, a Hackney Burger, a side salad and an order of French-Fried Onion Rings.  They have other great things on the menu.  But I have been enjoying that particular combination my entire life.

Hackney’s has been a family-run business for over seventy-six years.  From that I gather two things: 1) they understand the fundamentals of business and 2) they have a strong family.  Passing a business from one generation to the next is not an easy thing to do.

© 2015 practicalchicago.com



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