- Rich Hein/Sun-Times
- Rahm’s recollection of his meal with Ben at Lincoln Lodge might not be quite as rosy.
It’s with a heavy heart that I must report the demise of a north-side institution: the Lincoln Restaurant is closing at the end of the year.
Over the last 20 or so years, the Lincoln’s been my go-to-joint of choice to break bread with a vast array of characters including—though by no means limited to—Mick Dumke, Frank Coconate, Alderman Ameya Pawar, and Rahm Emanuel.
And no, that last name on the list is not a misprint.
It’s true. Long before he was the mayor, Rahm and I did breakfast at the Lincoln.
This was way back in 2002 when he was running—with Mayor Daley’s blessing, of course—to replace Blago as congressman of the fifth congressional district.
Apparently, he figured it might be a good idea to introduce himself to Reader readers. So he invited me to take one of his famous media drive-arounds. That’s where he puts some profile-writing reporter in the campaign car and schleps him from stop to stop.
For me, the highlight was before the drive, when we ate breakfast at the Lincoln. As always, I wolfed down the feta-and-spinach omelet.
Man, I miss it already!
It was at the Lincoln that Rahm got the word that the AFL-CIO had endorsed him, no doubt knuckling under Mayor Daley’s pressure.
He was so giddy he gave me a noogie. What a guy!
Later, in the car, I got my revenge when he took a call that—for all I know—was utterly staged for my benefit.
“Hi, honey,” he said to the caller. “How’s everything? Great? Good. How are the kids? Good. Tell them I love them. OK. I love you.”
When he hung up, I asked: “Was that your wife?”
“No,” he wisecracked. “It was an intern.”
Then he had a moment of panic.
“That’s a joke, you know. About the intern. Of course it was my wife. It was a joke. Hey, you can’t print that—that joke’s off the record.”
I laughed. He laughed. The driver laughed. Everyone laughed!
Ah, the good times. Alas, it’s been downhill for me and Rahm ever since.