Best one-woman kitchen

Critics' Picks

Noon Hour Grill

6930 N. Glenwood

Susie Lee is server, cook, and cashier at this little gem next to the Red Line tracks just before the Morse el stop in Rogers Park. She buses the tables, she chats with customers, she pours the coffee—and, oh yeah, she cooks up some pretty bangin' food, a strange and wonderful hybrid of Korean and American breakfast styles that comes off so natural you wonder why every corner diner in the country doesn't fold kimchi into its omelets. Oh, that kimchi omelet, which also includes bulgogi and, yes, American cheese—it's a beautiful mess. More standard options from either side of the Pacific are also available: my favorite is the simple, fresh bi bim bop for which Lee is famous, so warm and nurturing that it's equally suited to a hangover breakfast or a healthy lunch. Get coffee, and maybe a side of kimchi, and definitely a little bowl of hot sauce, but consider: Lee's the dishwasher, too. —Sam Worley