Lucille’s: An American diner in Cairo

Long-time favorite of the American expatriate community in Maadi, Lucille’s, which was started and is still run by a Cairo resident of the same name, has attracted a passionate following among locals as well. Try to get a seat during the popular Friday brunch-time slot and you’ll see for yourself its popularity. If you look closely at the walls, you can literally read the devotion of its clientele: tables carry plaques inscribed with the names of regulars who regularly dined there. It seems to inspire an equal devotion among its wait staff; I’ve been seeing the same friendly faces there for years.

Lucille’s is a diner, in the full and gloriously unhealthy American sense of the term. Breakfast consists of pancakes, sausages, eggs and hash browns, washed down by bottomless cups of coffee. The pancakes are a delight. I couldn’t answer my kids question, why pancakes at home don’t taste as good as Lucille’s pancakes do. I had to resort to making pancakes in all kinds of shapes and fancy designs in order to compensate for Lucille’s clear superiority over my own.

The lunch menu is equally distinguished. Lucille’s hamburger was recently described by a correspondent for America’s Time Magazine as the best in the world, and it’s easy to understand why. With fresh ingredients, toasted buns and deliciously spiced beef, the Lucille’s burger is easily worth a trip down across town during rush hour. The test of a great restaurant is how few dishes they could have available and still be popular. Lucille’s likely would do well with only burgers and pancakes on the menu. In reality, there’s much more on offer, much of which is nearly as top-class class as its pancakes and burgers, including an excellent Mexican-style enchilada plate.

If you’ve been in Cairo some time, chances are you already know it. But if you’re new, or looking for a legitimate American diner experience without having to set foot on a plane, then Lucille’s will probably make your regular list of choice establishments in short order.

Details: Open 7 days a week 8 AM till midnight.  54 Road 9 in Maadi, Tel: 2359-2778.  Lucille’s is a nonsmoking establishment.  For delivery in the Maadi area, call 2378-1530.  Breakfast or lunch for the family shouldn’t run to more than LE100 a family of 2 adults and two children.

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