I had the pleasure of coming upon Lloyd’s Upscale Street Food as a beautiful oasis during a hot (and, let’s be honest, sweaty) summer bike ride. Lloyd’s sits like a beacon on the corner of 61st and Eberhardt, in a building clad beautifully in white and green glazed terra cotta tile.

Lloyd’s has a vibrant presence and a clean, modern aesthetic. Loud R&B music spills out of this spot, which is as good for a coffee as it is for a hearty meal. Lloyd’s menu has pasta, tacos, and burgers, as well as some outstanding salads and appetizers.

To quench my thirst, I ordered a caramel iced coffee with oat milk, a burrata salad, and some garlic parmesan fries. The food that came out was hot and fresh. Those three things were exactly what I needed to power me up for my bike ride home. I was also extremely pleased to find I could feed my bougie side and my constantly-craving-fresh-fries side all at the same time. The iced coffee was, in a word, amazing. Maybe it was the heat, but everything from the bold coffee flavor to the sweet caramel just hit the spot. Really, it couldn’t have just been the heat. It was a solid coffee.

During a later visit, I met one of the three owners of Lloyd’s: Lai McCoy. McCoy has been cooking professionally since 2015. After years working with the Chicago Park District, McCoy started Lloyd’s in February 2021. They initially worked out of  a series of ghost kitchens in Logan Square and South Loop. 

The restaurant is named for McCoy’s grandfather, Lloyd, who loved to eat the food Lai cooked. McCoy’s vision is to provide something different, a gathering space, for the people of Woodlawn. McCoy envisions a centerpiece for the community and a showcase for the arts, such as spoken word, painting, and live music. They currently do brunch on Saturdays, and will be having after-hours gatherings twice a month starting on September 2nd from 7pm to midnight. In the long term, expect to see food trucks and additional locations of Lloyd’s Upscale Street Food. (Smitha C. Vasan)

Lloyd’s Upscale Street Food, 501 E. 61st St.  Open Monday through Friday, 9am–5pm; Saturday, 11am–5pm. See website for Lloyd’s After Dark announcements. $5–22. (224) 489-0937. facebook.com/cheflaimccoy

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