"I've bought canned potato soup from the store and it never tasted this good!" High praise indeed from chatty retiree George who sits at the S-shaped soda fountain counter slurping down bowl after bowl of Pattie's cream of potato soup. But the soup is only the tip of the culinary iceberg. This old-timey soda shoppe delivers ice creams, sundaes, and especially thick, delicious shakes in a surprising array of flavors; pineapple, blackberry, caramel, marshmallow cherry, peach, peanut butter, butterscotch, along with the Neapolitan standards. The diner style fare is also exemplary. I had a Coney Island Hotdog big enough to choke a horse (rest assured the horse would die happy).

But that's not all! Pattie's Homeplate Café is also a RESALE SHOP. Like much of "mixed-use" St. Johns, Pattie uses her space wisely to make extra dough selling dolls, knives, toys, military medals, kimonos, aftershave, and (my favorite) patriotic T-shirts; one of which pictures a skeleton Uncle Sam pointing his bony finger and exclaiming, "Burn the Jerks, Not the Flag!" You hear that, jerk? Now get to Pattie's pronto. WSH

Pattie's Homeplate Café, 8501 N. Lombard