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Our Story


On September 2, 1999 Lula Cafe opened in a small storefront on Kedzie Boulevard with a four burner home stove and a dented collection of thrifted pots and pans. Today, stretching three storefronts, it is the founding member of the nationally recognized Logan Square culinary community and a celebrated forerunner of the ‘farm to table’ movement in Chicago.

With self taught chefs and a willingness to cook against categorization, the menu at Lula has grown into a kind of humble maturity, risky but grounded, a boheme bistro of the unclassifiable kind. We invite you for all occasions, to read a book at the bar with a glass of wine, to celebrate birthdays and first dates, to taste through the seasons, to brunch with friends after a night out. Anything is possible, welcomed, wished for, here at Lula.

We serve a brunch that is casual, simple yet sophisticated, with ingredients like fresh farm eggs and porridges made from cornmeal ground at a local mill. Besides the daily offering of meats and fish from sustainable sources, every day we serve adventurous fare for vegetarians. While at dinner the food is more intricate and formal, we never cede the accessibility and youthfulness with which Lula was begun.

Chef Jason Hammel has been nominated three times as a finalist for James Beard Best Chef Great Lakes.  His cookbook, The Lula Cafe Cookbook, was released in the Fall of 2023 by Phaidon.   

We have been featured on NPR’s “This American Life,” in The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and in Chicago press where Lula has been named an LTH Forum Great Neighborhood Restaurant, a Michelin Bib Gourmande, Jean Banchet Best Neighborhood Restaurant, and a proud member of the “Eater Essential 38.”

Please join us.

Lula Family

a group of people looking at the camera

Jason Hammel
Executive Chef/Owner

Chef and owner Jason Hammel grew up in New Haven, CT and is the product of a tight Italian family. He studied writing at Brown University and then traveled in Italy where an accidental stay in an apartment above a produce market left a lasting impact and presaged his career as a chef. Upon returning to the U.S., he received his M.A. in English and moved to Chicago where he met his wife, musician and Lula co-founder, Amalea Tshilds. They live in Logan Square with their two children, Ismene and Cass.   

Hammel’s writing has appeared in Bon Appetit and Lucky Peach/MAD feed. His cookbook, THE LULA CAFE COOKBOOK: COLLECTED RECIPES AND STORIES, was released by Phaidon Press in October 2023. 

Amalea Tshilds

Amalea Tshilds is a songwriter and singer from Chicago, IL and co founder of Lula Cafe. She is a member of the alt-country group Girls of the Golden West and has also released a solo record, Painted Tiles, with an all star cast of collaborating Chicago musicians. Her latest record, Love on the Ground, was released in February of 2020.  Her unique voice and dreamlike orchestrations explore complex roots in folk and choir.