Valois (pronounced "Valloys" by the locals) has been serving up heaping portions for bargain prices since 1921. The cafeteria-style eatery was originally opened at 55th Street and Harper Avenue by William Valois, who previously worked as the chef at the Chicago Beach Hotel. Valois sold the business to Walter Allman in 1957, about the time that the building was slated for demolition, and Allman kept hope alive by moving the restaurant to its present location. In 1969, after Allman had a sudden heart attack and died, the restaurant changed hands again. Open for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Valois most recently achieved notoriety for being a favorite local destination of President Barack Obama, although Harold washington was a regular too. the book "slim's table: race, respectability, and masculinity," authored by mitchell duneier and published in 1992, chronicled african-american life in chicago and was modeled on customers that duneier encountered nearly every day over the course of four years of eating at the restaurant.
As in yesteryear, patrons still grab trays and move down the cafeteria line where you can "See Your Food" (as the awning has proclaimied since Walter Allman first hung it in the late 1950's). Valois continues to serve meals to the entire Hyde Park demographic, from pensioners to professionals, but remember: Cash only.