Ina's will close on December 31, 2013.
"Life is like baking a cake, it's raw for a really long time, it's perfectly baked for a short time, and it's over-baked forever. And I never wanted to feel over baked," Pinkney said. "I wanted to leave at exactly the right time."
Customers say they'll miss the food, and much more.
"Ina, herself, with her personality, her sense of humor," Dan Borzak, longtime diner at Ina's, said.
"She's an amazing person. I'm so lucky to have her as a friend. Chicago is going to lose someone who is very special," Cece Campise, friend, said.
Ina's is cellphone- and music-free, a place to chat where customers are welcomed.
"Nobody is invisible here. I need to know how everybody is and how their family is," Pinkney said.
When the doors close, Pinkney will sign her plates for charity auctions, and ask David Axelrod to sign the chair where he brainstormed the president's campaign. She looks forward to releasing a cookbook, and a simple start to the morning.
"Actually eating a hot breakfast in my own apartment, that would be heaven for me," Pinkney said.
Pinkney said she doesn't have any immediate family to which to hand down her recipes so she's rolling it all into a cookbook, "Taste Memories: Recipes for Life and Breakfast." It will be out at the end of September.
A new restaurant will open in Ina's space- a pizzeria.