If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then why do we spend it eating cereal over the kitchen sink? Give breakfast the attention it deserves at restaurants that open extra early so you can start the day on a delicious note.
Simple elegance sounds like a good way to start any day. Take tea or Intelligentsia coffee under the shimmering chandeliers of Soho House. An all-day menu starts with bakery staples, assorted egg sandwiches and a popular avocado toast.
Must-try: The house breakfast is simple, yet satisfying, with hard-boiled eggs, tomato, avocado and smoked salmon.
113-125 N. Green St.; 312-521-8000
There really is no other restaurant quite like Arbor — an urban farm, apiary and restaurant hidden away in an eco-friendly office building. Breakfast impresses with Midwest grain bowls, buckwheat crêpe boards and Machaca beef breakfast burritos.
Must-try: The Morning Crush lives up to its name with egg, bacon and Parmesan omelet, truffle mayo, fried onions and greens on a biscuit.
2545 W. Diversey Ave.; 312-866-0795
Housemade grits, candied bacon biscuits and house-rolled oatmeal — this is the daily brunch menu, served starting at 7:30 AM. It's the stuff of grain-lovers' dreams. For a speedier alternative, pop into the recently opened Hot Bar for a “dough-not” or “breakfast sammie.”
Must-try: The oatmeal has been called some of the best in the city, with cherry jam, cultured cream, raw sugar and hot milk.
4610 N. Western Ave.; 312-208-5639
As the name suggests, this is the place for seasonal pie and flaky biscuits, but that’s not all that’s on the menu. Guests can gussy up their biscuit with sausage, ham, bacon, gravy and even hot chicken.
Must-try: The farmer’s biscuit keeps things fresh with fennel yogurt, arugula, endive, apple, truffle honey and walnuts.
2051 N. California Ave.; 773-276-8888
When you find yourself Downtown, whether it's River North or Streeterville, get breakfast done right at this all-day eatery. Mornings star freshly squeezed juices, 10-grain oatmeal, egg-white omelets and quinoa cakes with poached eggs.
Must-try: Shakshouka is a traditional Middle Eastern dish of spicy tomato sauce and poached eggs — it’s served here with kale, feta and naan.
With a Mexican twist on the retro diner, Paul Kahan presents south-of-the-border soul food, from chile relleno to smoked brisket tacos, all day. Look up at the specials board for morning extras, including brisket hash, buttermilk pancakes and migas omelet served until 3 PM.
Must-try: Need a little helper? The "Back to Life" cocktail is a rejuvenating mix of fresh crab, squid and shrimp in tomato, orange and lime juice with avocado, habenero and cilantro.
1545 N. Damen Ave.; 773-645-4060
It started with the simple mission of delivering breakfast sandwiches, via the city’s first breakfast food truck, to Chicago. It grew into a quaint storefront slinging farm eggs with Slagel Farm bacon, cheese and more accoutrements on pretzel buns, ciabatta bread and seven-grain rolls.
Must-try: The Scoundrel offers a turkey alternative with smoked turkey, egg, white cheddar, wilted spinach and spiced mustard on a pretzel roll.
500 W. Madison St.; 312-600-4814
There weren’t many places to get a traditional Irish breakfast in Chicago, so chef Sarah Jordan remedied that when she took over this iconic Logan Square diner. In addition to plates of bangers, she offers cured salmon Benedict and assorted toasts.
Must-try: Keeping in mind that Jordan was once one of the best pastry chefs in the city, don’t miss the housemade pop-tarts.
2545 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-278-2215
Breakfast was a logical addition for the cafe and butcher shop that specializes in freshly baked bread, local eggs and seasonal produce. These ingredients come together on pimento cheese toast with prosciutto and a fried egg.
Must-try: The butcher's breakfast is indeed a breakfast of champions with house bacon, breakfast sausage, potato, country bread and two fried eggs.
825 W. Fulton Market; 312-445-8977
Is it ever too early for fried chicken? The poultry experts at the Roost restaurant and food trucks say no. They served their signature fried chicken, topped with an egg, cheese or bacon on a flaky biscuit, starting at 9 AM.
Must-try: The Stevie has a bit of everything on a biscuit, including spicy fried chicken topped with an over-easy egg, bacon and sharp cheddar cheese.
The restaurant adjacent to this Irving Park cocktail bar has a split personality. At night it offers hearty comfort food to diners, but during the day it’s all about housemade biscuits topped with tomato jam and goat cheese.
Must-try: With biscuits this good, it doesn’t takes much more than smoked ham, Swiss cheese, Dijon and herbs to turn it into a meal.
1612 W. Irving Park Rd.; 773-665-4500
Brunch all day every day is a credo we can live by. From 7 AM–5 PM, get an eggy fix with croissant sandwiches, huevos rancheros and assorted scrambles. On the sweet side are stacks on stacks of cinnamon roll pancakes and stuffed French toast.
Must-try: Buffalo chicken hash will fill you up for the day with spicy chicken, bacon, eggs, avocado and tomato on top of house potatoes.
2018 W. Chicago Ave.; 773-252-9060