For a while there, pancakes were the ugly stepchild of brunch, homely and ignored. Recently, though, we’ve noticed a revival in the batter department. Pancakes have a whole new look, thanks to inspired renditions from chefs around the city. Here are 10 of our favorites.
Blended with blueberries and ricotta, the pancakes at this Downtown staple are impossibly fluffy, with a pang of tartness from the fruit. In lieu of standard maple syrup, they get a drizzle of Italian cider syrup and a pat of lemony whipped butter.
18 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-578-0763
Dos Urban Cantina
Dos Urban Cantina has one of the best brunch programs in Chicago, with all-American classics adapted into modern Mexican creations. The clincher is a recent menu addition of brown butter pancakes dressed with piloncillo syrup and seasonal fresh fruit. It’s also got amaranth alegria, which is a whole grain crunchy candy here made with amaranth, pepitas and caramelized sugar.
2829 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-661-6452
Southport Grocery & Cafe
In case you wake up craving a cupcake for breakfast, you’re in luck. The cupcake pancake is one of the greatest creations at this always ingenious Lakeview breakfast spot. Made using the bakery’s famous vanilla cupcake batter, the pancakes are served with vanilla butter and local maple syrup. It also has bread pudding pancakes, made from bread pudding batter and adorned with cinnamon sugar butter and vanilla anglaise.
3552 N. Southport Ave.; 773-665-0100
The secret behind Beatrix’s light and fluffy lemon pancakes? The batter is whipped and baked like a soufflé for a custardy interior. After one bite you’ll wonder why every pancake isn’t made this way.
519 N. Clark St.; 312-284-1377
Lula’s griddle cakes have taken many shapes over the years, from crisp honey wheat discs topped with cranberry jam and sunflower seed granola to versions paired with stone fruit preserves and fluffy maple sabayon. The common theme: They all sing of the season. And they’re all reliably delicious.
2537 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-489-9554
Dusek’s Board & Beer
This gastropub isn’t known for a lightness of touch. Its Dutch baby brunch dish, however, manages to be simultaneously delicate and decadent, thanks to its airy texture and sweet and savory mash-up of cheddar, caramel apple butter, roasted apples, pumpkin and white cheddar powder.
1227 W. 18th St.; 312-526-3851
Yogurt and blueberry clafoutis help lighten this ethereally fluffy creation at Ēma, where Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors lend themselves well to the all-American breakfast staple. The pancake itself is studded with almonds and pistachios, with a spritz of lemon for added tang.
74 W. Illinois St.; 312-527-5586
When an award-winning pastry chef takes over a timeworn greasy spoon diner, it’s a pretty safe bet that the results are going to be unique — and delicious. Case in point: Sarah Jordan’s Johnny cakes at Logan Square’s venerable Johnny’s Grill. Exemplifying the chef’s knack for updated Americana classics, the tender cornmeal-buttermilk pancakes are piled high with zesty blueberry compote, fresh whipped cream and maple syrup.
2545 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-278-2215
Avocado toast is so 2016. Avocado pancakes are where it's at. Specifically, the avocado pancakes on the new brunch menu at Clever Rabbit, where chef Matt Lair keeps things bright and fresh with enhancements like grapefruit, honeycomb and BLiS barrel-aged maple syrup.
2015 W. Division St.; 773-697-8711
From sweets to savories, Dove's does a mighty fine job with breakfast fare across the board. In regards to the former, don't miss the buttermilk skillet pancake, filled with cherries and heaped with almond granola, lemon crema and maple syrup.
1545 N. Damen Ave.; 773-645-4060