Every weekend we wake up with one question on our mind: what's for brunch? For those who worship at the Sunday pancake altar, Chicago's options are seemingly endless. We picked through the syrupy stack to come up with the short list of hottest brunch options.
The bakery and cafe offers a menu showcasing local grains without cutting corners. House-ground flour is used to make whole wheat toast piled high with avocado and lox, sourdough cinnamon rolls and sweet and savory pies. For a speedier alternative, visit their recently opened Hot Bar — it specializes in grab-and-go pastries, like donuts and stuffed waffles.
Saturday and Sunday, 8 AM–3 PM; 4610 N. Western Ave.
Brunch pizza alert! Executive chef Chris Pandel takes the pizzas and pastas at this Lincoln Park gem and transforms them for brunch. Think smoked-salmon pizza with crème fraîche and capers alongside more traditional dishes like crispy polenta hash with pork ragu. The bar will also be serve a trio of brunch cocktails including a Bloody Mary, Bicicletta (dry white wine and Campari) and peach Bellini.
Sunday, 11 AM–3 PM; 1633 N. Halsted St.; 312-867-3888
The cure for whatever ails you waits at this Bucktown gem. It's called "Hangover Breakfast," and is a take on ramen with noodles, pork broth and aromatic vegetables. If you need something less restorative, opt for one of the many elevated classics — smoked ham Benedict with mustard hollandaise, braised pork chilaquiles.
Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM–2 PM; 2152 N. Damen Ave.; 773-862-5555
The latest from One Off Hospitality channels the 1960s with this nostalgic diner, serving Mexican-inspired comfort food (pepper and potato hash). You can also add a fried egg to any entree for $1. The same menu is served all day — with breakfast specials such as buttermilk pancakes served until 3 PM — which makes eating brunch for dinner a tempting option.
Daily, starting a 9 AM; 1545 N. Damen Ave.; 773-645-4060
The Bridgeport brunch options have vastly improved with the addition of this Sunday spread by chef Kevin Hickey. His menu features sweet corn funnel cake with blueberries, Maryland crab crêpe with Calabrian chile hollandaise and chai bread pudding French toast with English treacle. Since this menu would not be complete without a duck offering, meet the duck confit hash with a duck egg and Wisconsin cheese mornay sauce.
Sunday from 10 AM–2 PM; 2701 S. Eleanor St.; 312-724-8811
Of course the guys from Longman & Eagle are going to dish out some serious brunch game at their Pilsen spot. The kitchen puts its A-game on the table with dishes like crab and artichoke Benedict with poached eggs, potatoes, Old Bay hollandaise and butter crackers. Don't ignore the pastry section that hold the key to Danish pastry cinnamon rolls and seasonal pop tarts.
Saturday and Sunday, 9 AM–3 PM; 1227 W. 18th St.; 312-526-3851
This Macanese-style brunch mixes a bit of dim sum with more sizeable offerings. Starting small, we have delicate wrappers filled with pork and ginger or curried vegetables. Go big with pork chop buns or coconut rice with fried fish and Portuguese egg tarts filled with creamy custard, "love and secrets."
Sunday, 11 AM–3 PM; 2957 W. Diversey Ave.; 773-661-9170
The giant crowd on the corner of Randolph and Green: yes, that’s for brunch. They are waiting for Stephanie Izard’s take on diner fare, which includes "Fat Elvis" waffles, the infamous "Kimchi & Bacon & Eggs & Pancakes Asian Style Breakfast Tasty Thing" and savory French toast. While you wait, grab a seat at the bar where a glass window separates guests from the bread bakery.
Every day starting at 10 AM; 820 W. Randolph St.; 312-888-3455
This Logan Square spot is a long-standing favorite for its seasonally inspired food available at all hours of the day. Innovative takes on Benedicts, pancakes and breakfast sandwiches define the ever-changing menu. Whether you like it sweet with gingerbread French toast or savory with glazed pork shoulder grits, this standby satisfies.
Wednesday through Monday, 9 AM–2:30 PM; 2537 N. Kedzie Ave.; 773-489-9554
It’s never too early for Indian food. Case in point, this Anglo-Indian brunch starring bacon, potato and cheese–stuffed paratha; lime, mint, almond and puffed rice over yogurt; and smoked fish kedgeree with rice, scallions and a soft-boiled egg. Finish this feast with an order of chai dulce de leche donuts and call it a day.
Sometimes you just need a stack of fluffy pancakes. Or a perfectly prepared omelet. This airy, Lincoln Park restaurant channels Southern California with its simple, fresh fare. Pair lemon–cottage cheese pancakes with fresh-squeezed orange juice or a breakfast burrito with a Bloody Mary. Not to mention, our favorite English muffins in the city — which are also available to-go in the pastry case.
Saturday and Sunday, 8 AM–3 PM; 1954 N. Halsted St.; 773-634-4100
This Ukrainian Village all-day dining destination not only serves a craveable cafe menu — featuring the now infamous avocado toast — but an equally desirable brunch menu. Chef Greg Bastien's beautiful plates of house-cured salmon, eggnog French toast and eggs Benedict on a liege waffle are as satisfying to look at as they are to eat.
Daily, 10 AM–3PM; 1001 N. Winchester Ave.; 773-698-8703