Brunch in Chicago is a big deal for many people. It’s another reason to gather and be social over copious amounts of coffee, daytime cocktails and gut-busting portions of food. But where are the best Chicago brunches? Since the weather is getting warmer and people are climbing out of hibernation, I’ve decided to curate a selection of some of the better brunches around town. Welcome to the Best Chicago Brunches – Part 1:
*Click on restaurant names for detailed rail (or bus) directions:
This bustling BYOB brunch spot is always busy. Don’t come here if you are in a hurry. The wait can be
over an hour. Be prepared to leave your name and take a stroll around this Lakeview neighborhood, until your table is ready. Perhaps grab some coffee at Heritage Bicycles a couple of blocks away. It’s one of Chicago’s 30 Coolest Coffee Spots.
The French toast is a favorite among customers. There are few versions from which to choose. There are also pancakes and waffles on deck.
I recommend the banana-caramel waffles.
The savory side of the menu is pretty impressive, too. On recent visits, I really gushed over a baby lamp chop trio served over a mound of hash browns and topped with a fried egg.
The egg white omelet with shrimp alfredo sauce over sweet potato hash was incredible.
Super cool and cozy, this popular brunch spot in Logan Square is situated just opposite the Logan Square farmer’s market. The sidewalk patio is lined with fulsome flower boxes which makes for a really lovely atmosphere and one of the best Chicago brunches.
Whether you choose a sweet French toast, a savory trout quiche or one of the eggs benedict you will be delighted by the tasty items here.
River Roast is a sprawling restaurant and catering hall on the Chicago River. Views overlook Chicago Riverwalk and parts of the iconic skyline and bridges.
On Saturday and Sunday from 11 – 2:30 pm, they host a “Blues and Brews” brunch. It’s a great way to round out your weekend with decadent fare and a live blues band. Whether you are a tourist or a local you should definitely check this out. Choose a burger, a low country croque madame, an omelet, some roasts or this biscuits ‘n gravy.
However, don’t forget to have a Bloody Mary with a seriously mammoth sized charcuterie skewer and the totally decadent turnips au gratin side dish.
Wear your “big boy” or “big girl” pants to this Gold Coast, button-popping brunch destination. Also, I suggest you bring some reinforcements with you as all hands are needed on deck here.
Pancakes, omelets, and even the salads will make your jaw drop. So, plan on walking this all off when you’re finished.
The West Loop has no shortage of fabulous restaurants, so it can be very hard to choose. If you’re looking for a brunch with a Latin spin, head to Bar Takito at the corner of Lake and Morgan.
You cannot go wrong with the different, savory tacos, creamy polenta and more. The cocktails are pretty tasty too!
If you’re looking for one of the best Chicago brunches in the Lakeview neighborhood, Wood is a cozy and creative choice.
This place never disappoints. Perfectly running eggs over warm, flaky biscuits on your brain? They’ve got them!
In the mood for something a bit lighter? Try the creamy and punchy shrimp ‘n grits. Order a side of some French toast bites with fresh berries.
One of the best Chicago brunches with an elegant spin is Bohemian House in River North. This place specializes in Czech, Austrian and German dishes. It’s heavy on meat and dairy, so don’t plan on eating much else the rest of the day.
The spatzle and schnitzel will not disappoint you. They each pack huge flavors.
For the love of all that’s good and holy, do NOT forget the house-made doughnuts with apricot jam and Bavarian cream.
Missing the low country, Southern fare you grew up on? Head to this Lincoln Square gem where you’ll find insanely good chicken ‘n waffles and THE BEST shrimp ‘n grits I’ve ever eaten anywhere.
Yes, you absolutely want the fried green tomatoes. Don’t miss out!
The up and coming Ukrainian Village neighborhood is home to The Winchester. It’s a small but super busy spot during weekend brunch
They have excellent coffee here, so settle in with a few cups.
I really enjoyed this creative smoked trout with fennel and a runny egg. A really nice alternative to heavier brunch items like pancakes.
The South Loop does not have a ton of great restaurants but this Spanish spot is a favorite of mine. They are serving up a large selection of traditional, Spanish, shared plates in a bright and colorful space. I dare you not to smile while you are here.
During weekends, both the brunch menu and the regular menu are available. I think the egg dishes are great, especially this one with zesty Butifarra sausage and Hollandaise sauce.
Desserts at Tapas Valencia are wonderful as well. Definitely worth the splurge. Get the sample plate with some cake, a pear tart, and gelato.
This is where all the cool kids are hanging out in Chicago these days. Cindy’s is located inside the historic (1800s) Chicago Athletic Association landmark, across the street from Millennium Park. The views of the park and Lake Michigan are worth the trip. So, grab a cocktail and head to the terrace as Cindy’s has one of the best Chicago brunches.
Cindy’s is the place to grab some friends (or family) and eat “family-style”. Stuff your faces with yummy platters of egg dishes and carb-rich delights. You’ll look too beautiful in this well-lit room to care about the seams ripping on your cute outfit.
Chef Stephanie Izard is a former “Top Chef” winner and she has returned to Chicago to build her “goat empire.” However, do not be afraid! There is more than goat on her menus 😉 She owns Girl & The Goat, the very recently opened Duck Duck Goat and this super fabulous Little Goat Diner. All three spots are located in Chicago’s West Loop but Little Goat Diner (and Little Goat Bakery) are opened very early every day (I’m talking about 6-7am early). Nice! Nothing like a bit of peace and quiet in the early morning light.
Whether you belly up to the bar in the bakery/coffee bar or grab a table or counter seat in the diner, Chef Izard will wow you with her no-holds-barred, ethnic takes on American classics. There are Vietnamese influences found in her coffee and some Korean kimchi makes an appearance in at least one dish.
The baked goods are wonderful and so is the oatmeal. I highly recommend the bright and tangy fish tostadas. The slaw is wonderfully crunchy.
There you have it, folks, the Best Chicago Brunches – Part 1. If you’re looking for more great weekend eats, check out Best Chicago Brunches – Part 2.
Looking for great brunch and breakfast spots in New York City? Check out my post: “Essential New York Bagels, Brunch, Bakeries.”
Do you have some favorite brunch locations you’d like to share with me? I would love to hear all about it! Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to the Best Chicago Brunches. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!