Best Chicago Brunches – Part 1

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’s 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:

Batter & Berries

 

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 the 15 Coolest Chicago Coffee Spots

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Batter & Berries in Chicago

 

 

The French toast is a favorite among customers.  There are few versions from which to choose. There are also pancakes and waffles on deck.  

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Batter & Berries French toast

Berries, berries and more berries!

 

I recommend the banana-caramel waffles.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Batter & Berries waffles

Breakfast? Dessert? What does it matter?! Yum!

 

 

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.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Batter & Berries lamb chops

Savory lamb chop trio with fried egg and hash browns at Batter & Berries

 

 

The egg white omelet with shrimp alfredo sauce over sweet potato hash was incredible.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Batter & Berries menu

This is one decadent egg white omelet! No skimping on the butter, baby!

 

 

Jam

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Jam in Logan Square

 

 

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.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches French toast at Jam

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Trout quiche at Jam

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Jam in Logan Square

Smoked salmon eggs benedict

 

 

River Roast

 

 

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.  

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches River Roast in Chicago

 

 

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 lives 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.  

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches River Roast's brunch menu

Impressive 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.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches River Roast's brunch cocktails

River Roast’s Bloody Mary

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches River Roast's menu

Turnips au gratin at River Roast

 

 

Hash House A Go Go

 

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.  

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Hash House A Go Go in Chicago's Gold Coast

 

 

Pancakes, omelets and even the salads will make your jaw drop.  So, plan on walking this all off when you’re finished.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Hash House A Go Go's pancakes

Banana-pecan pancakes

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Eggs benedict at Hash House A Go Go

Salmon eggs benedict

 

 

Bar Takito

 

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.  

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Bar Takito in Chicago

 

 

You cannot go wrong with the different, savory tacos, creamy polenta and more.  The cocktails are pretty tasty too!

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Bar Takitos' tacos

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Brunch menu at Bar Takito

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Bar Takito Chicago

 

 

Ceres’ Table

 

The absolute best breakfast potatoes I’ve had in Chicago to date are right here at Ceres’ Table in the Lakeview neighborhood.  It’s a bright, pretty and modern place with beautifully prepared food to match.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Ceres' Table Chicago

 

 

Try of of the perfectly cooked eggs benedict which is accompanied by those lovely potatoes I mentioned above.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Ceres' Table brunch

Salmon eggs benedict

 

 

Craving a more traditional and rustic Italian dish?  Don’t miss the eggs in purgatory.  It’s poached eggs floating in a shallow bowl of tomato gravy, parmesan cheese, spicy arugula and crostini. 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Ceres' Table menu

Eggs in Purgatory

 

 

Wood

 

Another option in the Lakeview neighborhood is cozy and creative Wood.  

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Wood in Lakeview

 

 

This place never disappoints.  Perfectly running eggs over warm, flaky biscuits on your brain? They’ve got them!

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Brunch menu at Wood

Shrimp ‘n grits

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches French toast at Wood

 

 

 

Bohemian House (BOHO)

 

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.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Bohemian House in Chicago

 

 

The spatzle and schnitzel will not disappoint you.  They each pack huge flavors.  

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Pork schnitzel at Bohemian House

The decadent schnitzel at Bohemian House

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Bohemian House's spatzle

Bohemian House’s spatzle

 

 

For the love of all that’s good and holy, do NOT forget the house made doughnuts with apricot jam and Bavarian cream.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Doughnuts at Bohemian House

 

 

Luella’s Southern Kitchen

 

 

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.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Luella's barbecue shrimp and grits

Chef Darnell’s signature shrimp and grits

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Luella's fried green tomatoes

Awesome fried green tomatoes! They are also used on Luella’s BLT sandwich.

 

Yes, you absolutely want the fried green tomatoes.  Don’t be foolish!

 

 

The Winchester

 

 

The up and coming Ukrainian Village neighborhood is home to The Winchester.  It’s a small but super busy spot during weekend brunch.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches The Winchester in Chicago

The Winchester at the corners of Winchester Avenue and Augusta Blvd.

 

 

They have excellent coffee here, so settle in with a few cups.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches The Winchester near Damen Avenue

Love my Americano with almond milk!

 

 

I really enjoyed this creative smoked trout with fennel and a runny egg.  A really nice alternative to heavier brunch items like pancakes.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches The Winchester in Ukrainian Village Chicago

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Brunch at The Winchester

Perfectly cooked slow egg on this smoked trout.

 

 

Tapas Valencia

 

 

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.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Tapas Valencia in the South Loop

 

 

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.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Tapas Valencia brunch

The Butifarra sausage in this dish is fantastic

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Eggs benedict at Tapas Valencia

 

 

Desserts at Tapas Valencia are wonderful as well.  Definitely worth the splurge.  Get the sample plate with some cake, a pear tart and gelato.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Tapas Valencia dessert menu

 

 

Cindy’s Rooftop at Chicago Athletic Hotel

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Cindy's at Chicago Athletic Association

View from Cindy’s Rooftop Terrace overlooking Lake Michigan and Millennium Park

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Cindy's Rooftop Terrace

View looking toward The Adler Planetarium from Cindy’s Rooftop Terrace

 

 

Oh yeah, brunch!  Sorry, I got distracted by the view 🙂  Well, this is 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.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Cindy's Rooftop brunch

Don’t be stingy! Share your eggs and pancakes 🙂

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Cindy's Rooftop in Chicago

Family-style brunch platters at Cindy’s is fabulous fun.

 

 

Little Goat Diner

 

 

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 (l’m talking about 6-7am early). Nice!  Nothing like a bit of peace and quiet in the early morning light.

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Little Goat Diner

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Little Goat Diner

That’s Chef Stephanie Izard working the line!

 

 

The baked goods are wonderful and so is the oatmeal.  I highly recommend the bright and tangy fish tostadas.  The slaw is wonderfully crunchy.

 

 

 

Best Chicago Brunches Fish tostadas at Little Goat Diner

The tangy fish tostadas are not to be missed here!

 

 

There you have it, folks, the Best Chicago Brunches – Part 1.  I think this should hold you all for a bit until I publish Part 2.  I promise I won’t take too long.  Stay tuned!…So, rise and shine!  Hop the rails or buses to sample the sweet and savory dishes at these hot spots.

 

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!