It has been several years since I had many different friends with whom to enjoy weekend brunch. Lately, it seems I am lucky to meet up with one good friend for such an occasion (heavy sigh). I guess it is an unfortunate consequence of getting older and friends becoming less available. Last Sunday, I decided to break this sad cycle by taking myself out to brunch. That’s right. A solo brunch! Pathetic? Not at all! My need for some sweet and savory weekend fare overtook my dismay that there was no one to join me. Besides, I enjoy my own company and I am not afraid to talk to strangers (HA!). After all, strangers are just people you haven’t met yet. So, I put on a “Sunday-best smile” and hopped the CTA Brown line to Old Town Social in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood for a delicious and peaceful Sunday brunch.
Old Town Social is located at 455 W. North Avenue, just 2 blocks west of the Sedgwick ‘L’ stop along the CTA Brown and Purple lines . You can also get there by taking the CTA Red Line to the North/Clybourn ‘L’ Stop and walking 4 blocks east.
Old Town Social has been a hot spot in Chicago, since it first opened a few years back. It boasts an extensive beer list and a special charcuterie menu. The restaurant has received many well-deserved accolades. Here is how my brunch went down:
Since I wanted to experience both sweet and savory food, I ordered the cornmeal-bacon waffles with house-smoked sausage and maple syrup.
The cornmeal made the waffles are a lot lighter than a traditional waffle batter. It also added a really nice texture to the waffles. The smoked sausage was fabulous. It was just the right amount of smoky, spicy, juicy and crispy. Honestly, this dish was so flavorful, it did not really need the addition of the maple syrup. But, since it was there, how could I resist?! So glad I tried it because this maple syrup was not too heavy, not too light and not too sweet as to overpower the main attraction on my plate 🙂 Yum!
The best way I can describe the atmosphere at Old Town Social is sports bar meets cozy, sophisticated ski lodge. So, while Old Town Social appears low-key and casual, it attracts a more mature clientele (Read: The restaurant is not overrun with young, screaming children, at least not during my visits) and this fact makes me happy.
The space at Old Town Social is divided into different rooms. The main bar area, bright and airy, opens up into an adjoining space with small high top tables, a large, marble communal table and 2 private, draped-covered booths. There are a lot of beautiful wood beams, a funky ceiling fan and a skylight. There are 2 additional dining areas near the back of the restaurant which have more booths and some nice exposed brick.
However, my favorite area at Old Town Social is the front “living room” which consists of a fireplace, a sofa, coffee table, area rug and a few small dining tables.
Old Town Social has very nice acoustics. During my brunch, the staff played a really nice mix of music including, jazz, blues, funk, classic rock and Motown hits. All of the music was played a volume which did not intrude with the dining or socializing experience. Also, there are over 20 flat screen T.V.s mounted on the walls throughout the restaurant broadcasting a myriad of sporting events. However, the sound is muted so everyone was able to enjoy their conversations and a more peaceful brunch experience.
I cannot wait to return to Old Town Social whether I go solo or with friends. The atmosphere here is warm, cozy and fun. The staff is very friendly and attentive. The food is delicious 🙂
For more information about Old Town Social, visit www.oldtownsocial.com
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Brown, Purple or Red lines to Old Town Social. Save gas money. Avoid traffic and parking. Don’t drink and drive!