FOOD AND DRINK
Where to Have Brunch in Chicago
Whether you’re swayed by sustainable options, are looking for some history with your egs benny, or are salivating over the thought of churro French toast, Chicago has a brunch for you.
To you, it may be called day drinking. To Chicagoans, it’s called brunch, and the locals cherish it. So much that every weekend, they’re happy to wait in line to tuck in plate of gussied-up eggs with a fresh-squeezed mimosa anytime from mid-morning to early afternoon.
Chicagoans are accustomed to their brunches being boozy, so even the restaurants listed that don’t have a bar on site will allow you to bring your own bottle. Feel free to show up with your hands full. Our favourite restaurants for brunch in Chicago span the range from hip and casual to elegant and refined, and many of them take pride in offering locally produced ingredients.
When a hotel restaurant makes it onto the radar of locals, you know it has to be good. Such is the case with Beatrix, attached to Aloft Chicago City Center in River North. The “breakfast cocktails” – such as a mimosa, and a sangrita with black cherry and lime – are made with freshly squeezed juice, and the entrées have an impressive array of healthy options (take the oven-roasted tomato and egg white sandwich, for example, or the quinoa cakes with poached eggs). All of this makes Beatrix a popular destination with the calorie-conscious girls-brunch-out crew.
Best for: a mindful, post-yoga meal
Brunch hours: Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
519 N. Clark St., 312-284-1377
An hour or even two-hour wait isn’t uncommon at the city’s most popular brunch spots. That’s why a handful of those-in-the-know skip the queue and head straight for Mixteco, a neighbourhood joint in Ravenswood, founded by a Frontera Grill alumnus. The menu is filled with Mexican classics, but this isn’t your classic Mexican restaurant. Expect carefully prepared, spice filled enchiladas suizas and chilaquiles, along with creative, Mexican-inspired egg creations loaded with flavour. Bonus: This is a bring-your-own (BYO) restaurant, so you can save money and make your own mimosas using Mixteco’s delicious fresh-squeezed orange juice and your own bubbly.
Best for: free spirits who aren’t swayed by trends or guided by crowds
Brunch hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
1601 W. Montrose Ave., 773-868-1601
The menu is small but mighty and the bloody Mary is strong at this Logan Square favourite, where hipsters like to congregate for the local, farm-fresh fare (and where there will be a queue every weekend, we promise). Whether you opt for sweet (cornbread french toast) or savory (frittata with seasonal veggies and herbs), any day that starts at Lula Café starts off right. Take note: This is one of the few places that does brunch on weekdays.
Best for: Hipsters with neck beards seeking delectable grub
Brunch hours: Daily, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
2537 N. Kedzie Blvd., 773-489-9554
They’ll lure you in with the thought of churro french toast and keep you coming back for the caprese omelette. With locations in Uptown and Garfield Park, Inspiration Kitchens makes a mean breakfast in the classic style. Regulars dig the benedict variations, including blackened salmon, chicken and biscuit, and crab cake. Behind these bennies beats a heart of gold: Inspiration Kitchens doubles as a training program to help poor and homeless people hone their skills and get jobs.
Perfect for: bleeding hearts with grumbling stomachs
Uptown: 4715 N Sheridan Rd., 773-275-0626, Brunch hours: Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Garfield Park: 3504 W. Lake St., 773-801-1110, Brunch hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
With a rooftop farm supplying much of the herbs and produce here, you can’t argue with the freshness of the food (not to mention the coolness/sustainability factor). And then there are the drinks: The Clark Street location of Uncommon Ground is also home to the first certified organic brewery in the state of Illinois. Pair a house-brewed Spaceship IPA with the bacon buttermilk pancakes and you have arrived. Bonus: You don’t have to wait until the weekends for brunch; it’s served daily here.
Best for: Casual diners who appreciate local food and local booze
Brunch hours: Weekdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Edgewater: 1401 West Devon Avenue, 773-465-9801
Wrigleyville: 3800 North Clark Street, 773-929-3680
This power lunch spot by weekday becomes a leisurely brunch spot by weekend. You’ll feel fancy while feasting at Atwood, as it’s tucked away in the historic Reliance Building’s Hotel Burnham – which happens to have been the world’s first skyscraper. Here, chef Brian Millman crafts American comfort food with a twist, and standouts include the pork belly BLT, truffled poached farm eggs and lamb cheesesteak. They’re all calling out to be paired with a breakfast beverage, such as the “inferno Mary” (a jalapeno-infused bloody Mary with bacon) or the bloody mimosa, made with blood orange puree.
Best for: an upscale splurge for history, architecture and gastronomy buffs, alike
Brunch hours: Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
1 W. Washington St., 312-368-1900