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Best Brunch in Chicago

Chicago brunch: fun, flavorful and inspired food and drink


Chicago restaurants have noticed that locals love brunch so every week there's a new spot adding the weekend meal to its roster. In fact, you could have brunch once a week for a year straight and still have plenty of places you still want to try. 

We could write a book about myriad brunch options in Chicago, so consider these 10 restaurants a smart start, sure bets and different enough so that you won't be bored. Nellie's, the city's only Puerto Rican Brunch Buffet is an eye-popping array of sweet and savory goodies - plus it's BYOB. Andersonville's m.henry may be the model brunch eatery serving globally inspired spins on the popular meal. Unpretentious, friendly and full of farm fresh food, Dusek's is a must for a serene Sunday brunch but if you go for something louder with big views, it's Kennedy Rooftop for you. Over-the-top cocktails, comforting Southern fare and a lively atmosphere are all on the menu at Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley.  Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge presents "Dim Sum Brunch" and for something with British flair, get to The Albion Manor in Lincoln Park. Bridgeport's The Duck Inn supplies all the comfort food and warmth you'll need to end the week and, also in Bridgeport, The Polo Inn features a Sunday Gospel Punch with live organ music in an historic setting. Why wait for the weekend? Cafe Robey will serve you a Montreal style bagel with lox; pastries; pancakes; omelets; and biscuits and gravy seven days a week. We see an afternoon nap in your future. 

 

 

 


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The Kennedy Rooftop, perched atop the Hyatt Place Wicker Park, offers a mega Sunday brunch experience. Views? Panoramic of the city skyline. Drinks? Beer, wine and handcrafted cocktails including Mimosa flights. The menu includes sweets (Banana Foster French toast and yogurt and fruit bowls) and savories like lox and bagels; an egg skillet, chorizo chilaquiles, avocado toast (hey, this is Wicker Park) and quiche of the day. The full brunch menu is available for an extended timeframe (11 am until 4 pm on Sunday) so you needn't haul yourself out of bed too early. The rooftop also offers a private cabana experience for groups to reserve with a variety of packages, Have a Bloody Mary and some laughs playing life-size games like giant Jenga and Connect Four. Pay attention after those cocktails - an 18% gratuity is added to all checks.

Recommended for Brunch because: Brunch hours at The Kennedy Rooftop are almost as endless as the views.

Jacky's expert tip: John F. Kennedy liked his cocktails. Ask your server what the JFK is this month.

Read more about Kennedy Rooftop →


Peach cobbler, banana pudding, fried chicken, creative waffles, braised short ribs, fried pickles, poboys, shrimp 'n' grits, seafood gumbo - it's all about the most comforting of Southern food and spectacular drinks at Kitchen + Kocktails. The restaurant has two bars to show off its distinctive beverage program of specialty cocktails with dazzling presentations. There are Pina "Koladas" in pineapples; a Reese's Kocktail with a peanut butter cup festooned on the coupe glass; and the Hennessy Lemon Drop, a top seller, has a mini Hennessy bottle overturned in a martini glass. Waffle lovers rejoice in cinnamon roll, butter pecan and peach cobbler waffles, among others. Order grits with shrimp, lobster or fish; chicken, lamb chop and seafood entrees; plus vegan bowls and lots of sharable sides like black-eyed peas with smoked turkey, okra, cornbread and mac 'n' cheese. Winning appetizers include Dream Eggs (deviled eggs crowned with blackened shrimp) and perky fried pickles. Brunch, offered weekends, is equally popular and delish.

Recommended for Brunch because: Over-the-top cocktails, comforting Southern fare and a lively atmosphere make for a memorable brunch.

Jacky's expert tip: Gratuity is automatically added to your bill but you can always kick it up for spectacular service in this busy venue.

Read more about Kitchen + Kocktails by Kevin Kelley →


8
Andersonville


This Andersonville neighborhood favorite is beloved for its new American-style breakfasts, fresh bakery, charming setting, and its use of locally sourced and organic food. While other brunch menus are serving the obligatory eggs and avocado toast, summer at m.henry brings Shrimp and Corncake Benedict; "Out of This World Breakfast Bread Pudding"; and Mango and Sour Cherry Hotcakes. The flavors of fall are revealed in items like Sweet Potato Flapjacks w/Apple Cider Syrup; Rustic Peasant Quiche; and Pumpkin Pecan Hotcakes with maple Mascarpone, among many others. Bestsellers include Fannies Killer Fried Egg Sandwich; any kind of Blisscakes; and Rustic Peasant Quiche. Order an extra pastry to take home because you're saving money on liquor - m.henry is BYOB.

Recommended for Brunch because: A longtime neighborhood favorite, m.henry may be the model brunch eatery serving globally inspired spins on brunch fare.

Jacky's expert tip: The sweet neighborhood cafe/bakery/market also offers fantastic vegetarian and vegan breakfast and lunch items throughout the week (8am-2pm)

Read more about m.henry →


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7
Lincoln Park

If you'd like to be whisked you across pond, tell the LYFT driver to head to The Albion Manor in Lincoln Park. Executive Chef Mark Hill extends his elevated pub dishes to weekend brunch (10am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday). There are welcome surprises across the menu: a light and luscious rocket salad with flavorful pops from radishes, bleu cheese, carrots, blackberries, pickled egg, bacon, rye croutons and blackberry jalapeƱo vinaigrette; a seafood rillette spread of cod, lump crab, egg yolk and chives to smear on toasted rye and crostini; cod frittata made with a half-dozen eggs, everything bagel spice, London Pride braised onions, aioli and scallions. Hankering for biscuits and gravy? Chef's shortcake sage biscuits moistened with curry chicken gravy will set you up for the rest of the day. There's a hearty breakfast sandwich, chicken & waffles, fresh oysters, glossy wings and a brunch burger that gets a nice charge from Nueske's bacon and English cheddar. This is an English style pub after all, so expect plenty of beer choices from ales and IPA's to fruit beers and ciders.

Recommended for Brunch because: Doesn't brunch in a warm English pub sound better than good this weekend?

Jacky's expert tip: Ask to be seated on the patio or in one of the six custom-built English snugs in the rear.

Read more about The Albion Manor →


6
Bridgeport


A Bridgeport supper club, Kevin Hickey's The Duck Inn racked up awards from Michelin Bib Gourmand to Esquire Best New Restaurants and it's a perfect choice for Sunday brunch, too. You'll find the signature dish, a simple and hearty rotisserie duck, inventively rolled into some of the brunch dishes like sopes with chile braised duck, salsa verde, refried beans, Cotija cheese and why not add a fried duck egg while you're at it? Rotisserie duck hash is escorted by soft scrambled eggs and the Bridgeport Breakfast is sided with duck fat potatoes. Japanese barbecue duck wings? Yes, please. There are also sticky buns, buttermilk biscuits, breakfast sandwiches, French toast, shrimp 'n' grits, a substantial burger, a Duck Inn dog and a shaved Prime rib sandwich that you can have dipped. It's like going to grandma's on a Sunday without any familial resentment brewing just under the surface - and better food. Sip a Mimosa, Bloody Mary, kombucha or a cup of Duck Inn Blend coffee courtesy of fine Chicago roaster, Sparrow.

Recommended for Brunch because: The Duck Inn, in an old Chicago neighborhood, offers such comforting food and warmth, you'll wonder if there's a long lost relative amid the crowd.

Jacky's expert tip: In keeping with the residential neighborhood, the outdoor area is called the backyard garden and it stays open until the weather gets ridiculous.

Read more about The Duck Inn →


5
Pilsen

If you neither need nor want brunch with dress codes, wacky Fruit Loops shots, crowds getting hammered all over again just hours after the night before or wall-to-wall giant screen TVs, consider Sunday brunch at Dusek's where the service is calm, the food is well-crafted and the drinks are sturdy. Start with robust cold brew, Brunch Punch or a Bloody Mary and pastry Chef Ashley Robinson's seasonal pastries (like a walnut sticky bun), buttermilk biscuit with jam or a warm scallion knot. Chef Ben Truesdell's brunch menu is compact but intriguingly varied: briny oysters, cool shrimp cocktail and beet salad with sauce gribiche (a delightful cold egg sauce) are good for sharing. Then go for mushroom scramble with creme fraiche on grilled peasant bread; biscuits and gravy perked up by Calabrian chile sausage; French toast with whipped ricotta, blueberries, almond, and mint; or a very hearty steak and eggs with 3 Sisters black beans, chimichurri, eggs, and Sungold tomatoes, among the choices. Chef has been tight with local farmers for years so menu items are extremely fresh.

Recommended for Brunch because: Unpretentious, friendly and full of farm fresh food, Dusek's is a must for a serene Sunday brunch.

Jacky's expert tip: There is plenty of street parking in Pilsen near Dusek's.

Read more about Dusek's →




Pancakes? Another rendition of Eggs Benedict? Oy - try Koi. Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge presents a different and delish weekend brunch service. Every Saturday and Sunday, sup on "Dim Sum Brunch" from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Modeled after yum cha, the Chinese tradition of gathering with family and friends at a tea house, Koi's dim sum dishes feature traditional recipes hailing from eight different regions of Southern China. Expect to have a hard time deciding among 35 small plates including: scallion pancakes; congee; barbecue pork buns; beautiful vegetable items like Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce; beef short ribs, Peking duck bao buns; various noodle dishes and dumplings; fried rice; and roasted duck among the luscious lot. Pair your choices with Koi's organic tea selections from brisk jade Oolong to mellow, chestnutty Dragon Well green tea or opt for sake, beer, wine or a cocktail.

Recommended for Brunch because: Stroll the shore of Lake Michigan then indulge in a truly distinctive dim sum brunch at Koi.

Jacky's expert tip: Bottomless Mimosas or Bloody Marys may be added for an incredibly reasonable $12 per person.

Read more about Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge →


3
Bridgeport

For nearly 40 years, The Polo Inn has been ensconced in a brownstone walk-up (circa 1914) about a mile from Sox Park. Owner/chef Dave Samber offers something completely different for brunch as he leads diners in song in front of a Rodgers 360 Theatre organ every Sunday from 10am to 2pm in the elegant Old Eagle Room. While Brian Milnikel, a former church organist who performed at The National Cathedral in D.C. brings a wide repertoire to brunch, staff serves entrees like "Eggs Benedicto XVI" presented with a framed 8"x10" of Pope Benedict XVI and "A Trinity of Poached Eggs over Whole-ly Wheat Toast topped with St Bernice Bearnaise Sauce." Those who go for sweet brunch items should order baked Creme Brulee French Toast filled with fresh cut fruit and topped with fig vodka butter syrup, powdered sugar, and whipped cream. It's BYOB for a small corkage fee. The Polo Inn is also a B & B with themed suites and a cooked-to-order breakfast in the dining room.

Recommended for Brunch because: An interactive Gospel Brunch in a 1914 Bridgeport building with live music and great food? Why not?

Jacky's expert tip: There's free street parking as well as complimentary parking in a lot just south of The Polo Inn at 3330 S Morgan Street.

Read more about The Polo Inn →


2
Humboldt Park

Family owned Nellie's, located in the heart of Humboldt Park's Paseo Boricua, serves breakfast and lunch all week but it's the Puerto Rican Brunch Buffet presented every Saturday and Sunday that'll really wow you. Expect a dazzling array of Puerto Rican breakfast items and American favorites including an omelet station and other made-to-order eggs and Nellie's popular Avena de Coco (Coconut Oatmeal). Choose French toast, pancakes, breakfast meats and potatoes, fresh fruit, sweet plantains (maduros) and arroz con gandules (Puerto rican rice with pigeon peas and chicken, among many options. Nellie's is BYOB so you'll save lots of dinero on cocktails, beer and wine. Groups would be wise to make a reservation.

Recommended for Brunch because: The city's only Puerto Rican Brunch Buffet is a eye-popping array of sweet and savory goodies - plus it's BYOB.

Jacky's expert tip: If you want to beat the crowd for the weekend brunch buffet, stop by between 9 and and 11am.

Read more about Nellie's →


In our work and the leisure-fluid world, why should brunch be relegated strictly to the weekend? Cafe Robey, a Wicker Park restaurant located inside The Robey hotel, serves brunch seven days a week (7 am to 2 pm; Saturday-Sunday until 3 pm). Slip into a comfy banquette as a peppy music mix and sun seeping through surrounding windows lifts spirits. The seasonal menu lists healthy options like breakfast chopped salad and a hearty grain bowl filled with veg and herbs and befitting breakfast items - Benedict, pancakes; salmon bagel; omelets; biscuits and gravy. Have some fun and try duck hash; chilaquiles; Shakshuka; a Cuban sandwich; or even a double cheeseburger which will set you right after a night out. A tequila cocktail or Collectivo coffee will smack you silly depending upon which way you want to roll that day. There's a nice tea menu and a compact yet satisfying beer and wine roster.

Recommended for Brunch because: Cafe Robey is effortlessly cool without a smidge of pretension or an air of trying too hard. And it serves brunch seven days a week.

Jacky's expert tip: Post-brunch, browse the neighborhood's unique vintage shops, boutiques, book and record stores.

Read more about Cafe Robey →


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Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky

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