I didn’t realize how serious Chicagoans took their brunch until after moving into the city. When I’m looking for the perfect brunch spot to make my weekend, I want to be wowed by creativity on the menu. I’m not looking for your typical eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast — I can make those at home. After much testing, here are my top picks:
1. Jam in West Town — I still have yet to find a place to top this menu. The options were so inventive and tempting, I had a hard time choosing just one thing. A fine dining feel in the way you are treated, although it still remains casual.
2. Lula Cafe in Logan Square — close 2nd to Jam. The creative use of seasonal food on the menu really impressed me. Be prepared to wait — they don’t take reservations and the place is popular AND small.
3. Bongo Room in Wicker Park — I brunch here often because I have friends who live nearby. If you are especially fond of sweet breakfast, they have the most variety I’ve seen. Menu changes often.
4. M Henry in Andersonville — The menu is composed mainly of organic food. The decor feels like a quaint, antique farmhouse — tables are separated by old windows.
5. Over Easy in Ravenswood — Everything is amazing. Try the sassy eggs and take advantage of the coffee while you wait.
6. Browntrout in North Center –This restaurant surprised me and made a huge impact. The first time I tried the smoked trout with orange dill mascarpone on a bagel. It was so tasty that I now often make it for dinner. The second time I had a mushroom crepe with balsamic drizzle — completely packed full of flavor. Warm and inviting atmosphere.
7. Chalkboard in North Center — Another restaurant that surprised me. Southern-based food like biscuits and gravy as well as waffles and fried chicken. Menu also offers a duck “mick” muffin.
8. Perennial in Lincoln Park — Even though this restaurant can seem like it’s more about “being seen”, they have a solid menu that satisfied me every time. The restaurant sits across from Lincoln Park zoo and in the summer when it’s open, the Green City Farmer’s Market.
9. Bristol in Bucktown — Homemade sausage and plenty of meat on the brunch menu. What could be wrong with that?
10. Bistro Campagne in Lincoln Square — French food at it’s best. If you go in the summer time, be sure to sit outside. It’s like you are in a small village.