Don't let its vegetarian-friendly identity fool you: This Randolph spot might go light on its meat offerings, but it sacrifices nothing in the way of flavor. The always-on-menu veggie burger is a must for first-timers (trust us, this isn't your garden-variety meatless patty), and seasonally driven eats like honey-lavender scones with lemon curd, granola griddle cakes, and soft-scrambled eggs with a pumpernickel pretzel will satisfy even the most persnickety carnivores. If meat is a must, don't miss the bacon and radish cake Benedict drenched in miso hollandaise and the lemongrass breakfast sausage.
What this intimate all-day diner lacks in square footage, it makes up for with bold and hearty Tex-Mex fare. The buttermilk-fried chicken blanketed in punchy chorizo verde gravy is equal parts hangover cure and deep-fried bliss, and it pairs well with the Dark Matter Coffee house blend or a tequila cobbler, if a little hair of the dog strikes your fancy. And for the not-so-basic basic set: avocado toast topped with queso fresco, coppa, cilantro, and a green almond vinaigrette.
MAD Social's pancakes might just be the best in Chicago, and you really aren't going to want to miss out on these airy, salted caramel whipped butter-topped babies. Chef Mariela Bolaños also cooks up an impressive lineup of savory eats, like Korean-style short rib Benedict, shakshuka, and an exceptionally photogenic chicken-and-waffles number made with a churro waffle.
People-watch from the patio while brunching on cupcake pancakes and Cuban sandwiches at this casual neighborhood cafe. After you're finished, peruse the grocery shelves for an array of baked goods and locally sourced specialty items, like GrownUp KidStuff's Grand Marnier-infused chocolate sauce.
A perennial favorite among local chefs and everyday eaters alike, Lula Cafe has long been one of Chicago's brightest brunch stars. The coffee brioche French toast with chicory creme anglaise and frosted pecans provides a bit of stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction, while the ever-evolving "Royale" -- a baked egg with charred escarole, avocado, black lentils, provolone, and adobo verde -- tries to redefine the common breakfast sandwich. And succeeds.
The formula at The Publican is simple. Order some fresh oysters, the flavorful smoked Arctic char omelet (dill, crème fraiche, and salmon roe), and the wheat beer mimosa, or the bottomless coffee. You can't go wrong.
Go for the namesake arroz gordo brimming with curried chicken, char siu, chili prawns, and clams, and stick around for the Malay-style omelet studded with sausage and shrimp, or the Hong Kong-style French toast with peanut butter and banana. And you should absolutely wash it all down with the house red sangria made with dragon and passion fruit liqueur, berry brandy, creme de cassis, and cinnamon, or the respectable Bloody Mary garnished with house-made pickles.
Wicker Park, South Loop, Andersonville
When the word "sinful" is emblazoned across the top of a menu, chances are good you're about to make a few bad-for-the-waistline decisions. At The Bongo Room, those decisions include a chocolate French toast tower, beef tenderloin Benedict, and a massive breakfast burrito.
One of Chicago's most prominent organicstainable restaurants, Nana still manages to do epic brunch fare like huevos rancheros, grilled shrimp and fried oyster po-boys, and cinnamon-apple pancakes drenched in creme anglaise.
With a Michelin star in tow and the note-perfect brunch eats to prove it, this casual concept has anchored Pilsen's burgeoning dining scene. The menu changes regularly, but currently features a fried brioche French toast with compressed strawberries, lemon curd, malted vanilla, and basil; chilaquiles; and steak and eggs with grilled spring onion, salt-crusted potatoes, chermoula, natural jus, and two eggs. If you're more in the mood for lunch, don't miss the Juicy Lucy made with a thick Slagel Family Farm beef patty that's stuffed with American cheese.
Mindy's is one of Damen Ave's brunch heavy-hitters. The rotating cocktail menu, which sometimes includes creations with cold-brew coffee and fresh-squeezed fruits, is perfect for quenching your booze thirst. And the standard brunch fare (French toast, steak and eggs, etc.) and unique seasonal dishes are perfect for quenching pretty much anything else.
BJ's brunch menu spans from baked goods using centuries-old recipes to crawfish-stuffed omelets and fried Alabama catfish, with plenty of charcuterie and sunny cocktail options in between.
This quiet hideaway offers classic brunch fare done right, with a Southern edge. Try the chicken-fried biscuit smothered in béchamel for a comfort food commingling, and wash it down with one of several creative cocktail options, coffee, juice, or a breakfast beer.
Four words: Fruity Pebbles French toast. Granted, it's an outlier on an otherwise Latin-influenced menu, but who cares! You can also get your brunch game on with three varieties of Bloody Marys, eight different mimosas, and a breakfast shot with house-made bacon-infused bourbon and butterscotch schnapps with an OJ chaser.
1. Chicago Q1160 N Dearborn, Chicago
2. Lula Café2537 N Kedzie Blvd, Chicago
3. 2 Sparrows553 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago
4. Waffles Cafe Lakeview3617 N Broadway, Chicago
5. The Publican837 W Fulton Market St, Chicago
6. Fat Rice2957 W Diversey Ave, Chicago
7. The Bongo Room1470 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
8. Nana3267 S Halsted St, Chicago
9. The Savoy1408 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
10. Dusek's1227 W 18th St, Chicago
11. The Radler2375 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
12. Trenchermen2039 W North Ave, Chicago
13. Mindy's Hot Chocolate1747 N Damen Ave, Chicago
14. Endgrain1851 W Addison St, Chicago
15. Southport Grocery & Cafe3552 N Southport Ave, Chicago
16. Big Jones5347 N Clark St, Chicago
17. Gather Chicago4539 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
18. Flo1434 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
A solid member of Chi's increasingly crowded smoked-meat scene, Chi Q gets fancy with spartan black leather furniture and white linen light fixtures. The gut-busting plates feature fare like bacon/cheddar hushpuppies, pork-infused "pig powder chips", and seriously good Brussels sprouts.
This Logan Square restaurant has been embracing the farm-to-table philosophy long before the term was so ubiquitous. Open since 1999, Lula Café is a weekend brunch destination with lines running out the door for unreal breakfast sandwiches and veggie-centric mains. The menu is always changing given ingredients' availability, but you'll find it hard to be disappointed by whatever's in store. The garden patio area is the perfect spot for sipping morning cocktails and people watching on Sundays.
Famous for its breakfast, 2 Sparrow serves comfort foods perfect to cure your hangover (we're onto you). Allow the biscuits & gravy, eggs in purgatory, and housemade doughnuts soak up last night's bad decisions.
This breakfast spot has evening hours in case you sleep through breakfast and lunch and find yourself craving a cheddar and short rib waffle, which you can then wash down with a hot chocolate flight selected from a dozen flavors like toasted marshmallow and gingerbread.
Paul Kahan's West Loop restaurant feels like the Midwest; big and welcoming with communal tables, it's a farmhouse and a beer hall at the same time. The menu focuses on three things: beer, pork, and oysters, but you'll also find vegetable and fish alternatives. The beer selection features brews from all over, with a fair share from Belgium and Chicago.
This perpetual hot spot in Logan Square specializes in the cuisine of Macau, which translates to a mix of European and Asian comfort foods. The signature dish is arroz gordo, aka fat rice, a paella-meets-bibimbap bowl of layered rice packed rich with clams, prawns, sausage, chicken, eggs, olives, and chilis. Everything about Fat Rice is conducive to sharing, from the appetizers and entrees to the communal tables.
Brunch at The Bongo Room is not for the faint of heart (or those determined to be skinny of waist). A chocolate French toast tower, beef tenderloin Benedict, and a massive breakfast burrito make up just a part of a brunch menu on which every item is listed under "Sinful".
Nana's breakfast (no, not your Nana) is prepared with local, organic, sustainable, and seasonal products that are all mainly made in-house. That's some fresh b-fast that you'll be having, like the "Nanadict" (eggs Benedict, yo), blueberry pancakes, and poblano & cheddar grits. Typically with po-boys, you'd have to choose between the shrimp or oysters for a sandwich, but this friendly organic spot loads copious amounts of both grilled spicy shrimp and perfectly fried oysters -- along with a zesty cajun mayo and house-made giardiniera -- onto a hearty baguette.
At The Savoy you'll find a raw bar with East/West coast oysters, inventive seafood dishes, and pre-prohibition era cocktails. Also offered: a 40-strong list of absinthe, served either traditionally or in cocktails. Enjoy your evening filled with hallucinogens and aphrodisiacs!
Helmed by Longman & Eagle's Jared Wentworth, this Michelin-starred restaurant in Pilsen serves upscale American pub food. Dusek's takes everything you love and makes it better, whether that's cooking French fries in beef fat or topping a juicy hamburger with bacon marmalade and serving it on a house-baked pretzel bun. There are more than two dozen beers on tap -- some are from Chicago, others are from abroad -- and daily beer specials. The late-night menu serves the aforementioned burger and fries until 1am every night.
The Radler's a beer hall that's serving up tons of different sausages, sessionable and unique brews, and an opportunity to chant "PROST!" outside of Oktoberfest.
Trenchermen is modeled after the hospitality offered by a Turkish bathhouse that previously occupied its location -- "a place where vodka was at hand and a bowl of borscht and a cold beer was a staple." Today you'll find a classier menu with dishes like braised lamb shank served over goat cheese gnudi, that still captures the comfort of the food formerly served here. Oh, and 30+ beers on tap.
Pastry chef Mindy Segal's Bucktown restaurant is synonymous with comfort food from both the sweet and savory sides of the spectrum. Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, Mindy's Hot Chocolate serves soul-warming dishes, like the Slagel Farm beef burger topped with a fried egg, creamy mac & cheese, and daily soups with crusty sourdough bread. Of course, a meal here isn't complete without dessert, which should include an order of the amazingly rich hot chocolate and a slice of the daily cake (or anything off the dessert menu -- it's all addictive).
Endgrain is a Roscoe Village, farm-fresh restaurant that's turning out innovative cuisine (think fried chicken with PORK GRAVY and bacon/butterscotch donuts).
This grocery store AND breakfast/brunch hotspot is known to whip up some pretty delectable french toast, egg plates, and other treats.
If you’re looking for real Southern comfort in Chicago, then Big Jones in Andersonville is for you. The menu is filled with authentic Lowcountry dishes adapted from antique cookbooks, like cornbread muffins taken from an 18th-century plantation recipe and traditional Cajun gumbo. The sustainable menu changes seasonally, but no matter what, expect the signature fried chicken every night. Big Jones’ weekend brunch is also a stunner, especially if you nab a table on the back patio.
A seamless infusion of European cuisine with American touches, Gather boasts a strong wine list and cultivates a warm, open vibe with their Sunday Dinner events. They've got a can't-miss brunch, serving up some of Chi's best Bloody Marys.
This Latin American brunch spot is the perfect place to treat yourself to great comfort food in Noble Square. Aside from free coffee, their French toast is super tasty and their Bloodys are strong and delicious.