Meet the Chefs Dishing Up Queer Hospitality st MeMe's Diner
Soulful home to mashups of Southern and Mexican cuisine
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 the mezcal-based Coco & Rico, if a little hair of the dog strikes your fancy. And for the not-so-basic basic set: toast topped with golden beet yogurt, maple-bourbon-cured salmon, Honeycrisp apples, red onion, and a lemon-dill vinaigrette, because avocado is so last year.
Amazing breakfast options in a warm, wood-paneled space
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. There's also 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.
A neighborhood favorite staffed by self-taught chefs
A perennial favorite among local chefs and everyday eaters alike, this sunny eatery has long been one of Chicago's brightest brunch stars. The menu changes at the season's whim, but house-made pastries and brioche French toast with Klug Farm apples, white sesame granola, and cardamom anglaise provide a bit of stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction, while the ever-evolving "Royale" breakfast sandwich, which recently featured celery root, parmesan, tomato conserva, and balsamic, tries to redefine the common breakfast sandwich. And succeeds.
Part farmhouse and part beer hall with plenty of space to sit
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.
Where Portuguese and Asian food collide in Logan Square
Go for the namesake arroz gordo brimming with curried chicken, char siu, chili prawns, and clams, and stick around for Macau baked pork chop rice or the Hong Kong-style French toast with peanut butter and banana. And you should absolutely wash it all down with a mango mimosa or the respectable Bloody Mary garnished with house-made pickles.
Proudly organic restaurant in a cozy exposed-brick space
One of Chicago's most prominent organic and sustainable 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. As if that wasn't good enough, you can now reserve group tables on weekends there.
Award-winning casual spot known for its Juicy Lucy
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 steak and eggs and French toast loaded with espresso anglaise, winter citrus marmalade, whipped creme fraiche, and hazelnut. 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 and paired with beef fat fries.
Farm-to-table neighborhood spot focusing on community and Southern flavor
This quiet hideaway offers classic brunch fare done right, with a Southern edge. Try the chicken and waffle with rosemary whipped creme fraiche, caramelized onion puree, honey brittle, smoked Parmigiano, and maple syrup for a comfort food commingling, and wash it down with one of several creative cocktail options, coffee, juice, or a breakfast beer.
Equally good for its sweets and its titanic burger
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 & eggs, etc.) and unique seasonal dishes are perfect for quenching pretty much anything else. Their burger is also one of the best in Chicago, by the by.
Four words: Fruity Pebbles French toast
Yes, you read that right -- Fruity Pebbles French toast -- which somehow works magnificently and sits on a menu stacked with Mexican fare, too. 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.
Intimacy doesn't get much closer with this restaurant-in-a-kitchen
It's no secret that this Michelin-starred spot's fried chicken is otherworldly, but thanks to the addition of a supremely fluffy waffle, rich honey butter, and whiskey syrup, its brunch form arguably is its best form. Find a spot at the bustling kitchen bar, and enjoy both the energy and the warmth of the open hearth as you knock back a breakfast-y cocktail, cinnamon toast smeared with foie gras mousse, strawberry jam, and a sprinkling of black pepper, sausage-studded biscuits and gravy with pickled greens, and more.
Brunch on the most flavorful chicken nuggets you'll find
Stop by one of 2017's top newcomers for chef/owner Zoe Shor's playful take on brunch. Her signature chicken nuggets with honey mustard are a must, and team well with house giardiniera-topped duck confit hash or sultry French toast bread pudding.
An elegant French spot that also makes a mean burger
With a menu that soars from familiar favorites, like hash browns, pastries, and avocado toast, to the decidedly more eclectic, like caviar toast, a sauteed calf brains-topped breakfast sandwich, and boudin noir, this French spot is a far cry from the usual brunch suspects, and that's exactly what makes it so great. If you miss brunch on weekdays, happy hour starts at 3pm, and its cheeseburger special gets you the burger, a beer, and fries for $20.
A stacked brunch menu served in exquisitely designed blue-and-gold space
The folks behind Michelin-starred Boka bring serious weekend brunch chops (and seven-days-a-week breakfast!) to the Viagra Triangle. Score garlic sausage hash, a kimchi-aioli topped crispy chicken sandwich, and a bagel and smoked fish plate; round it all out with rum-spike hot chocolate and a Chartreuse marshmallow, because it's the weekend, and you deserve it.
The best place in town for Filipino breakfast
Ditch the American brunch standards for a proper Filipino breakfast at this all-day eatery. The longaniza breakfast features anise wine-cured sweet chorizo with two eggs (any style) and garlic fried rice, while the marinated skirt steak is served with two eggs, your choice of hash browns or grits, and toast; both dishes are fan favorites, and shouldn't be overlooked.