Sometimes your body doesn't need oatmeal. Or a banana. Or Grape-Nuts with almond milk. Sometimes (most times?) your body needs one of the best breakfast sandwiches in all of Chicago. Get ready to feel 99% less bad.
What you're getting: Bagel sandwich
One bite of Nightwood’s bagel sandwich and you’ll wonder how you ever survived on other versions. The Pilsen favorite puts its own spin on things by mixing cream cheese with Rushing Waters smoked trout and smearing it on a bagel along with bacon, an over-easy egg, and slaw. Since it’s only available during Sunday brunch hours you’ll have to plan ahead, but you’ll be glad you did.
River North, Wicker Park
What you're getting: Chorizo-egg torta
Rick Bayless has mastered the art of the torta (Mexico's flatbread-ier version of a breakfast sando) and he shows that off like a mother at XOCO, which -- from 8-10am -- does a chorizo-egg torta loaded with scrambled eggs, pork chorizo, poblano rajas, Samuel’s cheese, and avocado.
What you're getting: Fannie’s Killer Fried Egg Sandwich
North-siders flock to this Andersonville brunch spot for locally sourced and organic dishes that use seasonal ingredients, including one item you’ll always find on the menu: the Fannie’s Killer Fried Egg Sandwich. Two over-medium eggs, a plethora of applewood bacon, sliced plum tomatoes, Gorgonzola, and thyme are layered on crisp, toasted sour boule bread.
Lincoln Park, South Loop
What you're getting: Moshe Cristo
ECD's version the Monte Cristo -- a variation of the French classic croque monsieur -- is stacked high with deli meat cut to order and sandwiched between crispy challah dipped in egg batter and pan fried. It's a hearty and rich French toast concoction that’s enough to re-pass you out.
What you're getting: Breakfast sandwich
Although it’s best known for a quality selection of beef, Chicago Cut also offers a tasty breakfast sandwich piled high with scrambled eggs, applewood bacon, white cheddar, tomatoes, and an arugula pesto between slices of toasted sourdough bread. For $10, it’s an excellent, unexpected bargain at one of Chicago’s finest steakhouses.
What you're getting: Egg sandwich
A heap of pulled pork shoulder and over-easy eggs share between-bread space with a ricotta salata and plum preserve spread on a bollo roll. Good luck eating this egg "sandwich" with your hands. Pro tip: bring cash.
What you're getting: The Ali
Yup, fried chicken for breakfast. The Nashville Hot Chicken from The Roost -- one of Chicago's top restaurant openings this year -- gets floated on a buttermilk biscuit in the Ali breakfast sandwich, which also packs a fried egg and dill pickles. Oh, and if you're still not feeling awake, this should help with that, too: the chicken is coated in a fiery, sweet cayenne paste.
What you're getting: BLT
Bakin’ & Eggs does a Chicago rarity: a breakfast BLT, adding eggs any way you want ‘em to the traditional bacon-lettuce-tomato along with cheddar, and a walnut and basil pesto mayo.
What you're getting: Breakfast banh mi
This Irving Park spot puts a breakfast twist on the Vietnamese staple, replacing the usual banh mi-gredients with pork belly, ham rillettes, kimchi, fried eggs, and hash browns. Important timing note: it's only available on the brunch menu served on weekends.
What you're getting: Caprese and egg
This waffle-centric eatery loads scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar, and mayo onto a Brussels waffle, turning it into a glorious Franken-breakfast-sandwich-taco thing. Exactly what it is isn't important, just the fact that it is... is.
1. Nightwood Restaurant2119 S Halsted St, Chicago
2. XOCO449 N Clark, Chicago
3. m.henry5707 N Clark St, Chicago
4. Eleven City Diner1112 S Wabash Ave, Chicago
5. Chicago Cut Steakhouse300 N LaSalle, Chicago
6. Jam3057 W Logan Blvd, Chicago
7. The Roost Carolina Kitchen1467 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago
8. Bakin' And Eggs3120 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
9. Bread & Wine3732 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago
10. Wafel217 N Clinton St, Chicago
This farm-to-table eatery is home to all things artisanal and local, and only serves up eats that're in season. Stop in for bites like their house corned beef on rye crouton bread, served with chopped liver and egg.
Conveniently next door to Top Chef master Rick Bayless' upscale Mexican joints Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, XOCO (derived from Mexican slang for "little sister") is a quick-service cafe with communal tables and a central wood burning oven. The aromas of Bayless' take on classic made-to-order south of the border street fare is sure to draw crowds from all over.
This breakfast and brunch spot in Andersonville specializes in vibrant plates of restorative goodness like huevos borrachos with chorizo, or Fannie’s Killer Fried Egg Sandwich -- two over-medium eggs, a plethora of applewood bacon, sliced plum tomatoes, Gorgonzola, and thyme layered on crisp, toasted sour boule bread.
A matrimony of the Jewish delicatessen and the old-school diner, Eleven City Diner's a greasy spoon sans the grease, with awesome double-decker sandwiches and generally huge portions of pretty much everything.
A steakhouse hit among the power meal set, Chicago Cut attributes its quality cuts to the Colorado cattle it raises 1,300ft above sea level. The beef is dry-aged for 35 days then butchered on-site, and no matter what you order (the bone-in prime rib is knockout good), expect dense muscle and an intense flavor. The 225-seat space, outfitted with red velvet booths, overlooks the river.
You haven't brunched in Chicago until you've brunched at Jam, a sleek Logan Square daytime-only restaurant that's won consecutive Michelin Bib Gourmand awards for its sweet and savory plates like peach pancakes, malted custard French toast, and hot chicken & waffles. Jam's breakfast sandwich -- made with a heap of pulled pork shoulder, eggs over easy, ricotta salata, and plum preserves -- is one of the best in the city, and its house burger, topped with a sunny-side egg, tastes great for a late, or early, lunch. The restaurant serves brunch all day (from 7am to 3pm, that is), and there's a fine selection of house cocktails, including a daily punch special and bacon-infused Old Fashioneds.
If you're craving crispy fried chicken and mouth-watering chicken sammies, head to Lakeview. Head to The Roost, a food truck with a permanent BYOB storefront on Irving Park Road, for Carolina-style recipes like crispy, spicy fried chicken on a flaky buttermilk biscuit topped with dill pickles, coleslaw, chipotle buttermilk ranch, and cheddar or blue cheese. Heat things up even more by ordering the Nashville Hot, Habanero BBQ, or Buffalo variations. Creamy mac and cheese and sweet peach cobbler round out the feast.
From the folks behind Lovely Bake Shop, B&E's living up to its name with five types of bacon (jalapeño, maple, mesquite) that're available in flights or as a side supporting egg creations like a caramelized onion/blue cheese/balsamic frittata and more.
Certain the meal they cook you will be better than your Last Supper, Bread & Wine wants to make you an apostate from other restaurants by serving up its namesakes and then some, which they're doing in a snug, 60-seat bistro space sporting a counter view of the open kitchen, and rough-cut communal tables made from felled elm (hopefully none of your fellow diners turn out to be a nightmare).