Food & Drink

The Best New Chicago Brunches You Need to Try Now

Published On 09/22/2015 Published On 09/22/2015
Cindy's | Neil Burger Photography

Do you ever feel like you’re in an endless loop of returning to the same old fallback brunch spots? Break the cycle and try something different, like one of these 10 brand-spanking-new brunch services that have launched over the past few months offering up chilaquiles, lobster BLTs, and Bloody Mary beers.

Son of a butcher tavern

Son of a Butcher Tavern

Logan Square
What you’re getting: Piggie by the pound

This laid-back gastropub hosts a meat-centric Cochon Brunch every weekend packed with protein-rich dishes, such as the wallet-friendly “piggie by the pound,” lamb sausage, rosemary orange biscuits doused in homemade chorizo gravy and pickled golden raisins, and beef navel pastrami Benedict. Offset all that meat with a side of grilled corn or “spuddies” with tarragon aioli dipping sauce.

Ampersand

Ampersand

Ravenswood
What you’re getting: Short rib hash

Forget waking up early to secure a table at brunch: this neighborhood wine bar’s new “late brunch” runs from 12pm-4pm on weekends so that those of us who need our beauty sleep can still get in on a piece of the brunch action. Wake up at your leisure and head over to treat yo self to short rib hash with braised chard and a soft poached egg and a refreshing Underscore cocktail made with hibiscus and cava.

Kailley Lindman/Thrillist

Pub Royale

Wicker Park
What you’re getting: Stuffed paratha and donut

Brunch gets an Indian twist at this hipster-friendly Division St newcomer, where offerings range from paratha stuffed with bacon, potato, and cheese with a fried egg to a massive twisted donut coated in a spicy-sweet chai dulce de leche glaze. Quench your thirst with an irresistible brunch cocktail, like the Bloody Maharani made with tomato, lemon, and lime juices, hot sauce, and mitha misala.

Kailley Lindman/Thrillist

Formento’s

West Loop
What you’re getting: Eggs in Purgatory

Executive Chef Tony Quartaro effortlessly balances Formento’s signature new-school-meets-old-school Italian style with classic brunch fare, creating a menu that’s as inventive as it is comforting. Soak up last night’s indiscretions with bomboloni injected with your choice of raspberry jam or Nutella, eggs in spicy pork gravy “purgatory” atop polenta, and Italian fried chicken.

Neil Burger Photography

Cindy’s

Loop
What you’re getting: Cast-iron quiche Lorraine

Perched atop the newly revamped Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, this breezy 13th-floor oasis is prime for brunching with pals. Grab seats at the picnic-style tables and work your way through cast-iron quiche Lorraine with Neuske bacon, caramelized onions, Gruyere, and a frisee salad, lox and bagels, and cinnamon raisin brioche French toast topped with caramelized pineapple and vanilla crème fraiche -- all of which are served as platters designed to feed three to four hungry people; wash it all down with the Hair of the Wolf: High Life and a shot of Fidencio mezcal, fresh OJ, and Ancho Reyes liqueur with salted chocolate dust.

Eric Kleinberg

Balena

Lincoln Park
What you’re getting: Sweet crespelle

After three successful years as Lincoln Park’s premiere destination for a modern Italian dinner, this 2015 Bib Gourmand recipient has finally launched a Sunday brunch service. The promising menu showcases a variety of savory options that range from pizza topped with corn, Gorgonzola, and sweet peppers to baked eggs with caponata and fennel toast, as well as one knockout sweet dish: a sweet crespelle laden with creamy mascarpone and roasted grapes.
 

Barcocina

Barcocina

Lakeview
What you’re getting: Chilaquiles

Settle in for a little hair of the dog and Mexican-inspired brunch eats at this trendy neighborhood spot. Drinks run the gamut from sweet to smoky to spicy, while brunch offerings like chilaquiles with pork belly, salsa verde, and a fried egg, chorizo Benedict, and brioche French toast with fried plantains, rum caramel, and candied walnuts stand alongside a selection of the eatery’s tacos, guacamole, and more.

The Hampton Social

The Hampton Social

River North
What you’re getting: A lobster BLT and a side of Old Bay fries

Head to this bright and airy new spot on Hubbard St for East Coast-inspired eats, drinks, and digs. The menu is heavy on lobster, with offerings like Montauk Mac, deviled eggs with lobster, a lobster BLT with a fried egg and avocado on multigrain, and more, and even includes bourbon caramel pecan monkey bread and milk chocolate-stuffed Belgian waffles for those who plan to spend the remainder of the day in stretchy pants. Thirsty? Try the Ketel One-based Coastal Blood with Ballast Point Bloody mix and a coastal skewer.

Rockit Ranch Productions

The Duck Inn

Bridgeport
What you’re getting: Cured wild salmon and sweet corn funnel cake

Score playful takes on American brunch food at the Duck Inn, where dishes like sweet corn funnel cake topped with blueberries and mascarpone and cured wild salmon with herbed goat cheese, seasonal crudité, and a crumbled duck egg stand alongside the popular Chicago-style duck-fat dog and a handful of other bar snack staples. Quench your thirst with the All Out of Bubblegum, a fruit-heavy cocktail made with Aylesbury Duck, Giffard Banane du Bresil, watermelon, pineapple, and lemon.

Villains Chicago

Villains Chicago

South Loop
What you’re getting: Cola-brined brisket hash

South Loop, your prayers have been answered: Villains has launched a craft beer-focused Sunday brunch. Wholesome dishes like pork head scrapple with fried farm eggs, a maple vinaigrette, and fries, cola-brined brisket hash, and drop biscuits with pork sausage gravy practically demand to be washed down with cold, brunch-appropriate suds, such as Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast stout or “Bloody Mary Beer” fermented with Roma tomatoes and spiced with dill, horseradish, peppercorns, and celery.

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Kailley is a Chicago-based freelance food writer and photographer. Follow her culinary adventures on Instagram: @KailleysKitchen.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Son of a Butcher 2934 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

After closing for renovations in Spring 2016 and re-opening under new management from popular brunch locale WHISK, Son of Butcher touts a new, industrial-chic look and a revamped food menu. Meat still reigns supreme here, with highlights ranging from braised brisket barbeque sliders and full racks of St. Louis ribs, but there's a new smattering of salads, sandwiches, vegetarian light bites, and a solid brunch menu (pro tip: get the decadent and Instagram-worthy S'mOreos pancakes). Bar offerings focus on craft beers, but the specialty cocktails boast quirky names and eclectic liquors ("Brexit Strategy," anyone?), with the added bonus of curated wines by the glass and regional ciders.

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2. Ampersand Wine Bar 4845 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60640 (Ravenswood)

Without pretentiousness, Ampersand Wine Bar is bursting with outstanding wines and globally inspired comestibles. The atmosphere is casual and the food (which includes burrata with duck prosciutto and arugula, Calabrian pork cheek with pearl onion agrodolce and heirloom tomato, and roasted asparagus with salsa verde) will keep you satiated well into the next bottle.

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3. Pub Royale 2049 W Division, Chicago, IL 60622 (Wicker Park)

This Anglo-Indian pub in Wicker Park serves Indian-inspired comfort food like salt cod samosas, palak paneer, and coconut curry mussels in an eclectic space decorated with taxidermy and colorful masks. The beer-driven menu features a well-curated mix of American IPAs, German Pilsners, and ciders -- both bottled and on tap. Though spicy, savory plates are the obvious choice at Pub Royale, don't overlook the chai dulce de leche doughnuts -- or the burger.

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4. Formento's 925 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

Executive Chef Stephen Wambach heads up this bright and expansive Italian restaurant. His menu keeps things classic, offering quality dishes like a four-cheese tortellini and a prosciutto-wrapped veal filet. The white tablecloths add to the traditional feel of the space, and collect crumbs from Formento's must-try chocolate layer cake. No, really, try it -- it comes with chocolate pudding frosting and hazelnut praline.

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5. Cindy's 12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (Loop)

Cindy's is a killer seafood/brunch spot atop the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel with amazing views of Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, and sailboats throughout the harbor. They even have fire pits on the terrace to keep things going when it cools down. P

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6. Balena 1633 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

The menu at this acclaimed collaborative effort between Boka Restaurant Group and B. Hospitality Co. showcases executive chef/partner Chris Pandel's modern-yet-homey interpretation of Italian cuisine, and spans from hearth-fired pizzas and burrata di panna to far-from-ordinary house-made pastas, including tagliolini nero tossed with crab, sea urchin, and mint, and walnut pesto-coated Sardinian gnocchi. The concept also offers an exceptional brunch program packed with sweet and savory dishes.

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7. Barcocina 2901 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 (Lakeview)

The Chicago outpost of this Baltimore-based Mexican-inspired concept arrives with an airy, wood-accented space flooded with natural light and rigged with ample patio space. The menu includes plenty of favorites from the original spot, like cheeseburger tacos and lobster guacamole, as well as some brand new and thematically on-point dishes spanning from pork belly rebocado and lamb French dip tacos to an array of spicy, smoky, and sweet cocktails prime for all-day-sipping in the sunshine.

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8. The Hampton Social 353 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

This seafood spot is a laid back scene with a great brunch and killer happy hour with $89 dollar magnums and half-price glasses of rosé and pizza from 4-7pm on weekdays.

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9. Villains Chicago 730 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60605

This pub offers seasonal American fare and a selection of cocktails and 40 micro-beers in a cool, industrial venue.

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10. Duck Inn 2701 S Eleanor, Chicago, IL 60608 (Bridgeport Sox)

The name of this spot might conjure up images of a cute bed and breakfast, but in reality, The Duck Inn is a stylish restaurant decked in bare brick and orange accents that specializes in -- you guessed it -- duck. They aren't playing around here: The seasoned rotisserie duck, four-course chef's tasting menu, and creative dishes like potted foie gras and scallop and clam stew earned it a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2016.

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