It’s that time again, folks: our quarterly round-up of the best new/revamped brunches to hit Chicago’s ever-bourgeoning brunch scene. Whether you like your afternoons with an Argentinean lean, covered in Nutella, or paired with a hair-of-the-dog Champagne, here’s the scoop on the nine latest and greatest places for getting your brunch on this summer.
What you’re getting: Pork schnitzel sandwich
Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos adds his signature Czech flair to a variety of sweet and savory brunchtime favorites for BoHo’s new weekends-only brunch service. Soak up the remnants of a wild night out with the gargantuan, stick-to-your-ribs pork schnitzel sandwich on rye with horseradish cream, sauerkraut, Emmentaler cheese, and a runny fried egg, or go the sweet route with a bevy of house-made pastries like apricot kolacky and almond poppy seed cake coated in a citrus glaze and streusel.
What you’re getting: The Brunch Burger
Farm-to-fork fare is the name of the game for White Oak Tavern’s brunch, and if the Brunch Burger -- laden with kimchi aioli, house bacon, aged cheddar, butterkase, lettuce, and spicy pickles -- is any indication, said game is on point. Executive Chef John Asbaty’s menu highlights the restaurant’s commitment to Midwestern farms and purveyors, and includes dishes with local grains, nuts, and fruits (oats, purple barley, farro, Earl Grey crema-infused milk, seasonal fruit, and candied pecans), and options like an open-faced Cuban sandwich with crispy pork shoulder, ham hock, fried egg, cheese sauce, and spicy pickles on a mustard-drenched slice of house brioche.
What you’re getting: Lobster Benedict
Drop everything you’re doing and swing by this California-informed lounge and restaurant for one of the prettiest (read: Instagrammable) takes on eggs Benny in town: lobster Benedict with poached farm eggs and asparagus served atop brioche and drenched in poppy seed-flecked Maltaise sauce. Like your brunch best with a buzz? Presidio has traditional pisco punch (Peruvian pisco, pineapple gum, lemon, and distilled water served on the rocks) for that.
What you’re getting: The Bedazzled Enterprise and a Brunch Burger
This Logan Square burger joint adds a deep lineup of breakfast-appropriate cocktails to its weekend brunch service, including some usual suspects, like Bloodies, mimosas, and Bellinis, as well as some creative sips, like the Bedazzled Enterprise (Absolut, elderflower liqueur, cranberry, and Champagne) and the J’s Sweet Nothing (Solerno, Aperol, orange, and Champagne). Order an open-faced Brunch Burger with a fried egg, bacon, and veggies plucked fresh from the Logan Square Farmers Market for a real-deal breakfast of champions.
Old Town, Lakeview, & Wicker Park
What you’re getting: Nutella S’mores Waffle
This multi-location favorite recently unveiled a revamped brunch menu, and things are looking seriously delicious. Among the new menu items are knockout chicken & waffles with Sriracha honey sauce and fried eggs, and a Nutella S’mores (!) Waffle layered with the famous hazelnut spread, crushed graham crackers, caramelized marshmallows, and a drizzle of chocolate sauce poised to go down in Chicago brunch history.
What you’re getting: Steak and eggs
Stylish, yet approachable, this Wicker Park eatery from owner/Chef Michael Taus features a Sunday brunch program that promises to annihilate hunger (and, sorry, your North Ave Beach-ready physique) with creamed eggs with truffle mornay sauce and house brioche; Houska French Toast coated in Nutella and lemon mascarpone; roasted shallot-drizzled flat iron steak and eggs, and more. Oh, and did we mention the Allagash White Beermosas?
What you’re getting: Wild Boar Benedict
Think wine bars are one-trick-ponies? Think again. This Taylor St destination surprises with an impressive brunch menu packed with all kinds of sweet and savory delectables. Stone Ground Corn Flapjacks with spiced honey and pink lady apple & bacon compote are a welcome change from standard pancake stacks, and let’s be real -- the Wild Boar Benedict pretty much speaks for itself.
What you’re getting: House-made chorizo con queso and an Argentine omelet
Opt for either an a la carte or a two-course prix fiex “Buenos Aires Brunch” experience at this new Argentinian concept from celebrity Chef Jose Garces (of Mercat a la Planxa) and Chef Cory Morris. House-made sausages, such as chorizo con queso and morcilla, are non-negotiable, and the blackberry jam-filled crèmes with wood-roasted pecans, Rural Society Burger, and Argentine omelet stuffed with Serrano ham don’t disappoint.
What you’re getting: Avocado toast
Chicago’s go-to for whole, crispy roasted pig’s head offers an Italian-leaning brunch menu loaded with ordinary-turned-extraordinary offers. Case in point: Hardly #basic avocado toast topped with breakfast radish, micro scallion, calabrian pistou, and a splash of lemon juice for acidity. Feeling something sweet? Get your fix with apple polenta cake French toast stacked with caramel apples, cardamom whip, salted pecans, and saba.
Sign up here for our daily Chicago email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.
1. Bohemian House11 W Illinois St, Chicago
2. White Oak Tavern & Inn1200 W Webster Ave, Chicago
3. Presidio1749 N Damen Ave, Chicago
4. Parts and Labor2700 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago
5. Taus Authentic1846 W Division St, Chicago
6. Bascule Wine Bar1421 W Taylor, Chicago
7. Rural Society455 N. Park Dr, Chicago
8. Charlatan1329 W Chicago Ave, Chicago
This River North spot is an ode to Bohemian culture in all its manifestations, with rustic-meets-glam décor and eclectic fare that’s rooted in Central Europe. The menu, created and executed by Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos, features small plates like salt and vinegar chips and knackwurst in a blanket, large plates like spatzel and skirt steak, and unforgettable sweets like caramelized plum kolacky and an inventive take on coffee and donuts with hazelnut brittle.
White Oak Tavern's a rustic, farm-driven resto with second-floor lodging accommodations and one of Chicago's all-time great snacks: caramel popcorn with candied pecans, bourbon maple, and aged Gouda. Yup. Also worth ordering: a massive duck board laden with fried duck leg, duck liver mousse, cherry mustard, pickled cauliflower, and grilled bread, or (/and?) a tender beef shoulder paired with potato polenta.
This cocktail-focused lounge in the old Bluebird space keeps things California breezy with exposed brick walls, plush couches and chairs, and a West Coast-leaning beverage program. Pick your poison from a selection of CA wines, beers, and cocktails inspired by Bay Area classics such as the Tommy’s Margarita and Pisco Punch. The food menu (crafted by Chef Shaun Connolly) is similarly influenced, with California-grown ingredients like sunchokes, kumquats, and Meyer lemon adding interesting touches to dishes like scallops, wild salmon, and olive oil cake.
Parts and Labor is a hamburger-centric barestaurant in Logan Square known for its griddle burgers, sodas, and beer. The classic double burger, topped with two slices of American cheese, packs so many sandwich pickles between buns that you'll get a taste of the crisp texture in every bite. Vegetarians, don't be turned away by the beefy signature -- black bean and vegan patties are available, and the grilled cheese sandwich is a beautiful blend of three cheeses.
Chef Michael Taus' Wicker Park eatery is the kind of upscale neighborhood place that draws you in and begs you to stay a while. Everything about Taus, from the menu to the rustic dining room, is inviting. The dinner menu features cheese and charcuterie, shareable starters, and standout comfort plates like fried chicken and a burger with havarti cheese. Sunday brunch is equally heavy on comfort food, serving up steak & eggs and fresh-baked pastries.
This quaint Taylor Street find brandishes some 135 wines. Despite its location, you’ll find that the wine list spans far beyond just Italian varietals. Pick a bottle that suits your taste and pair it with a BLT3 (pancetta, prosciutto, and applewood smoked bacon) or line-caught yellowfin tuna, encrusted in coriander, splashed with a bouillabaisse vinaigrette, and finished with chickpeas.
Rural Society in Streeterville's Loews Hotel is not a classic, all-American steakhouse but an innovative Argentinian one from former 'Iron Chef' Jose Garces. The Chicago restaurant, which opened following the success of the DC original, is a bonafide meat emporium where South American-sourced cuts of beef (ribeye, bone-in short rib) are cooked on a wood-and-charcoal burning parilla grill. Aside from the stunning steaks, Rural Society serves tapas-like small plates and house-made sausages.
The guys behind Three Aces unleashed this spot in West Town. While Charlatan may lack the raucous vibe of its sister restaurant, it doesn't lack the fantastic cuisine: American farm-to-table and Italian influences produce standouts like Slagel Farm beef carpaccio, skate wing, house-made pastas, and pig’s head for two.