As your resident Bitches Who Brunch, part of our job is brunching, and the other part is, well, bitching about the experience. This was a big year for brunch in Chicago -- when isn't it a big brunch year here? -- so before we start dreaming about pancakes and mimosas to come in 2016, let's recap the best menus we ate through in 2015.
The Best New Chicago Brunches of 2015
As the winter rolls in, The Hampton Social is where we go to remember what summer feels like. Not only is the nautical vibe perfectly Hamptons, but the seafood-inspired dishes, like the quinoa bowl, are perfectly presented.
The menu at Pub Royale, one of the best new restaurants in the city, is perfect for those days when you’re craving lunch but it’s still morning. We love the eclectic spicey flavors at the modern British-Indian pub, showcased in the stuffed paratha. Plus, with killer cocktails, it’ll give you enough fuel to power through the afternoon.
We brunched here this fall and fell in love -- the dark and cozy ambiance, the luxurious furniture, and most importantly, the 48-hour brioche French toast with peaches and vanilla foie gras. It’s the perfect swanky brunch spot and steps away from great shopping.
This fancy-pants restaurant just launched its brunch menu and quickly has become a brunch destination. Located right on the cusp of Lincoln Park and Old Town and known for their Neapolitan pizzas, Balena offers an eclectic and well-rounded brunch menu with the porchetta sandwich as a must-order item.
A cute patio, huge space, and a menu that will leave every carnivore drooling. Brunch at Chop Shop is nothing short of hearty meats (lobster polenta cake benedict!), flavorful cheeses, and original cocktails that’ll have you coming back for more.
Bar Siena might be an italian restaurant but it has proved to excel at creating any kind of fare the kitchen puts its mind to. Our pick for one of West Loop’s newest staple restaurants that’ll have everyone in your group satisfied and not wanting to leave.
Housed within the historic Chicago Athletic Association and below the famous Cindy’s Rooftop, a Shake Shack and giant game room, the Cherry Circle Room added a brunch menu this year and delighted all of our hearts. The menu draws from historic recipes to inform dishes like the roasted crab cake, smoked nova salmon, and corned beef & duck hash.
When it comes to the ultimate group brunch spot, Headquarters Beercade in River North is where you want to go. With arcade games (free, by the way) and a gourmet brunch menu (yes, seriously gourmet), foodies and gamers will both be satisfied. We love it for a date spot, too.
This West Loop gem whips up an amazing brunch with a kick. And let’s be honest, tacos and margs are appropriate at every meal, right?! A great casual date spot with its fun bar and cocktails, or a great place to host a party brunch filled with pork shoulder wrapped in beer tortillas.
Replay in Andersonville is the ultimate spot to enjoy Sunday brunch and football in one place -- basically the foundations of the city. So, while you’re cheering on Da Bears, order yourself one (or two) of the amazing cocktails, appropriately called “liquid power-ups,” along some lobster eggs Benedict.
Lakeview (& other locations)
Kanela Breakfast Club has several locations in Chicago and has become a brunch go-to spot since opening the Lakeview location in 2010. The restaurant revamped its menu this year adding new items like chicken and waffles with a Sriracha honey sauce, a Nutella s'mores waffle, to complement the amazing staples like the bacon-infused waffles and spicy feta omelette. Worth going back to, unless you have been, which, shame on you.
Sign up here for our daily Chicago email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.
There you have it, the Bitches have spoken! As we gear up for 2016, check out Bitches Who Brunch for all your brunching needs and consider a resolution that includes more French toast, time with friends, and endless mimosas!
1. The Hampton Social353 W Hubbard St, Chicago
2. Pub Royale2049 W Division, Chicago
3. Presidio1749 N Damen Ave, Chicago
4. Balena1633 N Halsted St, Chicago
5. Chop Shop2033 W North Avenue, Chicago
6. Bar Siena832 W Randolph St, Chicago
7. Cherry Circle Room12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago
8. Headquarters Beercade213 W. Institute Place, Chicago
9. Bar Takito201 N Morgan St, Chicago
10. Replay Beer & Bourbon5358 N Clark St, Chicago
11. Kanela Breakfast Club3231 N Clark St, Chicago
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.
This beer-driven bar from the good people at Heisler Hospitality (Bar DeVille, Nightwood, Sportsmans Club) has plenty of Indian-inspired eats, like lamb dumplings, salt cod samosas, a chicken tikka kati roll, and buttered paneer, a dash of taxidermied decorations, and a curated beer list.
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.
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.
Wicker Park's hybrid butcher shop/eatery/salumeria serves up stand-out, meat-oriented American fare such as the deli's Porchetta sandwich, a housemade pork loin wrapped in pork belly with asiago, arugula, apricot marmalade, and tomato on your choice of 7" or 12" French, white, or wheat bread. CS is a spacious joint -- a whopping 6,000 square foot event space -- so it's also great for hosting parties or business meetings.
This casual but incredibly hip bar and restaurant takes Italian cues from sister restaurant Siena Tavern for its menu, complete with mortadella pizza topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella, meats, and veggies along with American twists like duck mac & cheese and the BomboBurger. While there's a decent selection of draft, bottled, and canned beer, Siena's Italian roots means this bar is always fully stocked with, you guessed it, wine -- there are a handful of sparkling, tens of whites, and dozens (upon dozens) of reds.
Only accessible though the Chicago Athletic Association's game room, this sophisticated restaurant boasts a full-restored wooden bar, leather seating, and reimagined classic cocktails. It serves up some of Chicago's best brunch dishes, like the roasted crab cake, smoked nova salmon, or corned beef & duck hash, but lunch and dinner menus, also inspired by historical recipes, are equally worth your attention.
The River North location of Headquarters Beercade features pinball and classic arcade games, as well as an extensive craft beer menu and specialty cocktails.
Takito Kitchen’s Latin-inspired spin-off flaunts a lengthy concrete bar and graffiti decor by local street artists. The house-made tortillas infused with Negro freaking Modelo are a must-try.
Who knew pinball went so well with bourbon? The folks at Replay have taken the tried and true drinks 'n games combo to the next level.
After opening its first location in Lakeview in 2010, this breakfast-and-lunch spot expanded with a few locations across Chicago. The sort of Greek, mostly American menu splits its breakfast selections into sweet and savory categories -- next-level waffles and French toast make up the former, Benedicts and cheesy scrambles make up the latter. Lunch is all about sandwiches and salads, proving that it's hard to go wrong with a menu that includes a burger, Greek salad, and a reuben. Since most of Kanela's ingredients are organic and locally sourced, no matter how cheesy, meaty, or sugary you go, you'll still feel kind of healthy.