Food & Drink

The Most Underrated Brunches in Chicago

Published On 04/12/2016 Published On 04/12/2016
Sable Kitchen

Sable Kitchen & Bar

River North
Home to one of the most well-stocked bars in town and a cocktail list so thorough that it requires a table of contents, this sleek spot is an obvious choice when out barhopping in River North, and one of the neighborhood’s best-kept brunch secrets. The menu boasts comfort food classics like chicken and waffles smothered in whipped maple butter and Tabasco maple syrup, bananas Foster French toast, huevos rancheros -- all of which are prime for soaking up the remaining drops of booze in your system from the night before.

Kailley Lindman/Thrillist

Analogue

Logan Square
Cajun fare is the name of the game at this hip bar and restaurant. Kickstart your appetite with powdered sugar-dusted beignets and flaky buttermilk biscuits and then get down to business with BBQ shrimp and grits, ham hock hash, and a side of house-made bacon.

Hash

Hash

Wicker Park
Accented with hippie-era relics and mosaic-topped tables, this playful eatery promises just the sort of calming environment necessary for housing excessive quantities of its namesake hash. Try a large order of the "pork bubble and squeak" with bacon fat hash if you know what's good for you.

Pannekoeken Cafe

Pannenkoeken Cafe

Lincoln Square
Pancakes are a given on most breakfast and brunch menus across Chicago, but pannenkoeken, thin, crispy-edged pancakes of Dutch origin, are far harder to come by. This tiny cafe has been the city’s go-to for the delicacy for nearly a decade, and serves both sweet and savory varieties, including apple ginger, bacon and cheese, and sautéed veggie-studded.

Uncle Mike's Place

Uncle Mike's Place

West Town
Score massively portioned American-Filipino breakfast and lunch eats all day long at this cozy spot on Grand Ave. Omelets, BLTs, and 1/2lb patty melts won’t disappoint, but it’s the Filipino breakfast platters that secure this place’s status as a veritable neighborhood gem. Don’t miss the tocino (anise wine-cured pork shoulder) with two eggs any style, garlic fried rice, and a bowl of fresh lugao.

Mike Gebert/Thrillist

Fork

Lincoln Square
Given social media’s love affair with epic, over-the-top food mashups, it’s surprising that the jaw unhinging “showstopper” at this real-deal farm-to-table destination hasn’t become an Instagram favorite yet; we’re here to change that. Get your phones ready, because the brunch-ready monster, which features a 1lb prime beef patty poised atop a Belgian waffle "bun" and smothered in cheddar and Swiss, is as delicious as it is photogenic.

Knife & Tine

Knife & Tine

Lincoln Park
From cinnamon roll pancakes laden with cream cheese frosting and candied pecans to cider-braised pork shoulder Benedict with giardiniera hollandaise, each menu item is seemingly more decadent than the next at this often overlooked resto near DePaul. Even the healthier options, like the kale and farro salad tossed with goat cheese, figs, and a candied sage vinaigrette, taste indulgent thanks to luxurious ingredients, and prove that you’ll brunch like royalty no matter what you order here.

The Gage

The Gage

Loop
The Loop is hardly the first neighborhood that comes to mind when considering weekend brunch options, but brunch at the Gage will have you rethinking your stance, provided fighting crowds or tourists in the area isn’t a deal-breaker for you. The bustling restaurant pours a potent Bloody infused with CH Peppercorn Vodka and finished with pickled peppadew, Irish cheddar, and house corned beef; menu highlights include chilaquiles, a caramel sticky bun, and the popular venison burger.

Uncommon Ground

Uncommon Ground

Edgewater, Lakeview
Why wait for the weekend to roll around when you can get your brunch on daily at this two-location sustainability-driven concept. Comforting fare like chorizo-loaded chilaquiles and breakfast sliders are made wholesome thanks to locally sourced and family farmed ingredients, and there are several vegetarian/vegan-friendly options for those that are into that sort of thing.

Mortar & Pestle

Mortar & Pestle

Lakeview
Satisfy your brunch needs and a case of wanderlust simultaneously at this globetrotting hideaway in Lakeview. Breakfast-y options range from foie gras and eggs with truffle carpaccio, crème fraîche, chives, and toast to Middle Eastern foule mudammas with labna, olives, zaatar, and pita, while lunch-leaning dishes include a shockingly great Cubano packed with slow roasted pork and Thai curry butternut soup with citrus marinated shrimp, fried garlic chip, and coriander leaf.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Sable Kitchen & Bar 505 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Home to one of the most well-stocked bars in town and a cocktail list so thorough that it requires a table of contents, this sleek spot is an obvious choice when out barhopping in River North. It's also one of the neighborhood’s best-kept brunch secrets. The menu boasts comfort food classics like chicken and waffles smothered in whipped maple butter and Tabasco maple syrup, bananas Foster French toast and mouth watering huevos rancheros.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Analogue 2523 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

Cajun is the name of the game at this Logan Square restaurant and cocktail lounge. You could to Analogue for just a drink, but you’d probably find the dinner menu, heavy on crawfish, po boys, and catfish, too tempting to pass up. The weekend brunch is one of the best, mainly because of the beignets, biscuits, and house-made bacon.

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3. Hash Chicago 1357 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Humboldt Park)

Any restaurant dedicated to eggs and hash is a comfort food destination in our books. Case in point: this breakfast and lunch counter-order spot in West Town. The menu features more than eight kinds of hash made with your choice of one or two eggs -- most have meat (corned beef, pork shoulder, sausage), others are stocked with vegetables (chick peas, kale). Hash also serves traditional eggs-any-style breakfasts, loaded meat sandwiches, and salads.

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4. Pannenkoeken Café 4757 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Pancakes are a breakfast and brunch menu staple across Chicago, but the thin, crispy-edged pancakes of Dutch origin at Pannenkoeken are far harder to come by. This tiny cafe has been the city’s go-to pancake spot for nearly a decade, serving both sweet and savory varieties, including apple ginger, bacon, cheese, and sautéed vegetables.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Uncle Mike's Place 1700 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Ukrainian Village)

Score massively portioned American-Filipino breakfast and lunch eats all day long at this cozy spot on Grand Ave. Omelets, BLTs, and 1/2lb patty melts won’t disappoint, but it’s the Filipino breakfast platters that secure this place’s status as a veritable neighborhood gem. Don’t miss the tocino (Philipino bacon) alongside your eggs, garlic fried rice, and a bowl of fresh lugao (Filipino chicken rice soup).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Fork 4600 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Lincoln Square)

Lincoln Square’s farm-to-table restaurant is a jaw-unhinging “showstopper” destination. Whether you're joining them for a brunch filled with fantastic chicken and waffles, "brunch-ready monster," which features a 1lb prime beef patty poised atop a Belgian waffle "bun" and smothered in cheddar and Swiss, or just popping by to enjoy something from their impressive wine and beer lists, you'll feel like a winner.

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7. Knife & Tine 1417 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 (Lincoln Park)

From cinnamon roll pancakes laden with cream cheese frosting and candied pecans to cider-braised pork shoulder Benedict with giardiniera hollandaise, each menu item is seemingly more decadent than the next. Even the healthier options, like the kale and farro salad, tossed with goat cheese, figs, and a candied sage vinaigrette, taste indulgent thanks to luxurious ingredients and prove that you’ll brunch like royalty no matter what you order here.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. The Gage 24 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (Loop)

The Loop might not be the first neighborhood that comes to mind when considering weekend brunch options, but brunch at the Gage will have you rethinking your stance. The bustling restaurant pours a potent Bloody infused with CH Peppercorn Vodka and finished with pickled peppadew, Irish cheddar, and house corned beef; menu highlights include chilaquiles, a caramel sticky bun, and the popular venison burger. If the weather is nice, enjoy your delicious meal outside overlooking the park.

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9. Uncommon Ground 1401 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60660 (Edgewater)

Known as one of the "greenest restaurants in America," Uncommon Ground rocks delicious dishes like strawberry-rhubarb pancakes, and blackened catfish with dill sauce. Comforting fare like chorizo-loaded chilaquiles and breakfast sliders are made wholesome thanks to locally sourced and family farmed ingredients, and there are several vegetarian/vegan-friendly options, too.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Mortar and Pestle 3108 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657

Satisfy your brunch needs and a case of wanderlust simultaneously at this globetrotting hideaway in Lakeview. Breakfast-y options range from foie gras and eggs with truffle carpaccio, crème fraîche, chives, and toast to Middle Eastern foule mudammas with labna, olives, zaatar, and pita, while lunch-leaning dishes include a shockingly great Cubano packed with slow roasted pork and Thai curry butternut soup with citrus marinated shrimp, fried garlic chip, and coriander leaf.

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