PHOTO: Chicken and waffles from hot Chicago brunch spot Batter and Berries. (photo courtesy of Batter and Berries)
Considering the mega servings of pizza, Italian beef and steak that are part of the city’s culinary heritage, Chicago was never much of a brunch town. All those heavy meals literally stick with you so you don’t really feel hungry the following morning, afternoon and sometimes evening. But the foodie evolution has inspired an explosion of late morning brunch spots that entice even if you’re still full from last night’s deep dish. Here are the popular brunch eateries that get locals to roll out of bed on the weekends:
Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles
The name says it all. Who wouldn’t jump out of bed for the sweet and savory delight of warm waffles joined by crunchy fried chicken? Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles has lured locals for Sunday brunch for years and judging from the lines, the demand won’t be slowing down anytime soon. The original Bronzeville location (there are two other locations in Oak Park and Evanston) attracts the after-church crowd who scarf down soul food breakfasts of greens, mac 'n' cheese, biscuits and chicken. The menu offers an array of omelets and chicken and waffle variations so arrive early if you don’t want to wait for seating.
Batter & Berries
This tiny Lincoln Park phenomenon commands hour-long waits but delivers with the most creative (and tasty) breakfast dishes that Chicago has ever seen. Batter & Berries features a rotating menu of sensations like Snickers French toast, crab and lobster eggs benedict and alligator omelets. The French toast flight is a must, because it allows samples of flavors like pumpkin pie French toast and German chocolate French toast all at once.
READ MORE: The 5 Best Pizzas in Chicago
A Chicago classic that used to be Oprah’s favorite when her studio was located across the street, Wishbone supplies all sort of Southern-style breakfast goodness. Fan faves include the red eggs; two eggs layered on corn tortillas and topped with chili ancho sauce, cheddar, sour cream and cilantro salsa and the crab cake benedict, dotted with chunks of real crab meat.
Top chef Stephanie Izard can do no wrong in Chicago. She’s basically overtaken the West Loop with three excellent, buzzy restaurants and Little Goat caters to the brunch crowd. She calls her addictive breakfast dishes “cereal killer” because you’ll never consider eating cereal again after bites of crumpet with chorizo maple syrup or kimchee & bacon & eggs & pancakes Asian style. Don’t miss the bakery next door, which features fresh breads, bagels and oatmeal.