There are very few things as romantic as the notion of a weekend brunch–you can sleep in until noon, still get eggs anywhere in the city, and according to Yelp, we are in love: Chicago is the best city for brunch. Rise and shine, collegiettes, the whisks are spinning the morning’s freshest ingredients and delight is on the menu. Whether your brunch comes with a dress code or after a morning read, the city’s restaurants are bursting with fresh-squeezed orange juice, the smell of newly glazed cinnamon rolls, and the sounds of clinking mimosa glasses. So grab your sunnies and a book or two best friends to catch up at our favorite brunch spots:
MENU | 1851 West Addison
This Roscoe Village restaurant is a delectable must for doughnut lovers and biscuit aficionados—according to a Yelper: “marry-into-the-family-just-to-steal-the-biscuit-recipe good.” Endgrain serves both the hearty, Southern offerings (read: fried chicken, smoked mashed potatoes and BBQ pulled pork) and the light and fluffy version of brunch (soft-boiled eggs, almond granola, bread pudding French toast). Complete with reclaimed wood, mason jar candles and chalkboard menus, Endgrain is all at once hipster and homey—totally Instagram-groomed.
But brunch done right at Endgrain requires an essential enoch’s doughnut, named after its chef Enoch Simpson, who is credited with Chicago’s doughnut craze when he first added them to a brunch menu at Nightwood. Meaning, these donuts are the real thing: sweet with crackly glaze, rich with fruity undertones and all around the stuff of dunkable dreams whether you get the butterscotch bacon, bourbon vanilla, nutella milk stout or blueberry lemongrass jelly. The catch: starting at 7 a.m., they sell (literally) like hot cakes so get them before they’re gone.
MENU | 2152 N Damen Ave
Think The Bristol, think a brunch foodie’s heaven. Winning a “Bib Gourmand” award from the prestigious Michelin guide, this rustic Bucktown restaurant—with drop-down lights for evening ambiance—opts as a cozy brunch venue with the weekend sunlight bouncing off brick walls indoors. Sucre items feature a pastry board sampler with cinnamon rolls, kuchen and doughnuts, grapefruit brûlée, and classic pancakes that hit the sweet spot. Plenty of savory main entrees appeal to the salty tastebuds, from light biscuits and egg sandwiches to heavier smoked Gouda burgers and everything in between.
Their famous hangover breakfast is rumored to be just the antidote: a hearty noodle, pork belly and shrimp mousse in broth after anyone’s crazy night.
MENU | 1120 S Michigan Ave
Yolk is a favorite brunch spot among locals and Northwestern students, serving large portions perfect for splitting with friends in this quirky, always-bustling restaurant (no matter which of the five locations you stop by). Yolk brandishes its “eggspertise” any way eggs come: scrambled, runny, easy over, boiled, or whatever combination you’re in the mood for. Sunny side up? Coming right up. Another perk? Eggs ordered beat or white come at no extra cost, so go old-fashioned or get some protein if so desired.
Plain eggs aside, Yolk offers a wide selection of anything you can think of when it comes to brunch: scramblers, benedicts, omelets, skillets, frittatas, crepes, pancakes and waffles with sides of diced potatoes, English muffins, fresh fruit, or (French) toast. Not to mention its bright interior in primary yellow, blue, and white with polished floors, a spacious setting for roaming thoughts.
Yolk won the Chicago Concierge Favorites Award in 2012, no surprise there.
Wildberry Pancakes & Café
MENU | 130 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601
Take advantage of the spring sunshine and snag an outdoor table for brunch at this hidden gem just across the street from The Bean. This spot in the Loop has Chicago’s best pancakes, with menu items like Oreo S’more, banana cream pie, caramel apple pecan and blueberry pancakes being served all over its bright and polished interior. Morning java is well stocked at Wildberry’s Intelligentsia coffee bar (can we say “Chicago” again?), and don’t miss their hash browns—brown and delicious to the crisp. All their ingredients are locally-sourced and freshly baked that morning.
As Alice in Wonderland famously said, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Imagine the possibilities of brunch, and feed your morning fantasies away, collegiettes!