Eat, Get The List, Life

Top 15 Chicago Brunch Spots

Change up your brunch game with these 15 fantastic finds…

From Redeye:

What you want out of brunch can depend on the kind of day you’re starting. It can be a time to indulge in multiple rounds of mimosas and trips to an all-you-can-eat buffet, a chance to share a few plates with friends or just a quick and healthy meal on the go.  Whatever you’re looking for, these 15 new brunch spots will cater to your cravings.

 

Steadfast

120 W. Monroe St. 312-801-8899

Launched: Early January

Dishes: Get your day off to a decadent start with a s’mores doughssant—croissant dough fried and rolled in cinnamon sugar chocolate cream ($6)—followed by the Steadfast benedict made with brown butter hollandaise, housemade prosciutto, buttermilk biscuits and poached eggs ($13).

Drinks: Drink healthy with the Green City smoothie, local Greek yogurt blended with kale, apple, celery and fennel ($8) or treat yourself to a mimosa made with prosecco and cara cara orange juice ($12).

Brunch time: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations accepted.

Baptiste & Bottle

101 E. Erie St. 312-667-6793

Launched: Dec. 10

Dishes: The bourbon-focused River North spot spikes its maple syrup, which you can pour over the orange creme anglaise-soaked brioche French toast ($14). The bagel topped with smoked salmon, smoked cream cheese, scrambled eggs and pickled red onion ($19) is a specialty.

Drinks: Try the bourbon made exclusively for Baptiste & Bottle by Koval Distillery infused with maple bacon and mixed with bitters in the Breakfast Old Fashioned ($12). You can also wake up with Irish coffee topped with whipped cream and nutmeg ($10).

Brunch time: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations accepted.

Publican Anker

1576 N. Milwaukee Ave. 773-904-1121

Launched: Jan. 15

Dishes: If you wake up seriously hungry, head to Wicker Park where you can dig into a plate of biscuits topped with mushroom gravy and fried eggs ($14) or the pub burger topped with American cheese and special sauce ($11.50). Add avocado, egg or bacon to your burger for $2 or mushrooms for $3.

Drinks: Drink your greens with the Verde Maria made with tequila, tomatillo, cucumber and avocado and served with Little Kings cream ale ($10) or opt for the refreshing Pub mimosa, a blend of Belgian wheat beer and orange juice ($8).

Brunch time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. No reservations.

Kal’ish

1313 W. Wilson Ave. 773-293-7768

Launched: Jan. 15

Dishes: Vegans can still enjoy brunch classics at this Uptown spot, which uses egg substitutes for dishes like the Uptown Greek Omelette made with spinach, tomato, onion, feta, griddled potatoes and toast ($11.50) and Huevos Kal’cheros, which features crisp tortillas, beans, chili sauce, pico de gallo and avocado ($13.50).

Drinks: The fast-casual restaurant doesn’t serve any cocktails, but you can quench your thirst with a chilled glass of almond or rice milk ($3).

Brunch time: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. No reservations.

Tobacco Road Tap Room

2249 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-661-6416

Launched: Dec. 17

Dishes: You don’t have to wait for the weekend to enjoy brunch fare like the cinnamon roll pancakes, a stack of three cinnamon pancakes topped with vanilla icing ($11) or skirt steak served with two eggs, hash browns and your choice of toast or a housemade biscuit ($17).

Drinks: The Lincoln Park spot brings its focus on food from the Carolinas to the bloody mary, which is garnished with hush puppies and cubes of Andouille sausage and pepper jack cheese ($8).

Brunch time: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. Reservations accepted.

Park & Field

3509 W. Fullerton Ave. 765-426-6657

Launched: New Year’s Day

Dishes: A $30 brunch buffet features an omelet station and a seasonally changing array of dishes that has included maple-glazed pork belly, housemade pop tarts, brioche French toast and tofu scramble.

Drinks: The Logan Square spot’s brunch includes bloody marys and mimosas.

Brunch time: 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations accepted.

Bad Hunter

802 W. Randolph St. 312-265-1745

Launched: Early December

Dishes: The veggie-focused West Loop spot’s menu changes frequently, but current offerings include turmeric and mango croissants ($4) and granola griddle cakes served with housemade maple kefir and cranberry-ginger compote ($11).

Drinks: The menu of complex cocktails includes the Two Turtle Doves, a blend of two types of amaro, cranberry juice, rum and lemon served warm ($10). If you prefer to start your morning without booze but still want plenty of flavor, opt for the sparkling sencha or white chocolate and lavender matcha ($5).

Brunch time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations accepted.

Kitsune

4229 N. Lincoln Ave.

Launched: Jan. 29

Dishes: The tasting menu comes to brunch at the North Center spot, where $40 gets you a set of dishes including ramen, traditional Japanese salads, sashimi with rice, miso soup and sweets such as butter mochi and Japanese whiskey-glazed doughnuts.

Drinks: The restaurant is currently BYOB, though they plan to start serving cocktails soon.

Brunch time: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Reservations highly recommended: kitsunerestaurant.com

Bar Lupo

217 W. Huron St. 312-643-3400

Launched: New Year’s Day

Dishes: Start by sharing a snack such as ricotta toast with black truffle, honey and dill ($6.99) then dig into the River North pub’s signature breakfast sandwich, which is made with fried Mortadella, egg, cheese, giardiniera and pistachio pesto ($11.99).

Drinks: Try a twist on the traditional Italian Aperol Spritz with the App App Spritz, which adds in apricot, or the Hugo Spritz featuring elderflower liqueur, mint and prosecco ($8.99 each).

Brunch time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations accepted.

Willow Room

1800 N. Halsted St. 312-982-2151

Launched: November

Dishes: Catching a matinee at Steppenwolf or The Royal George Theatre? Swing into this Lincoln Park spot first for a plate of waffles topped with lavender butter, blackberry jam and creme Chantilly ($12) or the winter salad, which features truffle salt, salt-roasted potatoes, blood oranges, feta and hazelnuts ($16).

Drinks: The menu features nine versions of the mimosa including the Autumn Solstice, where bubbly is blended with cinnamon apple cider syrup ($10). You can also build your own by ordering a bottle of prosecco with cranberry, orange, grapefruit and apple juices ($40).

Brunch time: 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations accepted.

Kimski

960 W. 31st St. 773-890-0588

Launched: Early January

Dishes: The Bridgeport spot changes its brunch menu up weekly, offering specials based on a monthly theme. February is Mexican and dishes have included Nopalitos con Huevos Revueltos, cactus paddles, tomato, onion, and poblano and serrano chilis sautéed with scrambled eggs and served with rice, fresh flour tortillas and pinto beans simmered with garlic, onion and serrano chilis ($10).

Drinks: The drink selection sticks to the basics with $8 bloody marys and $5 mimosas.

Brunch time: Noon-4 p.m. Sunday. No reservations.

Antique Taco

1000 W. 35th St. 773-823-9410

Launched: Jan. 1

Dishes: You can enjoy brunch all day at the Bridgeport counter-service spot, with options including breakfast tacos made with chorizo, egg, potato and peppers ($8) and chilaquiles featuring tomatillo salsa, cheese curds, two sunnyside-up eggs, housemade hot sauce, jalapeno, onion and cilantro ($9).

Drinks: The $6 michelada is the most popular brunch drink, though if you just need caffeine, you can grab a cup of cold-brewed Bridgeport Coffee ($4).

Brunch time: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. No reservations.

Cafe Robey

2018 W. North Ave. 872-315-3084

Launched: Dec. 1

Dishes: Get your seafood fix at the Wicker Park spot with dishes including a smoked salmon benedict featuring sautéed spinach ($16) and a lobster roll on toasted brioche accompanied by spiced chips ($26).

Drinks: Wake up with a Metric Coffee espresso ($3) or cappuccino ($5) or relax with a cup of Gingerbread Dream or lemon chamomile tea from Rare Tea Cellars ($5).

Brunch time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. Reservations accepted.

Fifolet Cajun & Cocktails

1942 W. Division St. 773-384-6886

Launching: Feb. 11

Dishes: After a successful New Year’s Day brunch, the Wicker Park spot decided to open early every weekend to serve New Orleans-style fare including a shrimp creole scramble with parmesan, herbs and garlic toast ($11) and short stacks of Johnny cakes topped with honey butter, cayenne streusel and bourbon-spiked syrup ($7).

Drinks: A Cajun spin on the bloody mary is garnished with housemade celery salt, baby corn, poached pearl onion, an Andouille sausage stick, pickled celery root and lemon ($7).

Brunch time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Reservations accepted.

PR Italian Bistro

3908 N. Sheridan Road 773-404-8955

Launching: Feb. 18

Dishes: Brunch Italian style in Lakeview with savory scallion pancakes drizzled with maple syrup and served with fried eggs and center-cut bacon ($12) or a smoked fish board featuring Nova Scotia lox, smoked whitefish spread, cream cheese, capers, hard-boiled egg and cucumbers served with crostini ($14).

Drinks: Try a vodka martini made with either coffee liqueur or chilled espresso ($10) or visit the bloody mary bar where you can load up your drink with shrimp, bacon, cheese, meats, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, horseradish, salts and spices ($12).

Brunch time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. No reservations.

Also…

If you want to throw it back to some classics, check out our brunch picks from 2015! Some are offering new menu items and are just as good as the 2017 list!

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Eat, Get The List, Restaurants

14 Best Eats in Pilsen

If you weren’t aware that Pilsen is home to one of Chicago’s greatest food scenes, this list will make you well aware. The eclectic Pilsen neighborhood on Chicago’s Lower West Side is abundant in its diverse scene of people, art, history, and food. From Vietnamese dishes to Latin American richness, our friends at The Infatuation have rounded off 14 of the very best restaurants in Pilsen.

 

CHI

Where To Eat In Pilsen

Pilsen has something for everyone. Want a giant plate of carnitas with fresh, crisp pork rinds? You can get that. Prefer listening to live music while eating BBQ? Also possible. And if a Vietnamese tasting menu sounds ideal to you, that’s an option as well. Here are 14 of our favorite spots to check out in the area.

THE SPOTS

S.K.Y. (1239 W 18th St)

This is our favorite spot for a night out in the neighborhood. It’s hard to definitively classify the food at S.K.Y., but most of it is Asian-fusion-ish, and everything is excellent. You can expect things like lobster dumplings in a buttery lemongrass broth and foie gras bibimbap – and if you can’t decide what to order, try the six-course tasting menu for $49. The space has an industrial feel, with exposed ductwork and brick, and plays the kind of low-key indie rock music that will make you feel like you’re at a chill house party. You really should eat here, even if you’re not already in Pilsen.

HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen (1800 S Carpenter St)

HaiSous is from the former chef of Embeya, a popular West Loop restaurant that closed in 2016. Like Embeya, this spot serves Vietnamese food in a nicely-designed modern space with really friendly service. There are traditional dishes like a papaya salad, crispy chicken wings, and mussels in a fantastic coconut broth. If you’re looking for punch-you-in-the-face flavor, you won’t find it here – everything is pretty mild. But the food is consistently good. This is where we take our family visiting from downstate when we’re in the neighborhood.

5 Rabanitos (1758 W 18th St)

Many great Mexican spots in Chicago have some kind of connection to the city’s culinary overlord, Rick Bayless, and 5 Rabanitos is no exception. It’s owned and operated by someone who used to work for him, and it’s putting out lots of delicious, affordable food. We like the tacos, anything from the huge vegetarian menu, and especially the very, very spicy torta ahogada. Come on a weeknight for a casual (but probably loud) meal, or on the weekend with a group of friends – just remember to BYOB.

Don Pedro Carnitas (1113 W 18th St)

The giant display of pork rinds by the door is a good indicator of how you should be ordering at Don Pedro. You’re here for things like carnitas, pork rinds (clearly), and brain tacos – get the mixed plate so you can sample a bunch of stuff. There’s always a line, and there are only a few tables inside, so plan on stopping by for a quick lunch or dinner.

Dia De Los Tamales (939 W 18th St)

Dia De Los Tamales is a counter-service spot serving fusion tamales filled with things like buffalo chicken, Italian beef, and coconut curry. They also have a traditional pork tamale, but our favorite of all the options available is the one stuffed with goat cheese and roasted red pepper. If you’re having trouble choosing, go for that.

Jim’s Original Hot Dog (1250 S Union Ave)

It might technically be in Little Italy these days, but we’re including Jim’s Original in this guide anyway. Jim’s is credited with serving the first grilled Polish with onions and mustard, back in the 1930s. At that point it was located in the old Maxwell Street Market, which used to be in Pilsen, and that’s where Jim’s Original’s heart remains. You may have to take a quick drive out of the neighborhood to get here now, but it’s worth it. This is a Pilsen classic, and a very good hot dog.

Honky Tonky BBQ (1800 S Racine Ave)

An upbeat spot with a stage and live music throughout the week – plus some solid BBQ. Try to get here early, before the rib tips run out, and make sure you also order the brisket chili that comes with mac and cheese in it. Just don’t count on actually doing any dancing. If you eat the appropriate amount of BBQ, you’ll probably want to go home and take a nap instead.

Birrieria Reyes de Ocotlan (1322 W 18th St)

Birrieria Zaragoza, in Archer Heights, is our favorite place for goat tacos in Chicago. But this spot is a close second. The beef tacos are a solid order, too, but you’re mostly here for the goat (in tacos and stew form). Even if you don’t generally eat a lot of goat, we suggest giving it a try. It’s cash only, FYI.

Cafe Jumping Bean (1439 W 18th St)

Cafe Jumping Bean is a neighborhood institution that’s been around since 1994. It’s colorful, with lots of local artwork, and a popular spot for coffee, pastries, and sandwiches. Come here to study, or before work for a quick grab-and-go breakfast.

Kristoffer’s Café & Bakery (1733 S Halsted St)

Tres leches cake is all the rage at this place, and it absolutely lives up to the hype. This is mainly a bakery, but you can sit down with some coffee and a sweet snack from the small, but good, menu. It’s perfect if you like cake and need to get some work done – just don’t think you’ll be the only one with that idea, since there’s WiFi and plenty of available outlets.

Dusek’s (1227 W 18th St)

Dusek’s is in the revamped Thalia Hall, and its upscale pub food is fantastic. Order the mussels, the roast chicken, or the “Ordinary” – which is a daily special paired with a craft beer. Then, make a night of it with drinks at Punch House, the bar downstairs. Or go next door to Tack Room, where there’s live piano music on the weekends. (All three places are owned by the same people.)

Pl-zeň (1519 W 18th St)

Even though it’s only been around since 2012, PI-zen is big on being a part of the neighborhood. It’s even named after the city in the Czech Republic that Pilsen’s name came from. There’s a mix of everything on the menu, from bone marrow to tacos to some fantastic burgers. It’s a great spot for a weeknight meal or casual date.

Skylark (2149 S Halsted St)

This is an old-school neighborhood dive bar with great burgers, cheap beer, crispy tater tots, and live music on Monday nights. You can’t go wrong with a quick drink and a casual dinner here.

Carnitas Uruapan (1725 W 18th St)

You might have noticed that Pilsen has a lot of great carnitas spots. Carnitas Uruapan is another one of them. It’s been around since 1975, with no signs of slowing down. Eating a whole plate of carnitas is likely to slow you down, though. In a good way.

When shopping in Pilsen, stop in at Su Familia Real Estate. They are a great resource for buying and selling homes, also they really know their neighborhoods, like Pilsen. They can give you their favorite places to eat. Ask them. Watch them in action in this action video.

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Drink, Eat, Events, Get The List, Life, Neighborhood Guide, Shop

The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Uptown Chicago

Many Chicago neighborhoods come close, but not many surpass the rich and culturally colorful history of Uptown. From things to do, bites to eat, and places you ought to see, here is a simple guide to some highlights of Uptown.

Beauty House Beauty Supply • 1041 W Wilson Ave

Look no further: anything you’ve been looking for, here is where you’re going to find it. This Uptown cosmetic shop is perhaps the finest beauty house in the city. Hair enthusiast and product junkies alike will find that this long-time staple is like a candy shop. Bags are checked in at the front door, and if you’re using a plastic card, your purchase must total $10 and onward. But, beyond that, there are endless aisles full of all your hair, hair care, skin, nails, and jewelry needs.

The Godfather’s Famous Pizza • 1265 W Wilson Ave

Another best in the city, “Godfather’s Pizza” is too mouth-watering for words. They’ve got stuffed pizzas, and puffed pizzas, pan pizzas, and thin crust pizzas, right on Wilson Avenue. There’s an eclectic menu full of other classic Italian bites, delivering to nearly 30 of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods for only $2.50.

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge • 4802 N Broadway St

Nothing sounds sweeter than a cocktail lounge with connections to Chicago mob history. It’s been around since 1907, and can be seen in movies such as Thief (1981), Soul Food (1997),  and High Fidelity (2000) to name a few. While you won’t catch Al Capone sitting in his favorite booth, or Jack McGurn’s men literally being cutthroat, you will find the sweet jazz and blues and poetry performances incredible. Get in early, because this place has a tendency to fill up.

Montrose Beach

The beach of Uptown, and a superbly popular beach for beach-goers,  there’s plenty of fun in the sun to be had. Wind up playing volleyball, or sitting under an umbrella, enjoy the complimentary WiFi. There are concession stands, kayak rentals, water-sport rentals like jet-skis, and plans had been made for a simulated wave pool. There’s even a fenced-off dog beach for a man and his best friend to play.

Black Ensemble Theater Company •  4450 N Clark Street

This theater company is at the epicenter of productions involving Black-American culture. You’ll enjoy musicals celebrating infamous black musicians and performers like Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson, and Billie Holiday. One of the greatest aspects of this company is the role it plays in contributing to Chicago’s emerging Theater Town image. The company once performed at 4520 North Beacon Street, but have been performing in this new state of the art 50,000-square-foot Cultural Center since November 18, 2011.

West Argyle Street Historic District

Once a suburb called “Argyle Park,” and now Chicago’s first and only shared street, Asia on Argyle is just that. There’s a hodgepodge of Vietnamese, Chinese, Camboadian, Laotian, and Thai restaurants, bakeries and shops. Window shop and find duck roasting before your eyes. You’ll probably want to stop by Lao Sze Chuan and try the dry chili chicken while you’re there.

Wilson Red Line Uptown Station

While the Popeye’s is more of a throwback, and renovation of the Wilson Red line stop is already underway, the stone infrastructure of the Uptown Station will still remain in its architectural greatness. If you’ve traveled in and around Uptown during the past several decades, this station will always hold some sort of significance to you and bring you that good ole’ nostalgia.

 

Racial Reconciliation Mural • N Sheridan Rd & W Sunnyside Ave

The Unique Thrift Store on Sheridan is now something of the past, but for now, the mural along the wall of the building still stands. The mural has a rich history, which you can check out here, and is filled with symbolism and messages of faith. Completed in the mid-1990s, this art is worth taking a look at before anything could possibly happen to it.

Aragon Ballroom • 1106 W Lawrence Ave

The most awe-fulfilling factor that makes Uptown one of the greatest communities to ever grace Chicago is it’s very rich history. Not so long ago, people would flock to the ballroom from all over the city and surrounding suburbs, to partake in dance, concerts, and a melee of other uses. It was built in a Moorish architectural style, where the interior resembled a Spanish village, earning the Spanish name of “Aragon.” Today, the venue has continued to be used as the hot spot for concerts, live-recordings, and other events.

Riviera Theatre • 4746 N Racine Ave

This concert venue that fits about 2,500 people was built in 1917 at the intersection of Lawrence, Broadway and Racine. At one point, in the late 1980’s, it was a private nightclub. Since 2006, it’s been owned by Jam Productions. This June, catch Future Islands and Portugal. The ManBlack Daniels and Electric Guest in concert.

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