Chicago Brunch Guide: Best Breakfast Restaurants in the Windy City

 

I am a morning person and it is rare when I don’t wake up hungry. My body just always seems ready to eat first thing in the morning, which means that brunch is one of my favorite meals! One of the first things I do after getting up is eat breakfast because I suffer from a crippling case of hangry syndrome (definition: bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger). 

I’ve learned how to cook some pretty delicious breakfast dishes since I eat it almost every day, but that doesn’t stop me from indulging in brunch at one of the many amazing brunch restaurants in Chicago. One of my biggest pet peeves (read: hangry trigger) is waiting for a table in the morning, which is why I prefer to go to brunch restaurants that offer reservations. 

Thankfully, Chicago has a ton of wonderful brunch choices that don’t require you to wait because they accept reservations ahead of time. On those days when I’ve had a banana or morning snack, I am more patient and can handle waiting at one of the many Chicago brunch restaurants that don’t offer reservations without having a child-like tantrum. I have compiled my favorite brunch restaurants in Chicago into one convenient guide divided by restaurants that accept and don’t accept reservations. 

These are my 10 favorite Chicago brunch restaurants that accept reservations!

Roister — Sat & Sun from 10:00am – 2:00pm

Part of Grant Achatz’s culinary empire in Chicago, Roister is an open concept restaurant with a massive kitchen right in the center with a wood fired oven that makes the whole restaurant smell like a campfire. Sit at the bar for a table side view of the cooking action! Dishing up casual American food with a twist, the menu can read unusual to the unsuspecting but is all sorts of delicious. Their fried chicken sandwich is the best I’ve ever had, thanks to the perfectly light and umami flavored cornflake batter. Make sure to order the foie gras candy bar dessert — it is life-changing.

Publican — Sat & Sun from 10:00 am -2:00pm

A West Loop staple, Publican has been on many of Chicago’s best brunch lists. Their menu offers approachable yet elevated classics, as well as more unusual dishes that you might not normally think of for brunch (raw oysters, soft shell crab sandwich and weisswurst to name a few). Their Saturday and Sunday menus vary slightly, but both are awesome! With good cocktails and a cult following, Publican is always a safe bet for any weekend crowd.

HaiSous — Sat & Sun 10:00am-3:00pm

While Vietnamese cuisine might not be what you most associate with brunch cuisine, HaiSous in Pilsen might change your mind. This stylishly designed restaurant showcases homey Vietnamese flavors mixed with commonplace American breakfast ingredients to create this amazing fusion that works together beautiful. Featuring a variety of modern and traditional techniques, such as clay pot cooking, the creative brunch menu features specialties like Vietnamese omelets, prawn rice crepes, and  fried chicken wings. If all of these sound delicious, try their brunch tasting menu for about $25!

Cherry Circle Room — Daily from 7:00am – 2:30pm

Located inside the iconic Chicago Athletic Association, Cherry Circle Room is my favorite place to take out-of-towners for brunch because the location makes for a great jumping off point to explore all of the Loop’s tourist sites (or you can just booze the day away between the 4 other bars and eateries inside the hotel). The windowless restaurant offers a mid-century chic meets swanky boys club vibe, and their booths are straight up swoon-worthy. The small menu offers the best brunch in the neighborhood, and I would highly recommend the scotch egg, maple cured bacon and savory pancakes. Their baked treats are wonderful too!

Looking for more awesome food in Chicago? My dessert guide will get you craving something sweet!

Jam — Daily (except Wednesday) from 7am – 3pm

Jam is a classy little brunch spot on the north end of the Logan Square neighborhood. The minimalist, modern decor is the first thing you’ll notice, but the food is what you’ll remember. I love the burrito suizo which is served in a delicate buckwheat crepe with a bright and citrusy tomato crema. If you’re more of a sweet breakfast person, the french toast is awesome. The malted custard stuffed inside is creamy heaven , and the pink peppercorns & lime offer a unique and light flavor profile to the rich but not heavy dish.

Dusek’s — Sat & Sun from 9:00am – 3:00pm

In the mood for a Michelin quality brunch? Then Dusek’s is your spot! This one star eatery has been a destination restaurant in the Pilsen neighborhood since 2014, serving up an eclectic menu of iconic brunch dishes — french toast, benedict, chilaquiles — with unique twists. Their beermosas are a hit with the young crowd and the brunch punch will put you on your ass after a few glasses.

Daisies — Sat & Sun from 10:00am – 2:00pm

Have you ever dreamed of pasta for breakfast? Then Daisies is the place for you because their signature dish is cheesy pasta carbonara with poached egg. And it is EVERYTHING.  I think Daisies is one of the most underrated restaurants in all of Chicago, so it is no surprise that it hasn’t been showing up on the top brunch lists — yet! Specializing in seasonal, rustic Italian cuisine, Daisies makes their incredible pasta fresh each day, and you’ll find yourself slurping down the bowl in a few short minutes, ready to order another round. 

Allis — Daily from 7:00am – 11:00am

Probably the swankiest of the restaurants on this menu, you will definitely need a reservation to have brunch at the Allis, the Soho House Hotel’s in-house restaurant. You’ve most likely seen the Instagrammable chandelier in the dining room on social media, as well as the beautifully served eggs Benedict. The food is less impressive than the ambiance and people watching, but for a coffee and a pastry, it’s worth the ‘gram.

Pub Royale — Sat & Sun from 11am – 3:00pm

Does Indian food for breakfast sounds like a weird concept to you? It did to me too until I tried the brunch at Pub Royale and then I was convinced. Come with an open mind and an empty stomach, because most of the menu will likely be unfamiliar as brunch fare. We were big fans of the stuffed paratha (sort of like an Indian crepe) and the chai spiced french toast, as well as the gobi manchurian and tikka kati roll. The portions are sizable and generous, so this would be a great spot to bring a larger group making it easy to try lots of their delicious options! Obviously order a chai on the side regardless of what food selection you make.

Gather — Sat & Sun from 10:00 am -2:00pm

A great place for unadventurous eaters, Gather serves a traditional brunch menu made with top quality ingredients and prepared with a little extra love. Everything I’ve ever had here has been great! The service is stellar and the cozy ambiance really makes it feel like you’re eating inside someone’s home. The breakfast skillet is delicious as is the eggs Benedict, and I was a big fan of the johnny cakes.

Now, these are my 6 favorite Chicago brunch restaurants that don’t accept reservations.

Dove’s Luncheonette — Daily from 9:00am

Perfectly styled as a vintage diner, Dove’s Luncheonette has been a brunch staple on the Chicago food scene basically since it has opened. Tucked under the Blue Line CTA tracks in Wicker Park, I order the same thing every time — the fried chicken and gravy. Serious comfort food, the fried chicken is impeccable with a perfectly crunchy and flavorful dredge and topped with their house made sausage gravy, peas and sautéed capellini onions.

Cellar Door Provisions — Wed-Sun 7:00am-3:00pm

Located in an unassuming nameless building on Diversey, Cellar Door Provisions is a hidden gem in the Logan Square neighborhood. The bright but tiny cafe gets crowded quickly because it is only open for brunch/lunch Wednesday-Sunday. Despite the wait, it is absolutely worth coming. In my opinion, their pastries are the best in the neighborhood! The croissants are seriously amazing, and paired with fresh drip coffee, this is a great spot to read a newspaper or have a slow start to your morning. The menu is tiny (like 5 items) and rotates daily.

Longman & Eagle — Daily from 9:00am

When I have visitors in town, there’s a good chance I will take them to Longman & Eagle for an upscale, Michelin-star brunch close to my house. If you can’t afford a Michelin star meal for dinner, brunch is a more budget-friendly alternative while still getting great quality. I love the duck egg hash with a bright black truffle aioli. It had all the finesse and well balanced flavors you would expect in a homey and approachable dish that was executed perfectly!

Honey Butter Fried Chicken — Daily from 11:00am

If you’re getting the sense that I like eating fried chicken for breakfast, you wouldn’t be wrong. This is the third place on this list that I’ve mentioned specializing in fried chicken! Honey Butter was one of the first Chicago brunch spots I discovered, and I have been a loyal customer ever since. Their affordable menu and cheerful patio creates a warm ambiance that fits perfectly with their delightful assortment of southern comfort dishes. If you get the bloody Mary, it comes with a chicken wing!

Lula Cafe — Daily (except Tuesday) from 9:00am

One of the most popular and well-known brunches in Chicago, Lula Cafe nearly always has a wait for brunch, so come prepared with comfortable shoes (and an umbrella!). Personally, I think this place is too hyped up and I much prefer other nearby spots but Lula Cafe is famous and good, so it would be a shame not to mention it in this guide. They have a new menu every day along with their Cafe classics, so that you can try exactly what is in season now. A few of my favorite dishes are the seasonal French toast, the rotating pastry board, and their breakfast sandwiches.

Spinning J — Daily (except Monday) from 7:00am

Spinning J is a restaurant that doesn’t usually show up on top brunch lists—but it should. This is a hidden gem in Humboldt Park that absolutely kills it on amazing pastry and baked goods (pictured in the post’s banner image). Their menu is small with daily specials and seasonal options, but every time I have ordered the quiche or strata, I have LOVED it. Don’t miss this local brunch favorite! 

Which Chicago restaurant has your favorite breakfast or brunch? Comment below with your brunch suggestions!

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