Elevensies in the Windy City
July 13, 2011 6:06 AM   Subscribe

Most delicious brunches in Chicago?

I will be visiting my sister in Chicago, & we are both brunch fiends! She's obviously found a number of awesome places in the time that she's lived there but we're always looking to try something new. Complication #1 is that I don't eat meat (but do eat dairy/eggs). Complication #2 is that I have a young toddler (18 mos); she's well-behaved (for a toddler) but is a toddler nonetheless. She'll eat whatever, so I'm not worried about that -- it's more the atmosphere.

Buffet or sit-down brunches are both ok. My sister enjoys meat, but would be down for a purely veg brunch. Toddler Oh Really is accustomed to being in restaurants but hasn't fine-tuned her volume control yet!
posted by oh really to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I went to Mercat a la Planxa a few months back. Probably the best brunch I've had anywhere worlwide.
posted by JJ86 at 6:31 AM on July 13, 2011

No idea what your neighborhood parameters are, but Bakin n Eggs meets your other criteria.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:38 AM on July 13, 2011

M. Henry and their second location, M. Henrietta are my favorite places for brunch in Chicago. They have lots of high-quality, delicious vegetarian options and I always see families with kids there. Also, they have breakfast bread pudding that I dream about.

On weekends, M. Henry gets really busy. M. Henrietta is newer and in a slightly less trendy location, so you may have better luck there if you want to do, say a 10am brunch on a Saturday.
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:43 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bongo Room is one of our perennial favorites. Apologies for frustrating flash site.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:52 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Not very well known, but delicious: Ravenswood Grill. Looks like a traditional diner, but Mexican flavor with lots of vegetarian options. Bonus: when you're done, you can walk up to Winnemac park, which has an excellent toddler playground. Other ones in that area include Over Easy and Cafe Selmarie, but I'd pick Ravenswood Grill since it's quite tasty and there's rarely a wait.
posted by true at 6:53 AM on July 13, 2011

I love Bongo Room, but it's a terrible place to take a toddler on the weekend. There's always a very long wait; it's a crowded urban space with nowhere to put a stroller, and you have to huddle on a busy sidewalk near traffic while you wait for your table. If you're going during the week, Bongo is a good suggestion.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:10 AM on July 13, 2011

My wife and I went to Chicago last year during July 4th weekend - we tried to go to Bongo Room for brunch (one of our friends sang its praises) but it was closed. We asked some guy on the street and he told us that he thought Yolk was better - we ended up really liking it but we can't really compare it to any other local place. FYI: a list on Yelp about Chicago brunch places.
posted by exhilaration at 7:12 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

M. Henry is quite good - but no reservations, so you have to wait FOREVER. Only worth it, IMO, if you're big on pancakes/french toast with berries.

Down the street from M Henry is Big Jones, another fantastic brunch place (and they DO take reservations).

The Publican also puts out a nice brunch on Sundays. Their thick-cut bacon is not to be missed. Reservations suggested.

A lot less fancy, but our go-to place for brunch on the weekends is Wishbone. No reservations, but the wait isn't too bad.
posted by Windigo at 7:20 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have not yet tried brunch there, but a combination of many splendid dinners (and beers) and a glance at the menu leads me to believe the brunch at Owen & Engine is a thing of awesomeness.
posted by eriko at 7:25 AM on July 13, 2011

M. Henry is quite good - but no reservations, so you have to wait FOREVER. Only worth it, IMO, if you're big on pancakes/french toast with berries.

As someone alluded to above, M. Henrietta has an almost identical menu and even though I've only ever been at prime brunch time I've only had to wait once, for maybe 5 minutes. It is indeed quite good. It's a little far out depending on where you are staying, but it's maybe 30 feet from the Red Line stop, so it's easy to get to.
posted by enn at 7:28 AM on July 13, 2011

Best answer: OH!

I just noticed the toddler aspect. Derp. Then the Northside/Lincoln Wishbone for sure. That place is a HUGE favorite with families with kids/toddlers. Seriously, it's pre-school central - So pretty good food, with the added benefit of so many other toddlers babbling that the kiddo can join in to her heart's content.
posted by Windigo at 7:28 AM on July 13, 2011

I was in Chicago a few weeks ago and had an amazing brunch buffet experience at the Palmer House. I saw several families with young children eating there.
posted by pinky at 7:36 AM on July 13, 2011

I'll 3rd Wishbone for the deliciousness and child-friendliness.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:44 AM on July 13, 2011

The best vegetarian brunch place in Chicago is Victory's Banner. It's run by Sri Charmony devotees, but they aren't pushy about it (other than a lot of pictures of the guy). They are trying to create heaven on earth, which you can't really argue with when someone's making you breakfast.
posted by mike_bling at 7:47 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sri Chinmoy, actually.
posted by mike_bling at 7:48 AM on July 13, 2011

Bistrot Margot in the Old Town/Lincoln Park area has the most amazing quiche I've ever had - it's so melt-in-your-mouth custardy. Their other brunch options are tasty too.
posted by dnash at 7:55 AM on July 13, 2011

Lula Cafe near the Blue Line Logan Square stop is awesome.
posted by jz at 8:03 AM on July 13, 2011

Yolk is a lot of fun and they have some fabulous variations on French toast. It does get busy, though, and waits can be long if you don't get there early.
posted by honeybee413 at 8:05 AM on July 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the info about wait times -- very good to have. & early arrival is not a problem given that our wake-up is currently hovering around 6am! Not sure if there are any neighborhood restrictions -- my sister just moved (was previously in the northernmost part of the city, not sure where she is now) but I'll drive pretty far for a good brunch.

I think we went to Wishbone when we were up last summer (when the toddler was but a shrieky infant), & yes, loved it!

Now I wish we were going to be visiting for more than a weekend ...
posted by oh really at 8:58 AM on July 13, 2011

nthing Yolk
posted by foursentences at 9:09 AM on July 13, 2011

Has anyone recommended the Chicago Diner yet? I've had some lovely breakfasts there (one with a toddler, who is now in elementary school) and I know they are famously vegetarian/vegan. FYI, I've always had satisfactory service there, but I know from family who lives in Chicago that there can be the occasional rude server.
posted by pinky at 9:31 AM on July 13, 2011

It may be a bit of a gamble with a toddler, but the Peninsula's Lobby might work. It is an incredible brunch (though very pricey) and the extremely large room with a three-story ceiling might help dissipate any volume issues. Plus they have a good size separate section of kid's brunch foods.
posted by rtimmel at 10:11 AM on July 13, 2011

If you're willing to haul yourself out to the suburbs, Walker Brothers is the awesomest. (You can get to Wilmette on the Red/Purple line.)
posted by Daily Alice at 10:52 AM on July 13, 2011

I'm a fan of Tweet (their Yelp review says it's good for kids).

Though, my favorite brunch experience in recent memory was just having a brunch picnic at Hollywood Beach. There are many less crowded beaches along the lake shore [aside from Oak Street and North Ave. beaches], and they are good for kids, and you have control over the food you eat... and cheap!
posted by baniak at 11:56 AM on July 13, 2011

There are a number of delicious, toddler-friendly brunch options in the Wicker Park area. Probably the best is Milk and Honey, which has a baked egg, cheese, beans and tortilla casserole available only on weekends that routinely sells out. Also good is Toast (on Damen). An added benefit to that area is that you can walk around and check out the boutiques, then hang out on a blanket in Wicker Park.
posted by erikvan at 11:57 AM on July 13, 2011

I always like 3rd Coast Cafe. It's in the Gold Coast (on Dearborn, just north of Division) so it might be a bit of a haul if she's north, but I really do love that place (and it's really close to a red line stop, if you're public transit oriented). They have great coffee, a full bar, and a good selection of yummy brunchy items. (My fave is the chilaquiles, which is not really chilaquiles in any traditional sense but is awesome nonetheless.) The space is small and waits can be crazy around peak times (think 11:30 to 2ish), but if you're there earlier (really, I'd say any time before 10), you shouldn't have to wait, and I've often seen folks in there with little ones/strollers/etc.
posted by devinemissk at 4:57 PM on July 13, 2011

Eleven City Diner has fantastic french toast made with challah bread.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:31 PM on July 13, 2011

m. henry blows. Big Jones or GTFO. And they take reservations.
posted by eamondaly at 8:28 AM on July 15, 2011

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