Best Brunch In Chicago: The Definitive Guide

Published by: Bounce12 July, 2022

Like New York, brunch in Chicago is a weekly institution for both foodies and go-hards alike. It’s a social ritual for groups to start an afternoon of bar-hopping or shopping. Brunch can also be a way for foodies to check out the best new restaurants or classic diners in a city. Chicago’s food scene is second-to-none, especially regarding weekend brunch, and not just on iconic thoroughfares like Michigan Ave and River North. Clark St Chicago and California Ave Chicago are also popular brunch spots.

Every neighborhood (especially famous ones like Wicker Park) has at least a few can’t-miss brunch spots. With Bounce storage facilities located conveniently around the city’s coolest neighborhoods like Wicker Park, West Town, and the West Loop, it’s easy to track down some bottomless mimosas, eggs benedict, or fried chicken and waffles before you head out for an afternoon of exploring one of the world’s greatest cities. 

The Chicago Diner  

Logan Square and Lincoln Square - Brunch Served Every Day (Closed Wednesdays) 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Chicago Diner has been a mainstay for the city’s vegan and vegetarian food scenes. Since 1983, this friendly diner has been serving some of the city’s best meat-free bites, especially for breakfast and brunch. One of the most impressive attributes of these eateries is the atmosphere. The “no-frills” vibe is a welcome respite from the highfalutin and, at times, pretentious diner experience at most vegan restaurants. 

Like a proper diner, the weekend brunch menu is massive, with a standout veggie burger and vegan versions of breakfast classics, like a tofu scramble or eggs benedict. The seitan steak & eggs will win over even the most ardent carnivores, and their vegan blueberry pancakes are a sweet tooth's dream. With locations in trendy Logan Square (Milwaukee Ave) and stroller-centric Lincoln Square, Chicago Diner is well-placed to eat brunch before exploring two of Chicago's most charming neighborhoods

Summer House Santa Monica 

Lincoln Park - Brunch Served Saturday and Sunday 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Between the sunny ambiance and ultra-trendy weekend brunch menu, this upscale restaurant and wine bar is the quintessential brunch spot. The Prosecco-soaked clientele skews chic, especially for their popular weekend brunch. On Saturdays and Sundays, it’s almost impossible to get a table because this is the most popular brunch destination on the north side. Reservations are basically a requirement unless you can snag a couple of stools at the bar, which is hardly a bad thing considering the people-watching and “see and be seen” atmosphere. The dining room is gorgeous, with hanging plants and an open ceiling that feels like a patio. 

The brunch classics pull from the West Coast and Mexico for ingredients and inspiration. Obviously, there’s a perfectly serviceable avocado toast on the brunch menu, but the breakfast tostadas, breakfast tacos, and Mexican hash browns with fried eggs are very popular. The huevos rancheros might be the brunch menu’s headliner, with an upscale take on this Southwestern classic, which is wildly popular throughout Chicago’s underrated Mexican food scene. The brunch cocktails are as enticing as the food, with a variety of specialty concoctions that take inspiration from cold brew, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and herbal flavors. They serve updated versions of mimosas and bloody marys as well.

This breezy dining room also has a specialty grocery store on the side, so after your unforgettable Chicago brunch, you can browse the aisles to bring your favorite ingredients home with you! After Sunday brunch, head to the nearby Lincoln Park Zoo or some of the best shopping in Chicago in River North or Clark St.

Bongo Room

Wicker Park - Brunch Served Saturday and Sunday All Day 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Located on Milwaukee Ave, the Bongo Room is one of the most popular brunch spots in Chicago. Whether it's the sweet potato waffle stuffed with whipped cream or the perfectly poached eggs benedict with crab, everything on this brunch menu is as indulgent as the dining is stylish. While it's located in Wicker Park, the decor resembles the downtown or River North vibe, and the stylish clientele certainly reflects this. It is nearly impossible to find a table, so expect a wait or make a reservation well in advance.

Twisted Spoke

West Town - Brunch Served Saturday and Sunday All Day 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Known primarily for the skeleton and motorcycle decor of the building, Twisted Poke was on the ground floor of River West and the West Loop’s emergence as Chicago’s premier restaurant district. But they haven’t rested on their laurels; this neighborhood restaurant has been serving brunch favorites for ages. They bring the heat with an ultra spicy bloody mary (or Marias) and huge breakfast hashes. If you’re in town for a Bulls or Blackhawks game, drop your bags off and stop by one of the best brunch spots in Chicago before heading to the United Center. 

Little Goat Diner

West Loop - Brunch Served All Day 7:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Celebrity chef Stephanie Izard, Chicago’s preeminent culinary dynamo, is most famous for her Girl and the Goat restaurant, but she makes food for every occasion. When the occasion is Chicago brunch with your besties, head to the buzzy West Loop neighborhood for some transcendent breakfast food from this mid-century modern diner. The eclectic brunch menu has global inspirations, with a pork belly hash inspired by Japanese street food, their grilled ham chop or pork sandwich, or a Nashville-style hot fried chicken with brioche french toast. Don’t sleep on the milkshakes too! 

Lula Cafe 

Logan Square - Brunch Served Thursday to Monday 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

After Wicker Park and West Town, one of the hottest neighborhoods in America is the leafy Logan Square on Chicago’s northwest side, with the bustling corridor of Milwaukee Ave. While there seems to be a hyped-up restaurant opening just about every weekend, Lula Cafe, which opened in 1999, still stands out. Lightyears ahead of most of the culinary scene when it opened, Lula Cafe has always focused on vegetarian and vegan options without specializing in them. Their breakfast burrito, whether meat-free or with bacon, is the most ordered item on the menu. While the brioche version stuffed with custard is a menu highlight, their vegan French toast has more than a few fans. 

The brunch cocktails are delicious, and the coffee program is as expected for such a trendy area. There will almost certainly be some sort of wait for a table as the neighborhood becomes more of a food destination and Lula’s reputation continues to be stellar, so plan ahead! Luckily, the people-watching in Logan Square is second to none. 

Beatrix (Multiple Locations) 

Oak Brook, Streeterville - Brunch Served Saturday and Sunday 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

River North, Fulton Market / West Loop - Brunch Served Friday to Sunday 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Beatrix is the most prominent spot for Chicago brunch, which is why there are prime locations (think Michigan Ave or Wabash Ave) scattered around the city, with one outpost in Suburban Oak Brook. Expect upscale classics and a generous chunk of the brunch menu dedicated to healthy options like poached eggs and avocado and a full smoothie menu. Even with the healthy brunch options, there are still plenty of fried chicken and waffles, eggs benedict, French toast, delicious breakfast burritos, and egg sandwiches. And there is, of course, a bottomless brunch deal on the menu. Their delicious brunch is served all day at every location, so if you want something familiar in a chic location, Beatrix has you covered! 

Batter & Berries 

Lincoln Park (Near DePaul University) - Brunch Served Every Day 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

If you have a sweet tooth and a passion for French toast, this is your place. If you have a son or daughter attending DePaul University, this is also your place. Located in the stylish Lincoln Park neighborhood, DePaul’s campus has one of the best Chicago brunch spots. Batter & Berries is a cute (maybe geeky) diner serving up breakfast classics. They specialize in French toast and waffles, with hundreds of different flavors and topping combinations to keep things interesting. Think bread pudding French toast, chocolate tower French toast, brioche French toast, and even fruity pebble French toast. They even have a French toast flight for sampling multiple creations.

Roux 

Hye Park - Brunch Served Every Day 7:00 AM - 2:30 PM

Hyde Park is a delightful and fascinating neighborhood for many reasons. Just to name a few: the Obama family lives here, the University of Chicago’s famously “Hogwarts-esque” campus anchors the area, and the restaurant scene is criminally underrated. One of the neighborhood's standout Chicago brunch spots is Roux, a charming cafe and diner from the creators of the beloved Lillie’s Q barbecue restaurant. Their all-day breakfast menu is popular for families visiting U Chicago’s campus, along with a growing fanbase of local foodies. 

Expect New Orleans-inspired brunch dishes, including the city’s best (and it's not even close) beignets. “The Classic” comes with incredible grits and smoked bacon, and the avocado toast has a Fresno chile kick. The indulgent biscuits and gravy and brisket hash with a to-die-for hollandaise round out a menu of southern brunch classics. They also serve amazing fried chicken from time to time. Their biscuits and other pastries are lighter brunch options that pair well with locally-roasted coffee if you’re on the go. 

M Henry

Andersonville (Clark St) - Brunch Served Tuesday to Sunday 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM

While situated on the far north side, Andersonville is one of Chicago’s most beloved neighborhoods, and for a good reason. For one, it’s a charming LBGTQ-friendly cultural hub on Clark St. Andersonville and is also jam-packed with outstanding restaurants. The Hopleaf is one of Chicago’s best restaurants, and brunch spots like Bongo Room and M Henry are first on that list. This cafe is only open for breakfast, and the weekend brunch is one of the most popular in the area. Expect southern-inspired classics on their rotating all-day brunch menu with egg dishes and even a sweet potato waffle, with a few vegan and vegetarian-friendly options. The fried egg sandwich comes with streaky bacon or tofu, and the buttery hotcakes are stacked high with seasonal fruit and maple syrup. Just don’t sleep on their specials and one-off brunch creations. 

The Duck Inn 

Bridgeport - Brunch Served 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Bridgeport is widely considered to be the up-and-coming neighborhood in Chicago, with a few upscale restaurants and brunch spots anchoring the eclectic food scene on the south side. One of the best is The Duck Inn, which specializes in rotisserie duck, with a host of inventive brunch dishes showcasing their delicious duck confit and foie gras. Brunch is no different, with a rotisserie duck hash, their Egg McDuckInn (see what they did there?) breakfast sandwich, deviled eggs, and a strawberry and cream French toast. If you don’t make it for their weekend brunch, you can always indulge in their Chicago-famous duck hot dogs and cheese curds or fries cooked in duck fat.

Pilsen Yards 

Pilsen - Brunch Served Saturday and Sunday 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

One of the many Mexican restaurants that serve incredible brunch, Pilsen Yards has popped up in the past few years to become one of the most popular food destinations on the south side. Anyone grabbing a bite here at night will undoubtedly find most tables occupied by groups of concert-goers excitedly sipping on pre-show margaritas before they head down the street to Thalia Hall. Their boozy brunch has become a focal point of Pilsen Yards, with Mexican takes on breakfast classics like avocado toast and a strong menu of cocktails like their standout Michelada and bloody mary with mezcal. Their chilaquiles and huevos rancheros are excellent, but the most inventive dish jas to be the Concha French toast, with seasonal fruit and a variety of Mexican-inspired toppings. 

On weekends, the patio is bumping with DJ sets and an energetic crowd, so reserving a table is highly recommended! 


The Exchange 

The Loop (Downtown) - Brunch Served on Weekends 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Aptly named after its location in Chicago’s historic Railway Exchange Building, this stylish restaurant serves downtown’s best brunch. The dining room consists of the building's 8,000 square foot, marble-clad atrium with ample seating for the weekend brunch crowd. The menu is upscale (and worth every penny) with a $50 brunch that can be supplemented with $20 bottomless mimosas. Sourdough French toast, bread pudding pancakes, and the cheesy (very, very cheesy) egg scramble are popular options, and the mushroom-ragu grits satisfy diners. 

The historic atmosphere is complimented perfectly by the live jazz music that accompanies the brunch service. Jazz Brunch is held every weekend from 10 am to 2 pm and is wildly popular, so reservations are recommended. The Exchange is the perfect spot to grab a delicious brunch before hitting up the world-famous exploring Chicago's South Loop neighborhood, visiting the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the best museums in town, or heading to or exploring the lakeside museum campus.

Dusek’s Tavern  

Pilsen - Brunch Served on Sundays 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM

Housed in a historic building that was once the epicenter for Chicago’s Czech community, Dusek’s Tavern serves a mean Sunday brunch of European-inspired breakfast staples, so expect quality ingredients with a twist. Corned beef hash, chimichurri steak and eggs, the brunch burger, and fresh oysters are popular, but the real star on this menu has to be the biscuits and gravy, which feature Calabrian chile sausage. The French toast with whipped ricotta nicely rounds out the brunch menu with a dessert-like delicacy. 

If you are in the vibrant Pilsen neighborhood, head back to the same building for Dusek’s dinner menu, or take in a show upstairs at Thalia Hall, which is one of Chicago’s most iconic venues. There is also a cocktail bar downstairs called Punch House. This building does it all, and it is a can't-miss cultural destination! 

Conclusion

Being a social city with a ton of incredible neighborhoods, brunch is an important part of any Chicago weekend. It’s the perfect way to start an afternoon out with your friends or to discover your new favorite restaurant. So drop your bags with Bounce, grab some gourmet beignets or biscuits and gravy at one of the many Chicago brunch spots, and start exploring everything this city has to offer!

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