Whether you are on your way to a big meeting, or just craving a bit of morning “me time”, starting your day off right with a tasty breakfast is always a great plan. Chicagoans take their first meal of the day seriously; and the dining scene stands ready to please with offerings that will fit any mood. From “down home” to downright inventive, here are a few faves that will leave you deliciously satisfied and ready to take on the day.
1339 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL
When you walk through the doors of Sweet Maple, you are greeting warmly, and transported back in time to a quaint homey space that makes you feel instantly welcome. Home cooking is the focus here, with goodies like moist, one-of-a-kind, flavorful pancakes as big as plates and warm, hearty biscuits that inspire a quick peek in the kitchen (just to make sure your grandmother is not back there baking). If you are lucky enough to come on a Friday, the crispy on the outside, tender on the inside fried catfish bites are a must try. Be sure to bring your appetite, because Sweet Maple is going to make sure you leave satiated and happy.
130 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL
The menu at Wildberry is as sizable as this downtown eatery’s space. There is something here for everyone. Local ingredients make offerings such as the Rutherford omelet (spinach, caramelized Onions, goat cheese and bacon) and the buttery, but not overly sweet, cinnamon roll pancakes a mouthwatering win.
The Original Pancake House is a third generation family business; and although it has locations throughout Chicago, each of them maintain high standards, which makes the food outstanding no matter what location, or menu item, you chose. On the “must try” list is the huge, air-filled, baked Dutch Baby pancake served with whipped butter, lemon and powdered sugar (and be sure to pair it with their smoky, thick-sliced bacon).
1523 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago, IL
This lovely, bright space, with a bakery on premise, serves up offerings made from scratch such as the delicate, yet cake-like, lemon pancakes with fresh blueberries, lemon curd, zest and crème anglaise; as well as the zesty Shrimp Egg White Frittata featuring jumbo shrimp, tomato, spinach. Definitely try the “sweet on the bottom, strong on the top” Thai coffee with your meal.
5) M. Henry
5707 N. Clark, Chicago, IL
M. Henry features comfort food with a twist…to keep your tastebuds on their toes. Their globally inspired, New American Style menu is prepared from natural and seasonal ingredients and locally produced and organic products whenever possible. Try the fluffy Blackberry Bliss Hotcakes layered with warm blackberries, vanilla mascarpone cream, topped with a brown sugar and oat crust; they are pure deliciousness! If you come for weekend brunch, try the Bacon Wrapped Baked Eggs, which is a ring of Applewood bacon filled with creamy polenta, topped with two eggs, sharp Wisconsin cheddar and fresh thyme served atop a mixed greens salad (which balances the meal perfectly).
Chef Stephanie Izard gets creative with her West Loop diner concept serving a eclectic menu of comfort food classics. A visit here is an experience, and sharing plates makes it extra fun. Start your meal off with The Little Goat, a creamy goat milk-based latte, then move to the 3 Sister’s Farm Oatmeal topped with honey yogurt, seasonal fruit and oat crumble (offered only until 11am) or the Shrimp and Cheesy Grits with rock shrimp, braised pistachio, and grits. Don’t miss the Smoked Corned Beef Hash with Eggs — these are real pieces of perfectly seasoned meat with chunks of potatoes. And if you are on vacation, or perhaps feel like you need one, have one of their specialty breakfast cocktails as their bar team is tops.
Photos: Sweet Maple, Wildberry, Original House, Kingsbury, M. Henry Little Goat (J.Vasilatos)