When it comes to our family dog, Gizmo, sometimes we wonder who rescued whom. Saved from an unhealthy living situation by a local dog rescue organization, he arrived at our doorstep five years ago. Timid and sad at first, he fast became a beloved member of our family. He's our No. 1 squirrel protector and our best walking buddy, and he's always there to offer a warm cuddle and unconditional love. So naturally our family has been delighted to discover two amazing Chicago brunch venues—and even a luxe hotel—that welcome humans and their animal friends with open arms! 

Patio at Café Brauer
2021 N. Stockton Drive

The Patio at Café Brauer celebrates the Dog Days of Summer every Saturday and Sunday with its fabulous, dog-friendly brunch. Bring your pooch to the Lincoln Park Zoo's al fresco restaurant and bar, which overlooks the zoo's beautiful Nature Boardwalk, for the most smile-worthy brunch in the city.

Humans can indulge in delicious brunch favorites including blueberry buttermilk pancakes, chilaquiles, made-to-order omelets, pressed panini, burgers and more, while their pooches are presented with a water bowl and some tasty treats of their own. Pups will want to splash around in the ball-filled kiddie pool or take a lovely leashed stroll around the boardwalk post-brunch. Our Gizmo had an absolute blast at this brunch and enjoyed getting to know his fellow canines.

You'll want to make a reservation in advance for this popular brunch: email patio@lpzoo.org or call 312-507-9053.

Filini Bar and Restaurant at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago
221 N. Columbus Drive

Our family was up for a fun staycation that included Gizmo, and the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago delivered: this luxe hotel, located just steps from Millennium Park, offers a VIPup Package as well as tasty ‘Canine Cuisine’ at its in-hotel Filini Bar and Restaurant.

I can't even express how delighted my two kids were to take Gizmo along on this special, staycation overnight. Though we live in Chicago, staying "downtown" is always a treat: with Gizmo in tow, we enjoyed walking along the nearby lakefront and exploring Millennium Park and kid-paradise Maggie Daley Park.

Upon check-in, Gizmo was thrilled to receive a plush dog bed of his very own, a couple new dog toys, a portable water bowl, a waste-bag dispenser and a selection of gourmet treats. My kids enjoyed the wonderful rooftop pool while Gizmo napped. You might also want to opt for a one-hour photo shoot with Fetch Portraits (subject to availability and additional $225 to be paid separately).

In the morning, we happily made our way down (Gizmo's first elevator ride!) to Filini for the unlimited brunch. We sat on the comfy patio, where we enjoyed eggs benedict, made-to-order omelets, an oatmeal bar, fresh pastries and oh so much more, while Gizmo enjoyed a kibble breakfast beside us.

Filini also offers an all-day ‘Canine Cuisine’ menu, available on the restaurant’s outdoor patio: for only $5 per dish, doggy dish selections include The Wagging Tail (grilled boneless chicken breast and chopped carrots); Bad to the Bone Burger (burger chopped with cheese and bacon; Lost Me Lucky Charms (two meatballs); and Frosty Paws Ice Cream. All bowls are served with brown rice and sweet potatoes.

Rates for Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel’s VIPup Package begin at $259 (tax and gratuity not included) with no additional pet-cleaning fee when booking. For more information or to make a reservation, visit online or call (312) 565-5258.

Photos courtesy of Amy Bizzarri.