Easter is just around the corner — March 27, to be precise — and while many people associate the holiday with pastel-colored candies and sweet toothed bunnies, there's more to Easter dining than Peeps. Here are several spots in Chicago open on the holiday and serving up unique Easter eats.
Shaw's Crab House (21 E. Hubbard St.)
There's nothing like a grandiose buffet for Easter Sunday. Shaw's Crab House rises to the occasion with its "grand hot buffet," which costs $75 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and younger. The buffet is indeed grand, featuring a wide assortment of classic breakfast dishes, plus Shaw's specialties that helped make it Chicago's preeminent and enduring seafood destination. Expect an omelet and waffle station, a surf and turf station, a cold seafood bar, and a sweets table brimming with crème brulee, raspberry tartlets, key lime pie, and mini cupcakes. The buffet runs from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on March 27.
AMK Kitchen Bar (1954 W. Armitage Ave.)
It's all about the hearty comfort food at AMK Kitchen Bar, open for Easter brunch from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Hop on in for dishes like stuffed French toast, corned beef hash, turducken meatballs, grilled cheese, fried pickles, and mac & cheese. To drink, AMK has four types of Bloody Marys and a variety of a.m. cocktails.
Frontier (1072 N. Milwaukee Ave.)
If ham is your thing, then make sure and make a reservation at Frontier. The ham-tastic Easter buffet this year, served from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on March 27, contains house-cured hams, ham frittatas, smoked ham and grits, ham hock biscuits, and a myriad of ham-friendly sides like breakfast potatoes, eggs, and green salad. Tickets for the buffet, which goes for $20 per person, are available online.
Bohemian House (11 W. Illinois St.)
At Bohemian House, the Easter traditions adapts a delicious Eastern European accent for Sunday brunch. The restaurant has cooked up a three-course affair for the holiday, starting with lox and toast or a Brussels sprouts salad as appetizers. Second course options include a soft egg scramble with smoked whitefish, roasted broccoli, hen of the woods mushrooms, trout roe creme fraiche, and toast; or a beer-braised bratwurst with slow-roasted pork shoulder, sauerkraut, dill potatoes, house pickles, horseradish, and mustard. To cap things off, dessert choices are paczki filled with Bavarian cream and fig marmalade, and Polish kolacky made with dried strawberry almond ice cream and streusel. Easter brunch is served from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and costs $28 per person.
Osteria Via Stato (620 N. State St.)
Celebrate Easter the Italian way at Osteria Via Stato, where Chef David DiGregorio is conducting an orchestra of springtime brunch flavors for the holiday. From 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., guests can start things off at the omelet station before making their way around the dining room to peruse other dishes like ciabatta French toast, sausage and vegetable strata, and made-to-order ricotta doughnuts. There will also be an Easter candy table for the kids. The cost is $39.95 per person, half-price for children 10 and younger, and free for children five and under.
Lockwood Restaurant and Bar (Palmer House Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St.)
When it comes to fine holiday dining, you can't really do better than the majestic setting that is the Loop's historic Palmer House Hilton. The signature restaurant, Lockwood, is once again bringing back its esteemed Easter buffet, this time hosting it at the hotel's legendary Empire Room. Available from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., the buffet costs $64 for adults, $59 for seniors, $30 for kids four to 12, and free for those younger than four. It's quite the buffet, too, loaded with everything from smoked fish and jumbo cocktail shrimp to charcuterie, salad, carved meats, organic eggs, Easter cupcakes, waffles, and lots more.
Riva Restaurant (Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave.)
Located as far east on Navy Pier as you can go before falling into the water, RIVA boasts some of the best city views in Chicago. That is, if you're not too distracted by the presence of the Easter Bunny, who will be on-site for photos with children and families during brunch from 10:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Courtesy of chef Luigi Garcia, the buffet contains fresh fruit, a carving station, omelet station, raw bar, and a dessert display to put any Easter basket to shame. Another option? Easter dinner from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Bistronomic (840 N. Wabash Ave.)
Another timeworn holiday standout is Bistronomic, a modern French mainstay that goes the extra mile by being open for each and every holiday, serving up specialized and festive menus for the occasion. This Easter, the French-accented menu by executive chef/owner Martial Noguier offers options for each of the three courses, with dishes like pancakes with rhubarb marmalade; caramelized spring onion and pea quiche; deviled eggs with smoked salmon; savory crepes with confit chicken; asparagus omelets; brioche French toast made with creme brûlée batter; and cherry-brioche bread pudding with pistachio and butterscotch. The cost for brunch, served from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., is $40 for adults and $19 for children 10 and younger.
Photos: Frontier, Shaw's Crab House, Bohemian House, Osteria Via Stato, Palmer House Hilton, Riva, Bistronomic