Where to eat near the Pride Parade route

If you're watching the Pride Parade or taking part in the weekend's festivities, you're going to need to eat some brunch—or at the very least lunch—at one of these nearby restaurants

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  • Photograph: courtesy DryHop Brewers

    DryHop Brewers' Captain's French toast is crusted with Cap'n Crunch and topped with liquid cheesecake.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Brunch near the Pride Parade at La Ciudad, a popular BYOB.

  • Photograph: Martha Williams

    Take a break from the Pride Parade with brunch at Waffles, which recently opened a Lakeview location.

  • Photograph: Max Herman

    Stop by the Reservoir, a neighborhood bar, for brunch during Pride.

  • Photograph: Jill Paider

    Hearty Boys serves a popular brunch near the Pride Parade route.

Photograph: courtesy DryHop Brewers

DryHop Brewers' Captain's French toast is crusted with Cap'n Crunch and topped with liquid cheesecake.

All that sun. All those floats. All that vodka. Pride weekend in Chicago is a celebration of excess, and if you want to survive this thing, you better eat. Here are our picks for some good spots to have brunch or lunch near the festivities; scroll down to the map at the bottom of the page to find a restaurant near your Parade-watching perch.


RECOMMENDED: Pride Parade and other LGBT events for Chicago Pride Month


The Bagel

  • Price band: 2/4

The Bagel never goes away…it just moves locations. In its current spot (the third since 1950) the deli manages to bring a little Jewish curmudgeonliness to Boystown. So when you’re at the counter ordering your potato knish or sitting in one of the booths dipping a fluffy roll into the magnificent, housemade chicken soup, expect to have a brusque comment or two thrown your way. After all, the Bagel hasn’t survived all these years by being nice.

  1. 3107 N Broadway, (between Barry Ave and Briar Pl)
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The Bar on Buena

  • Price band: 2/4

To the delight of bar-starved Uptown residents, this cozy spot offers 18 beers on tap, 15 wines by the glass, comfortable couches, a large-screen TV that folds away when the game is over and garage door–style front windows that separate social drinkers from cracked-out crazy-asses.

  1. 910 W Buena Ave, (between Broadway and Sheridan Rd)
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Bar Pastoral

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Like Pastoral’s retail stores, the emphasis at this bistro is on cheese (it plays a starring role in the menu, in small-ish plates like roasted cauliflower with Emmentaler-Mornay sauce), small-production wines (all glasses are $10, with half-pours available for $5) and charcuterie (duck-rillettes parfait, housemade ham). Unlike Pastoral’s retail stores, someone else is responsible for assembling all this into a cohesive meal.

  1. 2947 N Broadway, (between Aldine Ave and Roscoe St)
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Cheesie's Pub & Grub

  • Price band: 1/4

"Do you like grilled cheese? Do you also like macaroni and cheese?" Answer affirmatively to both of these questions, and the woman behind the counter of this divey bar where grilled cheese—and only grilled cheese—is served will conclude that you will like the Mac: mac and cheese between two pieces of Texas toast. It's a mess of a sandwich, just like all the others, which come topped with less extreme ingredients, such as chicken breast or ham. And yes, the combination of Merkts cheddar, American cheese, elbow noodles and the cutest little cup of spicy tomato soup is very hard not to like. Stumble into Cheesie's blitzed from next-door Berlin, and it might just be love.

  1. 958 W Belmont Ave, (between Wilton and Sheffield Ave)
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Chicago Diner

  • Price band: 1/4

Even non-vegetarians know Chicago Diner. The vibe is normal, everyday diner, albeit with soy milk, tofu and tempeh on the giant menu. Waits for weekend brunch can get painful (even though the menu is served daily), but patient non-meat-eaters are rewarded with dense (and fairly flaky) soy margarine biscuits. French toast is a little soggy and lackluster—but after all, this is diner food. If you still have room, try the vegan caramel crunch torte for dessert.

  1. 3411 N Halsted St, (between Roscoe St and Newport Ave)
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Crisp

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4

The Korean-style chicken at this cheery storefront is fresh, of good quality and comes slathered in three sauces: a sticky barbecue, a hot sauce–laced buffalo and a sesame-soy glaze dubbed “Seoul Sassy.” There’s also a decent bibimbap (best ordered with “marinated” vegetables, beef, an egg and brown rice) and Korean-style burritos whose fresh vegetables benefit from a liberal slather of sweetish hot sauce, but the chicken is the thing.

  1. 2940 N Broadway, (between Oakdale and Wellington Aves)
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DryHop Brewers

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

We’re smitten with the burger at DryHop Brewers, and our love affair continues into brunch. The burger is available (and you can add an egg on it, of course), but at brunch we’re going to cheat on it with the Captain’s French toast, challah bread soaked in a rum and cream batter and crusted with Cap’n Crunch cereal. The liquid cheesecake and warm bourbon maple syrup further make us wonder why we usually go savory at brunch. If you do, though, make sure your meal includes Grandma’s buttermilk potato casserole, with country ham and emmental cheese, a much better side dish than the too-dry biscuits with weak gravy. And you’re in a brewery, so you’re pretty much required to get a small pour of draft beer (we like the wheat IPA Shark Meets Hipster) alongside your bloody mary.

  1. 3155 N Broadway, (N Broadway and Briar Place)
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Falafill

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Maher Chebaro is a man who loves condiments. So while practically the only thing on the menu at his Lakeview storefront is falafel—fried to order and greaseless—it’s the salad bar visit that comes with each falafel pita or bowl that makes this place well worth a visit. There, toum (emulsified roasted garlic), sweet bulgur salad, spicy pickled ginger and creamy tabouli easily turn very good falafel into a very satisfying meal.

  1. 3202 N Broadway, (at Belmont Ave)
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HB Home Bistro

  • Price band: 2/4

Let’s go over this one more time, because it’s still a little confusing: The Hearty Boys used to own this restaurant, but no more—now they’re running their own place in a studiolike complex around the corner. Victor Morenz's ever-changing menu might include housemade Italian sausage, pan-roasted spring chicken or a griddled lamb burger.

  1. 3404 N Halsted St, (at Roscoe St)
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La Ciudad

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

A Mexican restaurant is one thing. A Mexico City restaurant is, as this place demonstrates, another. La Ciudad's dining room is slicker than most Mexican spots at this price point, and the menu leans slightly to De Fed specialties (for instance, quesadillas are fried and empanadaish, true to Mexico City style). Housemade salsas and moles make plates like an otherwise commonplace enchilada platter pop; same goes for the steak sopes, made with masa that is ground in-house. But the real difference at this restaurant is the crowd, a fun-loving mix of loyalists that BYO a lot of B.

  1. 4515 N Sheridan Rd, (between Sunnyside and Windsor Aves)
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Nookies Tree

  • Price band: 1/4

We’ll admit it: we’ve never really considered trying the food here when we were sober enough to taste it. No. 3 in the local “chain” of diners has always been a 3am favorite of Boystown barhoppers, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that, in the light of day, this place can cook. Fruit-filled pancakes and French toast are hits, as are the frittatas (try the combo of bacon, mushroom, Gouda cheese and caramelized onions). It’s a great way to start the day—or end the night.

  1. 3334 N Halsted St, (at Buckingham Pl)
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On The Bun

Lakeview's Waffles carved out a spot inside its crowded brunch restaurant and started On the Bun, a burger and hot dog joint. The gimmick here is a burger placed between two waffles, but stick to the classic burger, a well-executed sandwich made with a prime beef patty topped with cheese, lettuce and a roasted tomato spread. The fries are waffle fries, of course, and they're soft and pillowy—get them with the delicious smoky ketchup.

  1. 3617 N Broadway St
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Q BBQ

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Q offers every form of barbecue you can think of. There's Texas chopped brisket, Texas sliced brisket, Carolina pulled pork, pulled chicken, Memphis chicken wings, Texas spicy sausage, and so on. The meats are smoked over hickory and applewood, and the smoke smell permeates the restaurant (this is a good thing). You order at the counter, and there's a long menu, with salads, an array of baked potatoes, sliders and sandwiches (which curiously include melted cheese atop barbecue). The brisket is nice and smoky, but entirely too dry, so it's missing that fall-apart tenderness. The brisket burnt ends were better, but it was the other meats we wound up liking more. The sausage is among the best we've had in Chicago—it's spicy enough that there's a lingering burn, and there's a great snappy casing—and the pulled pork and chicken were lightly sauced and moist. There are two styles of chicken wings—spicy and Memphis—and both were flavorful and meaty.

  1. 714 W Diversey Pkwy, (Between Burling St and Orchard St)
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The Reservoir

  • Price band: 1/4

Every neighborhood should have a bar like the Reservoir, a nice, clean space with good looks, personable bartenders and whatever you want to drink (a few wines, a lot of beer, a couple of specialty cocktails) or eat (crostini with burrata, burgers, truffle fries). But few neighborhoods appreciate a place like this as much as this still-ragged stretch of Uptown.

  1. 844 W Montrose Ave, (between Clarendon Ave and Hazel St)
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Revolución

  • Price band: 2/4

This “Mexican steakhouse” plays by its own rules. Here, traditional cuts are available, but most of the menu is devoted to house specialties, from a bright tilapia ceviche with housemade chips to arrachera a la cerveza, a beer-marinated skirt steak served over smooth avocado-tomatillo salsa. Revolución is as fun a place to drink as to eat, especially with oversize margaritas and surprisingly good cocktails, like the smoky Oaxacan Manhattan.

  1. 3443 N Broadway, (between Stratford and Hawthorne Pls)
Book online

Sandwich Me In

  • Price band: 1/4

DIY is the ethos at this locally minded sandwich shop—if the chefs here can make it in-house, they do. This applies to everything from the sturdy yet soft rolls the sandwiches come on to the lemon soda meant to wash it all down. A Gunthorp pork sandwich is textbook and satisfying, with a salad that gets crunch from the unusual (but not unwelcome) addition of potato sticks. But a bowl of apple-pie filling is a little like the restaurant’s policy of letting any musician—any musician at all—play in the store: a nice idea, but only in theory.

  1. 3037 N Clark St, (between Wellington and Barry Aves)
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Senza

  • Price band: 2/4

This stylish, cute Lakeview restaurant is groundbreaking for those espousing a gluten-free diet. Here, they can dine safely on a five- or nine-course tasting menu without the specter of wheat haunting them. Even we didn’t feel the glaring absence of gluten, and the pastas (such as gnocchi made with gluten-free flour and tossed with sesame and poppy seeds in a play on an everything bagel) were particularly impressive. We can’t say the same for the tough steak, but you can get a great steak elsewhere—stick to what this spot does best.

  1. 2873 N Broadway, (between Surf St and Oakdale Ave)
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SpritzBurger

  • Price band: 2/4

The Hearty Boys closed Hearty in 2013, then reopened as a burger and soda spot with help from pastry chef/root beer-maker Gale Gand. The menu puts creative spins on classics—think a poutine burger and a Jeppson's Malort spritz.

  1. 3819 N Broadway St, (Between W Grace St and W Sheridan Rd)
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TAC Quick Thai

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The basic menu appeases the masses that flood the simple, minimalist room of this top-notch Thai joint. But the true standouts can be found on the translated Thai-language menu, with never-fail flavor explosions such as tart and smoky pork-and-rice sausage; ground chicken with crispy basil and preserved eggs; and warm sweet-and-sour beef jerky. Don’t disregard the specials board; promising rotations have included basil duck stir-fried with garlic and mushrooms, and lettuce wrap–ready deep-fried mackerel with apples, cucumbers, fish sauce and chilies.

  1. 3930 N Sheridan Rd, (at Dakin St)
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2Sparrows

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4

When a restaurant is only open till 2 or 3pm each day, you know they probably have a handle on brunch. 2Sparrows does—the vegetable quiche is as light as can be; the doughnut varieties rotate, but the maple bacon is a perfect rendition; and you won’t go wrong with a classic eggs, toast and housemade sausage plate. The cocktails are all fairly easy drinking, so have one and then get a fruit popsicle, which 2Sparrows is making on Pride Parade day.

  1. 553 W Diversey Pkwy, (between Lehmann Ct and Cambridge Ave)
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Wilde Bar and Restaurant

  • Price band: 2/4

We know, we know: The last thing Chicago needs is another Irish bar. But once inside this sprawling (yet somehow still inviting) space—which has separate areas for eating pub grub, watching the game from the bar and even reading (in the cozy "library")—you just may find yourself wanting more.

  1. 3130 N Broadway, (between Barry Ave and Briar Pl)
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Wood

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

It’s hard to pick a favorite dish at Wood because, truth is, all of chef Ashlee Aubin’s dishes are good, from the lightly battered soft-shell crab to the ricotta-filled squash blossoms to the juicy chicken topped with a panzanella salad. Okay, none break any new ground, but this is well-executed, full-flavored neighborhood food, each dish as solid as the next. Cocktails like the amaro-based Amalfi Cooler are nice, too, but there’s enough drinking in this neighborhood—Wood reminds that, hey, Boystown’s gotta eat too.

  1. 3335 N Halsted St, (at Buckingham Pl)
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Yoshi’s Café

  • Price band: 2/4

The room is reminiscent of a retirement-home cafeteria, and the menu has multiple personalities, but somehow Yoshi pulls it all together. Considering his 20-plus years in the game putting out mishmashed food long before the term fusion was coined, it’s no shock to see yellowtail with guac or a Wagyu burger topped with a huge chunk of Brie. Thanks to Yoshi’s former gig as a fish guy, seafood sings here, especially seasonal items like fat, juicy mussels in lemongrass curry. Desserts, on the other hand, were disappointing across the board.

  1. 3257 N Halsted St, (at Aldine Ave)
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