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summer house, summer house santa monica, brunch, breakfast, pancakes, Jordan Johnson
Photograph: Jordan Johnson

The best brunch in Chicago to try right now

Rise and shine for eggs, waffles and more brunchy goodness at Chicago's best restaurants

By Morgan Olsen
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Brunch all but disappeared from our weekend itineraries earlier this year, when Chicago restaurants shut down and city-dwellers stayed home. But now, it seems, the leisurely tradition is back with plenty of ways to enjoy, including dine-in service and cozy patio seating as well as takeout and delivery. The best brunch in Chicago offers a stacked menu of morning favorites—from breakfast burritos and French toast to eggs benedict and hash browns. If you're looking to drink as much as you eat, you might want to check out our list of the finest bottomless brunch Chicago has to offer. Next time you're searching for things to do in Chicago this weekend, consider eating your way through the best brunch in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Find the best breakfast in Chicago

Best brunch in Chicago

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

1. Lula Cafe

Restaurants Eclectic Logan Square

Lula Cafe's dining room and patio are still closed to dine-in guests, but that doesn't mean you're barred from getting your breakfast burrito fix. Reserve a to-go brunch box that comes packed with a pastry, leafy salad and—of course—the fan-favorite classic breakfast burrito. For vegan and gluten-free diners, there's the tofu market vegetable scramble, granola and greens. Toss in coffee, a mimosa kit or a bottled Bloody Mary. Once you've claimed your box, find a quiet place to lounge in Logan Square Park, a stone's throw from Lula Cafe.

2. Batter & Berries

Restaurants American Sheffield & DePaul

The name of this restaurant alone makes us crave brunch—no matter the time of day. That feeling isn't unfounded, as Batter & Berries deals in omelets, pancakes, waffles and breakfast sandwiches. But the star of this menu is the French toast, which comes in four distinct flavors: blueberry, strawberry, caramel and lemon. Regulars know that the best way to order is through the French Toast Flight, which affords you a taste of each.

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Tzuco
Photograph: Diego Padilla

3. Tzuco

Restaurants River North

When one of the best restaurants in Chicago starts offering brunch, you can rest easy knowing that it's a safe bet. Chef-owner Carlos Gaytán uses his morning menu to showcase a lineup of house-made Mexican pastries, including conchas, banana and Nutella rolls and chocolate croissants imbued with traditional spices. Of course, you should save room for delectable entrées like the chorizo crepe, steak-studded chilaquiles and the orange-scented French toast. A round of micheladas for the table is a must.

L&E, Longman & Eagle
Photograph: Clayton Hauck

4. Longman & Eagle

Restaurants Contemporary American Logan Square

If you prefer savory to sweet and whiskey to bubbles, Longman & Eagle is the Holy Grail of Chicago's brunch offerings. The all-day menu boasts a few dishes that skew breakfast-y, like the baked eggs with tomato and pepper sauce or the smoked whitefish toast with olive tapenade. Purists will appreciate the Old Mil breakfast, with eggs, bacon, potatoes and an ice-cold can of Old Milwaukee. That's one way to start the day!

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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

5. m. henry

Restaurants American Edgewater

At this sweet, sunny, daytime-only café, health food is tasty enough to eat. The owners are committed to organics and offer meat-free options, but they’re okay with a little cheese, butter and sugar every now and then. Case in point: thick, dense blackberry pancakes and a heaping breakfast sandwich of fried egg, Gorgonzola, applewood-smoked bacon and fresh thyme. If that’s too good and gooey for you health nuts, there’s always the Vegan Epiphany, an organic tofu scramble that just may live up to its name.

Peach's
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

6. Peach’s Restaurant

Restaurants American Grand Boulevard

Whether you're dining in or ordering to go, the menu at Peach's is a study in southern indulgence. The garlicky shrimp and grits is a Day One favorite, while the peach-bourbon French toast offers a sweet fix. Regulars will tell you that the salmon croquettes are a non-negotiable, so go ahead and add those to your order, too.

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Blood sausage hash and roe scramble at The Publican.
Photograph: Martha Williams

7. The Publican

Restaurants American West Loop

Just like there's no need for an alarm on the weekends, there's no reason to be counting calories at brunch. This West Loop institution offers indoor and outdoor seating for pigging out on stacked biscuit sandwiches, whitefish-topped bagels and pork schnitzel sandwiches. Promote yourself to hero status when you order the maple-braised bacon for the table to share.

Dusek's
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

8. Dusek’s Board and Beer

Bars Gastropubs Lower West Side

Swing by the bar at this Pilsen mainstay to place your brunch order—from there, you can snag a seat on the patio or take your food to go. The massive Dutch baby pancake is a hit for sweet-seekers, while the cheeseburger with beef fat fries is just right for leisurely afternoon diners. A smattering of sides—like breakfast potatoes, bacon and toast—help round out any meal.

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Photograph: John Khuu

9. Luella’s Southern Kitchen

Restaurants Soul and southern American Lincoln Square

Chef-owner Darnell Reed taps into his grandmother Luella's southern roots and the recipes he learned as a child with this Southern restaurant. On the brunch front, that translates to soul-soothing dishes like brown sugar and bourbon French toast, Nashville hot chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits and kale ambrosia—all available for pickup and delivery for now.

summer house, summer house santa monica, brunch, breakfast, pancakes, Jordan Johnson
Photograph: Jordan Johnson

10. Summer House Santa Monica

Restaurants American Lincoln Park

No matter what the forecast looks like outside, this Lincoln Park restaurant from Lettuce Entertain You transports diners to sunny California through a bright and spacious dining room that's dotted with plants as well as a West Coast-homaging menu. Choose from avocado toast loaded with tomatoes and scallion mascarpone, chicken tinga tacos with guac, or the charred summer corn elotes that's imbued with jalapeños and queso fresco. And don't forget to put your jacket back on on your way out.

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etta, jaclyn rivas, wicker park, food, restaurant
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

11. etta

Restaurants Wicker Park

Look, if you want pizza for breakfast, who are we to judge? This buzzy Wicker Park restaurant balances out its brunch menu with staples, like avocado toast and huevos rancheros, alongside wood-fired pies topped with pepperoni, 'shrooms and giardiniera. Toss in a basket of breads and pastries for the table, or go boozy with a bottle of bubbles and accompanying juices.

Nana
Photograph: Jill Paider

12. Nana

Restaurants Contemporary American Bridgeport

There are plenty of ways to get your hands on brunch bites from this Bridgeport favorite, which is now available for curbside pickup, delivery and alfresco patio dining. Start with a loaded Bloody Mary while you work up an appetite for crunchy guava-stuffed French toast, savory breakfast bowls and jam-packed omelettes.

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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

13. Pleasant House Pub

Restaurants British Lower West Side

On the weekends, this sweet Pilsen pub serves a superb royal breakfast pie that's loaded with sausage, egg, melty cheese. It pairs nicely with a gin Bloody Mary and a Hopewell Lil Buddy beer back. Round out your meal with an order of curry chips or a Scotch egg, which comes wrapped in pork sausage, coated in breadcrumbs and fried to perfection.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

14. Beatnik

Restaurants Mediterranean East Village

Mornings are an otherworldly experience at this trendy West Town hideaway from the folks behind Celeste. If you can, nab a spot toward the front of the restaurant, where sunlight pours in from the atrium-style ceiling and lush greenery fills the room. The morning menu is a global affair with dishes like bulgogi fried rice, smoked baba ghanoush and arepas stuffed with pork cheek.

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The Hampton Social
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

15. The Hampton Social

Restaurants Seafood River North

Scenesters flock to this posh and breezy River North restaurant for the frosé and the photo opps, but the kitchen makes a mean brunch, too. The sea-kissed lobster roll never disappoints, and the simple but scrumptious wild berry French toast is dusted in powdered sugar and served with warm syrup. And yes, okay, you should probably just toss in a bottle of rosé for the table, as the restaurant offers a great selection of the pink stuff.

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Marie-Jeanne
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The best breakfast restaurants in Chicago

Restaurants

The only thing that makes getting out of bed enjoyable is the best breakfast in Chicago—fluffy eggs, a mug of piping-hot coffee, a stack of pancakes and a pile of greasy bacon. Your mother was right: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

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