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Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The 13 best breakfast restaurants in Chicago

The best breakfast in Chicago will help you rise and shine with eggs, pancakes and plenty of coffee

By Morgan Olsen

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. The best breakfast in Chicago is served bright and early (usually well before the best brunch Chicago) and is often offered throughout the week. Many of the spots on this list also serve some of the best coffee in Chicago to help you get through that Monday-to-Friday grind. (Psst! If you're looking for something boozier, be sure to check out the finest bottomless brunch Chicago has to offer.) Rise and shine with help from the best breakfast in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Chicago

Best breakfast in Chicago

lula cafe
Photograph: Kyle Kissel

1. Lula Cafe

Restaurants Eclectic Logan Square

This cheerful Logan Square mainstay hasn't resumed indoor or outdoor service, but that shouldn't stop you from swinging by the walk-up window when it opens at 9am Thursday through Sunday. The beloved classic breakfast burrito is stuffed with avocado, onion, green chile, tomato, potato, eggs and cheddar, while the rotating array of freshly baked pastries from Emily Spurlin is always on point. Make it a combo with the Brunch Box, which includes the breakfast burrito, a sweet treat and a side salad.

Photograph: Anjali M. PInto

2. Beatrix

Restaurants American River North

With outposts in River North, Streeterville, Fulton Market and Oak Brook, Beatrix is a reliable morning standby no matter where you wake up. And because most locations open before 9am, it's also a great option for early risers. Grab a pastry and coffee from the bakery if you're in a rush, or grab a seat and enjoy heartier dishes like blackberry-topped lemon pancakes, the avocado Benedict or spicy shakshuka. The Power Greens juice—with kale, romaine, celery, pineapple and mint—is just the boost you need to power through the week.


3. 5 Loaves Eatery

Restaurants Soul and southern American Greater Grand Crossing

A cornerstone of Chicago's South Side culinary scene, 5 Loaves Eatery is a family-friendly beacon that specializes in daytime dining—from breakfast through lunch. The ethos behind the restaurant is one of faith, community and the cathartic experience of breaking bread with neighbors. The menus reflect that sense of warmth, with hearty omelettes, stacks of pancakes and some of the tastiest fried chicken in town. A word to the wise: Don't skip the destination-worthy salmon croquettes or the crispy catfish nuggets.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

4. Café Marie-Jeanne

Restaurants Cafés Humboldt Park

If you'd rather stick to takeout and delivery, we've got you covered: Café Marie-Jeanne is serving breakfast to go all day long. Roll out of bed to a fresh buttermilk biscuit or a stacked breakfast sandwich, piled high with eggs, cheese and your choice of protein. Need more fuel to get through the day? A sprinkle-topped doughnut will most certainly do the trick.


5. Batter & Berries

Restaurants American Sheffield & DePaul

If you're the kind of person who searches every breakfast menu for French toast, Batter & Berries is your mothership. The restaurant's world-famous recipe comes in four varieties—from caramel with candied walnuts to zesty lemon and sumac. Regulars know that the best way to order is through the French Toast Flight, which affords you a taste of each.

Bang Bang Pie Shop
Photograph: Martha Williams

6. Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits

Restaurants Bakeries Logan Square

Want to impress your entire household during quarantine? Swing by Bang Bang to stock up on from-scratch biscuits, peach-habanero jam, vegetarian gravy, coffee beans and michelada mix. Heck, you might as well toss in a key lime pie while you're at it. (What? We can't be the only ones who eat pie for breakfast.)

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

7. m. henry

Restaurants American Edgewater

At this adorably sunny, daytime-only café, health food is tasty enough to crave. 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 blueberry 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 lives up to its name.

Photograph: Allison Williams

8. Valois Restaurant

Restaurants American Hyde Park

Quick thinking is the key to success at this classic cafeteria that opens at 5:30am daily. Once the line reaches the counter, you have only a few seconds to place your order, pick a side, order a drink and pay. For breakfast, we like the generous stack of French toast with a side of poached eggs. There’s always the question of whether to eat the sweet, cakey biscuits with your meal or save them for later; either way, make your choice the first time around. Otherwise, it’s back to the line.

Palace Grill
Photograph: Martha Williams

9. Palace Grill

Restaurants American West Loop

At Palace Grill in the West Loop, the options are plentiful. Go savory with omelettes, skillets and sandwiches, or embrace the sugar rush with French toast, waffles and pancakes. This classic Chicago diner opens at 6am most days (7am on Sunday), and the best seats in the house ride the main counter, where cooks flip eggs and toss hashbrowns all day.

Photograph: Jill Paider

10. Nana

Restaurants Contemporary American Bridgeport

There are plenty of ways to get your hands on breakfast 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.

Photograph: Benjamin Macri

11. Cellar Door Provisions

Restaurants American Logan Square

Though dine-in service isn't yet available at this darling Logan Square eatery, insiders know that you can pre-order a box of pastries for curbside pickup seven days a week. Each box comes loaded with five treats, like cannele, galettes, croissants and scones. On Saturday and Sunday, you can even toss in a giant cinnamon roll with whipped labneh frosting to share with a few friends. Just be sure to get your order in by noon the day before.

Photograph: Martha Williams

12. Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant

Restaurants Cafés West Loop

Slinging breakfast since 1923, Lou Mitchell's is a bonafide Chicago institution. The Loop restaurant opens at 6am on weekdays with a lineup of morning favorites like egg sandos, pancakes, waffles, omelettes and fresh-squeezed juice—and that's just scratching the surface. On weekends, the line sometimes snakes out the front door, so prepare to wait it out.

Photograph: Martha Williams

13. Ann Sather

Restaurants Swedish Lake View

Ann Sather is not the best dinner, lunch or breakfast in town. It may not even be the best diner food. But that doesn’t matter, because Ann Sather has the sweetest cinnamon rolls in the Midwest. If you must, you can order some “real” food—crab cakes Benedict for brunch won’t disappoint, and neither will Swedish specialties, such as the roasted duck with lingonberry glaze. But let’s get real: You’re only after those fluffy cinnamon rolls, which arrive too big for the plate and submerged under warm icing. Luckily for you, they come with almost every order.

Still hungry?


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