Work hard, brunch harder.
Whether you’re in need of an instant mood boost, searching for a group Sunday Funday activity, or looking to cure a hangover from the night before, brunch is the solution to all problems.
Luckily Chicago has an abundance of seriously good morning eats and here we’ve compiled the best of the bunch. Based on our own experiences at Secret Chicago, our audience’s most popular choices, and a scrupulous assessment of setting and prices, we’ve filtered through the noise to gather the most unique, reliable, and affordable brunch spots around Chicago providing you with the ultimate Chicago brunch list.
After a year of limitations, brunches have been prohibited from our weekend itineraries but with the city now opening back up it’s time to brunch like never before. Taking into account the setting, the atmosphere, and of course the quality of food, here are our top choices for breakfast and brunch spots around Chicago, in no particular order.
1. Little Goat Diner – West Loop
With Stephanie Izard, the first female chef to win Bravo’s Top Chef, at the helm, you can bet your bottom dollar the Little Goat Diner will serve up a brunch to please the pickiest of people. A menu dedicated to brunching and serving spectacular dishes all day makes this an ever-reliable brunch spot that always exceeds expectations. The retro midcentury-modern diner is casual and cozy so you can brunch away in comfort and choose from an array of delectable brunch options both traditional and worldly. More information can be found here.
Where: 820 West Randolph Street, Chicago
2. The Dime – Lincoln Park
The Dime makes our list not as a brunch spot boasting a celebrity chef, but instead for its boozy bottomless brunches that always ensure weekend euphoria. If you’re looking for a quiet brunch with the parents this one might not be for you, but if you’re looking for weekend revelry and a break from the daily grind, this is your answer.
Bottomless brunches with mimosas, bellinis, and beer guarantee an afternoon well spent. The lively sports bar is a popular Lincoln Park hideout offering great music, food, and drinks. Every Saturday and Sunday you’ll find gleeful groups taking advantage of the $35 brunch and bottomless drinks special offer and enjoying the gradual return to normalcy. Get your tickets here.
Where: 2263 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
3. M Henry – Andersonville
Of all the fantastic brunch spots in Andersonville, the historic Chicago staple M Henry is a frontrunner dedicated to using mostly organic and meat-free options. If bacon is an essential member of your dream brunch setup M Henry might not be for you. But if you’re looking for a place to satisfy a number of different tastes and tendencies, you can’t go wrong with M Henry.
The day-time-only cafe offers globally inspired, new American-style cooking from the finest natural locally produced ingredients available. M. Henry’s all-day breakfast menu has both traditional breakfast options like fried egg sandwiches and stacks of hotcakes as well as veggie and vegan options such as the veritable vegan epiphany – an organic tofu scramble with tempeh strips and sliced avocado. More information can be found here.
Where: 5707 North Clark Street, Chicago
4. Porkchop – Hyde Park
You wouldn’t think of a barbeque place as a good brunch spot, but Porkchop in Hyde Park promises an entertaining Sunday brunch all year round. An ever-changing array of activities taking place in Porkchop’s Grand Cabaret speakeasy ensure a good time rain or shine. Right now you’ll find a delicious Drag Brunch with Bottomless Drinks taking place every Sunday through summer. There are few plans that offer a more enjoyable Sunday and with a delicious brunch to boot, you simply can’t go wrong at Porkchop. Get your tickets here.
Where: 1132 West Grand Avenue, Chicago
5. Beatrix – Multiple Locations
You’ll struggle to find a more reliable brunch spot than Beatrix. With multiple locations around the city, the friendly chain of cozy cafés offers fresh-squeezed juices, brunch cocktails, and an outstanding breakfast menu. The all-day eatery focuses on healthy and affordable options with anything from light & fluffy lemon pancakes to steak chimichurri & eggs. You can guarantee Beatrix has something for everybody and with a small collection of well-located coffeehouses and restaurants in River North, Streeterville, Fulton Market, and Oak Brook, finding a convenient meeting place shouldn’t be a hard task. More information can be found here.
Where: 519 N Clark Street (River North), 834 W. Fulton Market (Fulton Market), 671 N. St. Clair Street (Streeterville), 272 Oakbrook Center (Oakbrook)
6. Hubbard Inn – River North
Many brunch spots on this list, like Beatrix, offer year-round reliable brunches with established set menus. Hubbard Inn, however, is another that offers a revolving, constantly changing the setup. Right now a Secret Garden Pop-Up has taken over Hubbard Inn’s second floor. A boozy brunch can now be found in the celestial leafy lounge of Blue Violet combining a stunning spring-themed setting with a bottomless, mouth-watering brunch.
The stunning floral setup, bottomless mimosas, and a selection of spring-themed cocktails mean you can really bask in the seasonal bloom while enjoying special brunch deals. Get your tickets here.
Where: 110 West Hubbard Street, Chicago
7. Twisted Spoke – River West
A brunch menu titled ‘Hangover Hospital’ tells you all you need to know about this River West rooftop. Helping Chicagoans get back on their feet from 10 am – 3 pm every Saturday and Sunday, Twisted Spoke has become an ever-reliable weekend retreat. The casual rooftop boasts three incredible bloody mary options in Road Rash Mary, Smoking Salma, and Bloody Maria. We warn you, once you check in here, it might just become a habit this summer. More information can be found here.
Where: 501 North Ogden Avenue, Chicago
8. Summer House Santa Monica– Lincoln Park
With all the fantastic Chicago diners available in the Windy City sometimes it’s nice to change it up a bit. Lincoln Park’s Summer House Santa Monica will transport you to sunny California with its bright and breezy dining room. If you’re looking for an instant mood boost, this is it. Coastal touches, hanging plants, and a glass retractable roof comprise a stunning setting channeling West Coast charm whilst you certainly won’t be disappointed when you’re enjoying one of their brilliant breakfast options. More information can be found here.
Where: 1954 North Halsted Street, Chicago
9. Lula Cafe – Logan Square
At the time of writing, Lula’s Cafe is only open for pickup and delivery but as one of the best brunch spots in the whole of Chicago, we simply couldn’t leave this long-established favorite off this list. When it’s open, the dining room and patio at Lula Cafe provide an incredible brunch that can be enjoyed whilst overlooking the square.
Consistently identified as one of Chicago’s best brunches, Lula Cafe cannot be overemphasized. Another neighborhood staple using locally sourced ingredients and offering a range of vegan and gluten-free options, you can’t go wrong with Lula Cafe. More information can be found here.
Where: 2537 N Kedzie Avenue, Chicago
11. The Publican – Fulton Market
“An homage to oysters, pork, and beer, The Publican’s eclectic menu is inspired by simple farmhouse fare in a space evocative of a European beer hall.” While The Publican is chiefly a seafood and pork restaurant offering hand-selected and sustainably raised fish, the rustic West Loop spot also offers a charming brunch with various meat and vegetarian options. More information can be found here.
Where: 837 West Fulton Market, Chicago
11. Maple & Ash – Gold Coast
If you’re in search of an upscale boozy brunch in the Gold Coast, look no further. With a menu crafted by two-Michelin-star Chef Danny Grant, Maple & Ash is an innovative take on the traditional steakhouse “mixing a modern aesthetic with authentic service to deliver classic wood-fired dishes.” Add in a wine list named “one of the most outstanding in the world” by Wine Spectator, Maple & Ash does not fall short of recognition. The lavish establishment is kitted out with chandeliers and spacious velvet booths offering guests the chance to brunch in style. More information can be found here.
Where: 8 West Maple Street, Chicago
12. Lou Mitchell’s – West Loop
While age doesn’t always guarantee quality, it is difficult to ignore one of Chicago’s oldest restaurants in Lou Mitchell’s. The restaurant has been serving up breakfasts and brunches for 98 years and will celebrate 100 years in the business in 2023. The family diner was started by ‘Uncle Lou’ back in 1923 specializing in breakfast, brunch, and lunch dishes before being handed down to his son Lou Mitchell.
The website boasts that “we’ve poured enough cups of our signature coffee to fill the Chicago River and our delicious pancakes could fill Wrigley field.” With various different pancakes, waffles, and omelets there is plenty of option and this old-school dining experience is sure to exceed expectations. More information can be found here.
Where: 565 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago
13. Beatnik – West Town & Riverside
You’ll struggle to find another cafe in Chicago as trendy as Beatnik. The exotic escape from the folks behind Celeste boasts an opulent old-world design and has a fantastic menu to boot. The West Town restaurant was inspired by writers and artists of the 1950s and 60s Beat Generation and so the decor inside consequently draws inspiration from around the world with bright colors, hundreds of plants, and a bohemian vibe. River seating offers an iconic setting while an open-air courtyard with a fully retractable roof is usually swamped in natural light that creates an incomparable backdrop. An array of traditional dishes offer breakfast and brunch options but the menu is as colorful as the venue with plenty of dishes from different countries and cultures. More information can be found here.
Where: 180 North Upper Wacker Drive and 1604 West Chicago Avenue
14. Yolk – Multiple Locations
After opening the first Yolk restaurant in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood in 2006, Yolk has become one of those family-friendly chains that has grown in popularity for its reliable service and fantastic food. Having just opened a 5th Chicago location in May 2021 there are now several conveniently placed Yolk cafes around the city and you can be sure you’ll leave any of them well-fed with a spring in your step.
Where: See all Chicago locations here.
15. Batter & Berries – Lincoln Park
Founded in 2012, Batter & Berries combines a diverse menu with an upbeat atmosphere, and almost everything is sourced locally. While the website talks of handmade sausages from locally sourced poultry, freshly shredded potatoes daily, 100% Pure Maple Syrup, and collaborations with local artisans, talk to any fan of Batter & Berries and you’ll likely hear about their phenomenal french toast. Coming in four different flavors, strawberry, blueberry, lemon, and caramel, the french toast is a must-try for brunch fanatics but for the real deal the French Toast Flight offers a taste of all four.
With its bright floral surroundings, hearty breakfasts, and fantastic service, Batter & Berries is unsurprisingly one of the most popular brunch options in the whole city. More information can be found here.
Where: 2748 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago
16. Chicago Diner – Logan Square and Lakeview (Vegetarian)
Ask any vegetarian or vegan in the city of their top restaurant choices and it’s likely Chicago Diner will be one of the first names on their lips. Whilst a motto boasts that The Chicago Diner has been “Meat free since ’83” its reputation is such that The Chicago Diner is loved by meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters all over the city. A large menu offers anything ranging from pancakes to black bean veggie burgers but it’s what they can do with seitan and tofu that will really blow your mind, and your taste buds.
Eggs Benedict, Steak & Eggs (using fried seitan), Biscuit & Gravy (again with seitan), and the Breakfast Combo are just a few of the options that will have you leaving the Chicago Diner happy whatever your diet consists of. More information can be found here.
Where: 3411 N Halsted Street and 2333 N Milwaukee Avenue
17. Pick Me Up Cafe – Wrigleyville
Pick Me Up Cafe is another restaurant offering a fantastic array of vegan and vegetarian fare. Unlike the Chicago Diner, however, Pick Me Up Cafe has just as many meat options so any group can find a variety of dishes to satisfy all needs. “Whether it’s a plate of vegan french toast, a hearty chorizo burrito, or a perfectly crafted latte, we have something for everyone” the website reads. Whether it’s a Vegan Tofu Scram, Bacon Benedict, or Huevos Rancheros Deluxe, the brunch options at Pick Me Up Cafe are sensational. It is also another trendy hangout with brightly colored decor and an assortment of mismatching furniture that give it a truly unique feel. More information can be found here.
Where: 4882 North Clark Street, Chicagoo
18. Nana – Bridgeport
Frequently recognized as one of Chicago’s best brunch spots, the family-owned Nana in Bridgeport has just reopened in May 2021. Boasting a delicious brunch menu made with sustainably and ethically sourced organic ingredients from local farmers, Nana offers a unique array of Mexican-American food. There are some extraordinary Latin-influenced brunch options that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in the Windy City. More information can be found here.
Where: 752 West 33rd Street, Chicago
19. The Bongo Room – Multiple Locations
The Bongo Room is another brunch classic in Chicago. The casual café serves an outstanding brunch in a relaxed setting. Breakfast burritos, croissant sandwiches both meat and meat-free are the go-to options for many here as well as a decadent Lobster Benedict that is not short of admirers.
Where: 5022 North Clark Street and 1470 North Milwaukee Avenue
20. The Duck Inn – Pilsen / Bridgeport
The Duck Inn’s Sunday Brunch menu is one of those menus that has just too many mouth-watering options. Reading through the eye-catching selection including Banana Foster French Toast, Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast, The Bridgeport Breakfast, Shrimp & Grits, and the Egg McDuckinn, you’ll likely be asking for more time to decide and already know you’re going to making few trips back to enjoy the other options on the menu. This famed neighborhood gastro-tavern on the border of the vibrant Pilsen and Bridgeport neighborhoods has a comfortable vibe and a sensational breakfast that will have you coming back for more. More information can be found here.
Where: 2701 South Eleanor Street, Chicago
What’s your favorite breakfast spot? Let us know by tagging us with your favorites on Instagram with #mysecretchicago.
[Featured image from Instagram / @beatnikchicago]