Brunch, always indulgent, occasionally healthy, and a mainstay of the average Chicago weekend, unites eaters participating in a common dining experience that somehow never feels ordinary. A perfect time to throw moderation to the wind and lose yourself in the moment, Chicago’s vivacious brunch community caters to lovers of the classic breakfast-lunch mashup. Start your day off on a sweet or savory note, lean into the more breakfast-y dishes, or look forward to the lunch-y menu items. Whatever your preferred cup of tea (or coffee, as it were), Chicago’s restaurants can match your mood, accommodate your whims, and fulfill your deepest late-morning food desires. Ready to dig in?
Move to the Windy City and feed those brunch cravings every weekend in the nation’s best food city (sorry, NYC). AptAmigo can help you find the best apartment, near the best brunch spots, for free!
Where to Find the Best Brunch in Chicago
Neighborhood: Lincoln Square
Address: 4655 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625
For a healthier (possibly) Chicago brunch option, head over to Baker Miller, a charming pink diner, in the idyllic Lincoln Square neighborhood. The name itself carries layers of meanings because the Millers (yup, that’s the owners’ last name) bake & mill, and they decked the place out in the shade of pink that also happens to go by the name Baker-Miller pink, a color with a fascinating history. History lessons aside though, we’re hungry.
At Baker Miller, they mill their own flour from grains grown on local farms for their artisan sourdough loaves. Some of the healthiest options on their menu use this same bread, but they also serve made-from-scratch pastries, biscuit sandwiches, and great coffee.
For the bookworms out there, this place makes a great stop for your next trip to the Sulzer Regional Library, Chicago’s second largest public library. Or, next time you need to pick up some local gifts, finish your brunch with a shopping spree at the cute little shops neighboring the diner.
What to Eat: Order any dish that uses their sourdough, such as the avocado toast (it’s not your ordinary avocado toast) or the smoked salmon plate. For pastries, grab a doughboy. If you feel too stuffed, you can always take it with you.
Batter & Berries
Neighborhood: Lakeview/Lincoln Park
Address: 2748 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
When you need french toast, and you probably do right now, head to Batter & Berries for a brunch made with love. Even on weekdays, this kid-approved, neighborhood establishment can get busy. Sure, they serve other items besides french toast, but they specialize in battered, sweet, custardy, bread with creative toppings, so join the in-crowd and order some of the good stuff.
Oh, and don’t forget to take a breath in between bites every now and then as you shovel it into your face.
What to Eat: If you can’t decide on a french toast flavor, then order the flight of french toasts (pictured above) and taste them all – blueberry, strawberry, lemon, and caramel all on one plate. Or, try the special of the day.
Neighborhood: Lower West Side
Address: 2701 S Eleanor, Chicago
Winner of Best Chicago Hot Dog awards many times over, this duck enthusiast’s wonderland will please more than just the fowl-minded among your party. Their Sunday brunch menu lives up to its airy disposition and uplifting reputation, and your tastebuds will flutter with glee at the many duck preparations on its menu. We believe this feathery friend deserves more attention than it gets in the American diet, and The Duck Inn makes an irrefutable case in its flavor (oops, we meant, favor). So, dunk your neck in the pond and fish out some coins because a meal here will keep you afloat with joy all week long.
What to Eat: It would be weird to come to The Duck Inn and not order anything with duck. Go for the game bird! For a new spin on a breakfast classic, try the Rotisserie Duck Hash. Or, enjoy the Mexican-infused flavors of the Duck Duck Sope and the Japanese-style Duck Wings. Whatever adventure you choose, start the meal with Collins’ Grandma’s Sticky Buns. It’s worth the overindulgence.
Address: 820 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Stephanie Izard, the first woman to win Top Chef (season 4) and a beloved Chicago restaurateur, lives up to her title with Little Goat, the younger, casual sibling of her flagship restaurant, The Girl and the Goat. Little Goat shirks all forms of pretension with recognizable and accessible, but supremely whimsical dishes packed with international flair. This quirky and fun diner bursts with as much personality as it does flavor, never skimping on quality or attention to detail. Before you leave, stop by Sugargoat next door for some pastries to go. You may feel stuffed to the brim in the moment, but you’ll thank yourself later for the foresight.
What to Eat: This Little Piggy Went to China won’t exactly transport you across borders, but it will give you a glimpse into how Izard attaches global flavors onto dishes we know and love in a way that sends diners into a tizzy of palate pleasing, childlike delight. Lean into Japanese flavors with their Okonomiyaki, or stick with a classic like pancakes. You really can’t go wrong here.
Neighborhood: Logan Square
Address: 2537 North Kedzie Blvd., Chicago, IL 60647
Lula Cafe, Chicago’s OG farm-to-table brunch spot, sets the bar high for the rest of the city’s midday meal mainstays. Served in a casual but chic setting, their constantly evolving menu transforms simple classics with a healthy dose of playful seasonality. For instance, they’ll take your standard brioche french toast, stuff it with custard, and jazz it up with cacao nib streusel, licorice root, and berry jam (pictured above). What we’re trying to say is that Lula’s represents everything that is right and good about brunch. To turn your meal into a proper outing, peruse the shelves at City Lit Books two doors down while you wait for your table, or grab brunch on Sunday and walk a few steps over to the Logan Square Farmer’s Market afterwards.
What to Eat: The Classic Lula Breakfast Burrito, but arrive hungry; it’s bigger than your head.
Neighborhood: Bridgeport (near Bronzeville)
Address: 3267 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608
If your Nana cooks like these guys, then we want to know why you haven’t invited us over for brunch yet … Well?
At Nana’s, you can order Latin-inspired dishes, served up in a casual and welcoming space just blocks away from the White Sox stadium (in case you need a little, or huge, pre-game snack). This counter-serve restaurant whips up American classics with a fusion twist; for instance, a scrambled egg breakfast sandwich with chorizo, beans, chihuahua cheese, and pickled jalapeños, kind of like a torta, but not. Whether you go sweet, savory, or somewhere in between, their flavorful meals will leave you feeling satisfied and happy all day.
What to Eat: Guava and cream cheese stuffed french toast, any breakfast sandwich, or chilaquiles and housemade donuts.
So many great brunch restaurants call Chicago home, and we feel bad that we couldn’t include them all here. Consider this list an incomplete guide to breakfast-lunch in Chicago. We encourage you to branch out and explore the best meal of the week throughout all of your favorite Chicago neighborhoods. Happy eating!
Find Your Dream Chicago Apartment
You can’t beat Chicago’s brunch scene. Join the metropolitan brunch club and live next to your go-to weekend restaurant. AptAmigo can help! Our free service will pair you with an agent who can perform your apartment search for you. Give us all the pertinent information about your preferences – size, amenities, city views, pets, gym equipment – and we’ll send you a list of the best options available. Then, let us schedule your tours for you. We’ll be there every step of the way to help you land the new apartment of your dreams. Reach out today.
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Karrie Fuller earned her PhD in English from the University of Notre Dame. After a decade of teaching college-level writing and English courses, she brings a wealth of expertise about writing, editing, and content management to AptAmigo's marketing team.