The Brunch Hit List: The Best New Brunches In Chicago guide image


The Brunch Hit List: The Best New Brunches In Chicago

The new Chicago brunch spots you should check out.

Brunch is one of the best reasons to put on pants on weekend mornings, and luckily Chicago is full of great options. But in case your go-to spots are starting to feel a little tired, or you just want to try something new, check out one of the restaurants on this guide. All of these places have either recently opened, reopened, or just started serving brunch. Go forth and enjoy some pancakes.


photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Trivoli Tavern review image

Trivoli Tavern


114 N Green St, Chicago
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Signs you’re at a restaurant from the Bavette’s and Gilt Bar team: ’20s jazz, a dim dining room that feels like the Clue mansion, fantastic service, and great food. You’ll find all of the above at Trivoli Tavern in the West Loop, which (unlike its predecessors) does weekend brunch. The menu has things like strawberries and cream pancakes, crab cake benedict, a $39 smoked salmon bagel tower, and a whole bunch of brunch cocktails. Plus they’re part of Gin Alley, which means they also have a very cute cobblestone outdoor patio.

Obelix, a great French spot in River North, is now open for brunch on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. And while they have delicious French staples, the best dishes on the menu are the ones that have unexpected twists, like the foie gras monte cristo or the Alsatian corned beef hash with wagyu and duck-fat spaetzle. Obelix is upscale enough to have white tablecloths, but it's not stuffy. They have a fun hip-hop playlist and friendly servers who are chill enough to crack a few jokes. This is one of Chicago's toughest reservations for dinner, but thankfully you can usually get a same-day table for brunch.

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Second Generation, an Asian-inspired restaurant in Logan Square, is now serving brunch Friday through Sunday dishes. The menu has dishes like their must-order savory misoyaki eggplant on sourdough bread, topped with hoisin and an onsen egg, and their Freeman torta which is one of the best breakfast sandwiches in Chicago. The tables in their narrow space might be a bit tightly packed, but the cozy atmosphere works well for a date night or a catch-up meal with a small group. And yes, they still have the burger.

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We like this River North spot for brunch because it's relaxed, has a lovely fireplace, and the space is so large that you can usually get last-minute reservations for a group. Liva is located inside the Chicago Winery, so there’s unsurprisingly a bottomless mimosa option, as well as a long wine list. Brunch dishes run the gamut from shakshuka to salmon tartine. You can also get a dutch baby because it’s illegal to have a Chicago brunch menu without one.

This Asian-fusion vegan spot in River North is the rare plant-based restaurant where the food is really good and enough of a scene to earn its downtown address. Planta Queen's space is sleek, plays thump-y club music, and the long menu is full of brunch dishes that are objectively tasty—whether you’re vegan or not. There’s a cinnamon roll with chai icing, chow fun noodles, ube mochi waffles, and bottomless mimosas and sangria. Come here for a boozy brunch with friends, the large space has plenty of big booths.

If you’re familiar with Big Star, then you pretty much know what to expect from Big Star Mariscos in West Town: wooden booths, a large patio, and a menu full of margaritas and tacos. As the name suggests, this iteration of Big Star is seafood-focused, but their weekend brunch menu isn't. It mainly has things like breakfast tacos, horchata French toast, and chilaquiles. Overall it's a pleasant, bright space to spend your weekend day drinking over a plate of carnitas hash.

This gluten-free, Southern restaurant in Avondale serves the kind of comforting dishes that make us look forward to–or at least not hate—Chicago’s 30-degree days. Chesa's brunch menu has things like mimosa flights, short rib and grits (a beefy change of pace from shrimp that we didn’t know we needed), and fried chicken and cinnamon beignet waffles that we wouldn’t know were gluten-free if it wasn’t our job to know these things. The space is bright and casual, with a few TVs over the bar and a hip-hop playlist that makes you remember how much you like 2000’s Nelly.

This is the second location of Avec, and is about 56 times larger than the original in the West Loop. And this supersized Avec now serves brunch, with dishes like a giant gingerbread cinnamon roll and shakshuka, plus bottomless mimosas. Other notable differences are that it doesn’t have communal seating, so you won't have to ask everyone to move whenever you need to go to the restroom.

The Loyalist is the casual French restaurant and bar in the basement of Smyth, and they recently started serving brunch. The menu is full of sexy-sounding things (with dishes like foie gras-filled eclairs and gnocchi a la Parisienne with egg) but the main reason to come is for the outstanding burger. The patty is made from a mixture of chuck, short rib, and bacon, giving it a light, smoky flavor and incredible richness. The cheese is gooey and the caramelized onions are plentiful. In other words, this is a good f*cking burger, and The Loyalist is also a good place to hide from the tourists waiting outside Au Cheval.

When we talk about "best new brunches" we're normally thinking of places we linger with a plate of French toast and a pitcher of mimosas. Tribecca's is not one of those spots. Instead, this small sandwich shop in Humboldt Park has a short brunch menu with four B.E.C sandwiches inspired by The Golden Girls. Their flavorful "Sophia" is made with Italian spiced bacon, fontina, and basil aoili. The "Rose"—a B.E.C. with tater tots and lemon maple butter—will obliterate any hangover. They're filling and delicious, and good luck coming here and walking away with less than three sandwiches per person.

Ok, Tanta's brunch isn't new, but their bottomless deal is, so it's going on this guide. They're offering $30 for unlimited mimosas, which includes the booze and a selection of two juices: either orange and chicha morada. The Peruvian brunch dishes include things like arroz mariscos, and choloquiles that come with lomito saltado, huacatay and polleria sauce, cheese, and a fried egg.

This Indian restaurant in Logan Square now serves brunch from 9am-3pm Thursday through Sunday. You can get dishes like uttapam topped with peas and coconut chutney, French toast with gajar halva and almond dukkah, and sandwiches like the Bombay, a “psychedelic grilled cheese” with a spicy, sweet ketchup. They also have a special brunch cocktail menu, with drinks like mimosas, and an Old Fashioned made with ghee-washed bourbon.

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Suggested Reading

The Chicago Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Chicago guide image
The Chicago Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Chicago

We checked out these new restaurants—and loved them.

Second Generation review image

Second Generation is an Asian-inspired restaurant in Logan Square from the Mott St. team.

Obelix review image

Obelix is an upscale French restaurant in River North.

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