The Best Restaurants For A Weekday Breakfast In Chicago
Our guide to the best places for an early-morning meal in Chicago.
Chicago has no shortage of weekend brunch spots, but your options are more limited during the week. So whether you’re faking a sick day, catching up with a friend who’s in town, holding an early business meeting, or competing against your entire extended family to see who can eat pancakes for the longest number of consecutive days, here are 19 great places to know about.
At night, this cozy, narrow restaurant in Ukrainian Village serves an incredible tasting menu dinner. But in the morning Kasama has some of the best pastries and Filipino breakfast dishes in Chicago, with fantastic garlic rice plates with longanisa and tocino as well as a flaky ham and cheese danish. Perhaps the only downside is that since Kasama is first-come-first-served seating, there is always a wait—so either come on a day off or start brainstorming an elaborate story about how you were late for work because of a scurry of squirrels (yes, a group of squirrels is a called a scurry).
Southport Grocery and Cafe
Our favorite sit-down breakfast spot is open seven days a week. Now, we realize that most people can’t have a full-blown sit-down breakfast in Lakeview during the week, but if you can make it work, you should. Don’t leave without trying the bread pudding pancakes.
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Lula has been doing “farm to table” in Logan Square since before that was a thing, and it pretty much feels like the restaurant incarnation of a farmers’ market. This means the menu changes often, so if you have a dish you love, don’t get too attached. There are, however, some reliable staples: a smoked trout omelette, a breakfast burrito, and a tofu and vegetable scramble. It’s all good—this place is a neighborhood classic for a reason.
Dove’s is run by the same people who own The Publican, and the morning menu here has the quality you’d expect from them. The space looks like an old-school diner, and it’s a good spot to visit by yourself—expect to eat at the counter while sitting on a spinny stool. You can get burnt ends hash with brisket, poblanos, and Texas toast, or other Tex-Mex dishes like a pork pozole. Or just some oatmeal, if that’s your thing.
photo credit: Kim Kovacik
This bakery and cafe in Avondale is busy all morning long with people picking up pastries, coffee, and sandwiches. Loaf Lounge's sausage breakfast sandwich is one of the best we’ve had, with a garlicky patty, a fried egg, mayo, cheese, and a housemade English muffin that will remind you of the pillow you wish you didn’t have to leave this morning. We also like their flaky croissant sandwich with a sweet and savory mix of spicy capicola and fig mostarda. And make sure to grab some baked goods too—like a cinnamon roll or their fantastic chocolate cake which is absolutely valid to eat for breakfast.
There are other things on the menu at Tiztal in Uptown, but you’re really there to eat their fantastic chilaquiles, made with fresh chips, chihuahua cheese, and a delicious green salsa. This place is casual, small, and perfect for a low-key breakfast before work (or going back to bed).
photo credit: Kim Kovacik
The decision to have breakfast at Dell Rooster in West Town is always a good one. This isn’t just because this all-day Latin American restaurant has great food, but because it works for all sorts of situations. The space is decorated in cute chicken murals and plays salsa music at a volume that’s still a vibe but doesn’t force you to scream across the table. The food is affordable (most dishes hover between $10-$15) and everything is a hit. The oxtail sitting on fried sweet plantains is an example of a share plate that shouldn’t be shared, the chilaquiles are always crispy, and the dulce de leche pancakes are delightfully sweet.
photo credit: Susie Lacocque
An Andersonville favorite. This cozy neighborhood spot has everything from bacon-wrapped baked eggs with polenta to a roasted asparagus and prosciutto benedict. Open for breakfast every day but Monday, M. Henry is always a strong early-morning decision.
Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club
If you’re familiar with M. Henry in Andersonville, you’ll recognize much of the food at Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club in North Park, since the chef here started at M. Henry. This place’s food (e.g. bread pudding French toast and crab cake benedict) is on the same level, but the good news is that here, there isn’t quite as long of a wait. It’s a cutely decorated spot, with counter seating that makes it perfect for dining solo - and they recently moved down the street from their original location, so now there’s a back patio for the summer, too.
Typica Diner Cafe
This Tri-Taylor restaurant looks like a typical diner, but with a few cute touches like a wall of decorative plants arranged in the shape of a coffee bean. Though Typica Diner Cafe’s menu does have classics like blueberry pancakes and French toast, the Venezuelan food is the main reason to come here. The best dishes are a comforting bowl of pisca andina, fluffy sweet plantain waffles topped with cheese and an egg, and an airy arepa benedict. It’s topped with panela cheese and chorizo, and comes with a smoky chipotle mayo. Plus, Typica’s entire menu is available all day, so you can have “breakfast” at 8pm.
photo credit: Christina Slaton
Uncle Mike's Place
Appropriately named, eating at Uncle Mike’s Place in Ukrainian Village feels like having a meal at a relative’s house, if that person made some of the best Filipino breakfast platters in the city. They come with a cup of soothing lugaw, garlic rice, eggs, dipping vinegar, and your choice of protein, like fatty longanisa, spam, and pork tocino. But their giant bangus is the standout: a fried milkfish that’s perfectly salty, slightly tart, and crispy—it’ll make you wish your neighborhood IHOP served fish for breakfast, too. To round off your meal, you also get a small side of champorado, a chocolate rice porridge.
Beatrix is an excellent spot for a power business meeting on your way to work. All of the River North, Fulton Market, and Streeterville locations are comfortable spaces with lighter options like oatmeal, plus more substantial breakfast dishes like shakshuka and pancakes. You can also stop at the coffee and pastry counter by yourself for something to go.
This large counter-service New Orleans-inspired spot in Hyde Park is a great choice for breakfast all day. Roux is large, bright, and perfect for a day-off breakfast filled with fluffy biscuits and gravy, or a quick meal with coffee and beignets. There’s a pastry case up front full of incredible baked goods, like a gigantic cinnamon roll where each bite somehow tastes like the gooey center—which everyone knows is the best part.
For a neighborhood with so many restaurants, the West Loop’s weekday breakfast options are surprisingly limited. But when we need a somewhat upscale (but still relaxed) spot, we like going to Cira in the Hoxton. Focus on the menu’s Mediterranean-focused stuff like the Turkish breakfast, goat cheese brioche, or the shakshuka. The large space has plenty of big comfortable booths and is great for a client breakfast, or that one-last meal before your parents (finally) fly back home.
This cash-only breakfast spot is an Andersonville staple, and highlights the neighborhood's Swedish history. The quaint wooden space has a couple pieces of Viking artwork, blue and yellow chairs, and a menu with specialties like airy Swedish pancakes topped with lingonberry jam, smoky falukorv sausage, and meatballs with gravy. If you can’t decide what to get, order a combination plate. Not only is it the best way to try a bit of everything, but it also gives you the opportunity to publicly declare you want a “Swedish Tease”.
It’s entirely possible to eat here and pretend you’re actually at a French cafe in Sweden. If time allows, sit for a Belgian waffle or Oslo omelette with smoked salmon—but know that it’s also worth grabbing a danish or cinnamon roll on the go.
Eleven City Diner
South Loop’s Eleven City Diner is a deli/restaurant hybrid that really leans into the 1950s diner vibe. It has an oldies playlist, neon signs, and a long counter with diner-style glass cake stands. There’s even a counter up front with large jars of old-timey penny candy for sale. Come for the all-day breakfast dishes like omelets and challah french toast, pastrami and corned beef sandwiches, assuming you can find street parking for your Delorean.
Pearl’s Place in Bronzeville focuses on Southern food, serving breakfast all day in a space that looks like a mid-range hotel’s nondescript dining room. There’s a regular menu with things like omelets and pancakes, but the best way to eat here is by going full-on breakfast buffet, which is available every day. And that’s where you’ll also find pancakes, grits, breakfast meats, an omelet bar, and chicken wings—basically anything you can think of, and some stuff you might not, like salmon croquettes. It’s affordable (the buffet is $18.49), and enjoying as much of it as possible is a justifiable reason for being late to work.
During dinner, this Pilsen spot focuses on grilled meat, but it does a fantastic all-day Mexican breakfast, too. Order the chilaquiles (we like adding the well-seasoned and perfectly cooked carne asada) or the chicharrones with scrambled eggs, both of which come with delicious rice and beans. The space looks like a hybrid of a rustic barn and an old church, with vaulted ceilings and saddles on the wall. And if your weekdays generally involve eight hours of sitting in a cubicle, the atmosphere here will be a nice change of pace.
If you didn’t already know about it, you may have heard of Valois because of President Obama - it’s famous for being one of his favorite spots in Hyde Park. There’s even a sign letting you know what he likes to order. But what really makes this place unique is the fact that it’s an old-school cafeteria, complete with plastic trays and people who will yell at you if you move too slowly through the line. And breakfast—with things like eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and pancakes - is our favorite thing to eat here. Just remember that it’s cash only.