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23 Great Chicago Spots For A Weekday Breakfast

PHOTO: Sandy Not

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 23 great places to know about. When this guide helps you destroy that pancake-eating contest, feel free to share your winnings with us.

the spots

Opens at 7am

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.

Jam

Logan Square
3057 W Logan Blvd

Opens at 7am, closed Wednesday

Jam in Logan Square feels more like a place you’d have a tech company brainstorm than a breakfast restaurant, thanks to the clear plastic chairs, brick walls, and cement tabletops. So bring your best ideas for what to name the next hot cryptocurrency, and mull them over while you enjoy some upscale, prettily plated food. The preparations change, but there are a few staples on the menu, including a salmon benedict on potato leek cakes and a thick French toast served with pink peppercorns. Know that the price point is a little high, so if you can actually have that “ideas meeting” here and expense it, you should.

Over Easy Cafe

Ravenswood
4943 N Damen Ave

Opens at 7am, closed Monday

This is a small, often crowded breakfast spot in Ravenswood. But the friendly staff and free coffee they give you in line make up for the wait. It also helps that the breakfast food here is delicious across the board - from the “sassy eggs” (chorizo and potato hash with scrambled eggs and ancho chile ketchup) to sweeter options like blueberry crunch pancakes (with cinnamon butter and housemade granola). They keep it interesting with weekly specials, too.

Tiztal Cafe

Uptown
4631 N Clark St

Opens at 8am

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).

Cafe Marie-Jeanne

Humboldt Park
1001 N California Ave
8.1
MAP

Opens at 7am

There is no bad time of day to eat at Cafe Marie Jeanne, including breakfast time. This all-day French cafe is laid-back, and feels like a cross between a diner and a bistro. They have your morning food needs covered with pastries, “toasts” (yes, avocado - but also more adventurous options like sautéed calf brains), and perfectly executed omelettes. We love coming here by ourselves and getting some work done, but it’s also perfect for catching up with a friend.

Mortar and Pestle

Lakeview
3108 N Broadway St
7.5
MAP

Opens at 8am

This is a charming breakfast spot in Lakeview that’s open every day, and a good option if you want non-boring breakfast food. You can get scrambled eggs with foie gras, a three-inch-thick piece of French toast with a foie gras torchon, or muesli with caramelized bananas (and no foie gras). As long as you’re not foie-averse, this is a neighborhood spot that’s worth traveling across town for.

Photo: Christian Slaton

Marmalade

Ravenswood
1969 W Montrose Ave

Opens at 7:30am

Come here if your weekday breakfast plans include a large group and maybe some strollers. Many of the dishes here have a Latin twist, and almost everything is made in-house, including the pastries in the case up front and the brioche for the French toasts. The menu also has plenty of gluten-free and vegan options. It’s BYOB, so plan ahead if you’re with screaming children and need something to take the edge off.

Photo: Sandy Noto
7.5
MAP

Opens at 9am

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.

Bongo Room

South Loop
1152 S Wabash Ave
7.4
MAP

Opens at 8am

You come to Bongo Room for one reason: sweet breakfast options that sound like they were made up by an 8-year-old. Stuff like white chocolate and caramel pretzel pancakes, French toast towers made with chocolate bread, and red velvet hotcakes. This place is slammed on the weekends, so come during the week and plan for a late afternoon sugar crash.

7.1
MAP

Opens at 7am

This Ukrainian Village restaurant has the same type of sugary stuff as Bongo Room, so be prepared to eat Snickers-stuffed French toast or Reese’s-flavored pancakes. But Whisk also does good savory breakfast options, so it’s a better choice if you’re eating with someone (or you are someone) who doesn’t like sweets.

Lula Cafe

Logan Square
2537 N Kedzie Ave
8.1
MAP

Opens at 9am

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.

Lou Mitchell's

Greektown / Loop
565 W. Jackson Blvd.
7.4
MAP

Opens at 5:30am

This is a classic diner and old Route 66 staple that’s been serving breakfast and lunch for over 90 years. Lou Mitchell’s is one of our favorite spots to post up at the bar, and its location between the Loop and Greektown makes it ideal for businesspeople, too.

Cellar Door Provisions

3025 W. Diversey Ave.
MAP

Opens at 8am (Closed Monday & Tuesday)

If you’re looking for a relatively easy situation with excellent homemade pastries and breads, pop in here Wednesday through Friday during the week. There’s a giant communal table, so it’s basically like sitting in someone’s kitchen with a bunch of strangers. If you’re cool with that, you’ll think Cellar Door is cool, too.

The Allis

West Loop
113-125 N Green St
7.8
MAP

Opens at 7am

The Allis is a design-y but casual place to take pictures of your food (and also eat it) in the West Loop. It’s located on the ground floor of Soho House, but open to the public. In addition to being one of the most comfortable places to hang, The Allis has good food. Keep things light with a soft-boiled egg and toast, or go all out with an egg, porchetta, and sausage breakfast sandwich.

8.5
MAP

Opens at 7am

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.

8.4
MAP

Opens at 7am

If it’s a nice day, you want to be on one of the backyard picnic benches at the Logan Square location of Bang Bang, eating a biscuit breakfast sandwich. Consider a slice of pie at 7am, too. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, haven’t you heard?

M. Henry

5707 N Clark St
MAP

Opens at 7am (Closed Monday)

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 move.

7.8
MAP

Opens at 8am (Closed Tuesday)

If you don’t actually like going out for breakfast, then good news, because Hash is like eating in your own living room (right down to the mismatched mugs). It’s a small and comfortable order-at-the-counter situation, which is great because the food comes fast and the prices are cheap.

Tre Kronor

3258 W Foster Ave
MAP

Opens at 7am, 9am on Mondays

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.

Beatrix

River North
519 N Clark St
7.7
MAP

Opens at 7am

Beatrix is an excellent spot for a power business meeting on your way to work. Both the River North and Streeterville locations are comfortable spaces with healthy items 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.

Reno

2607 N. Milwaukee Ave.
MAP

Opens at 8am

Reno is a pizza joint, coffee place, and bakery all rolled into one. Although we’re sure you’d eat a fresh slice of pizza early in the morning, the pizza oven is used for wood-fired bagels early in the day. Everything from their breakfast sandwiches to pastries to granola and yogurt is good on the go, or you can sit and hang if you’d like.

8.2
MAP

Opens at 7:30am

This is the type of bakery that makes everything from scratch, including toast and jam, biscuit sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and other baked goods. If you’re near the Western Brown Line L stop early in the morning, not stopping at Baker Miller is a mistake.

8.0
MAP

Opens at 7am

Say what you want about Manny’s, but the old-reliable deli is open all week starting at 7am. Stop in like so many others have been doing for years, but try not to sell any Senate seats, as tempting as it might be. Ten to 15 bucks tops will get you anything you could want and more, from eggs, pancakes, and cereal to Jewish favorites like fried matzah.

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