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23 Great Chicago Spots For A Weekday Breakfast

PHOTO: Sandy Noto

Breakfast is important, and you’re important, so you should make sure it counts. We realize your first meal of the day might typically just be two cups of coffee at your desk, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.

There are plenty of places to get trendy brunch on the weekends, but options are more limited during the week. Whether you’re faking a sick day, catching up with a friend who’s in town briefly, or holding an early business meeting, here are 23 great places we rely on for a morning meal.

the spots

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. 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 breakfast food that’s not boring. You can get scrambled eggs with foie gras, a three-inch-thick piece of French toast with foie gras torchon, and a muesli with caramelized bananas (and no foie gras). As long as your 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.

7.9
MAP

Opens at 9am

This Logan Square gastropub is ideal for having a hungover Sunday-style brunch in the middle of the week. Their breakfast menu is full of heavy dishes like fried chicken and waffles, so don’t come here if you need to have a productive day at work. The ideal move is to eat, and then take a long nap.

7.5
MAP

Opens at 9am

Doves is run by the same people who own the Publican, and the morning menu here has the quality you’d expect from them. It looks like an old-school diner, and it’s a good place to come by yourself - expect to eat at the counter while sitting on a spinny stool. The food here is mainly Tex-Mex, so you can get burnt ends hash with brisket, poblanos, and Texas toast, or a pork pozole. Or just some oatmeal, if that’s your jam.

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 here 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 l 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 this place pretty much feels like the restaurant incarnation of a farmers market. This means their 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.

7.0
MAP

Opens at 6:30am

The Breakfast Club feels like good old fashioned America. It’s very Midwestern, like you’re sitting in someone’s living room far outside the city behind a farm. Stick to the basics and check it out any day of the week.

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 business people, 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 you don’t know. 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. It’s more than just a pretty face, though, because 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.

Miss Rickys

203 N Wabash Ave
MAP

Opens at 7am

Miss Ricky’s is a modern diner inside the Virgin Hotel, which means it comes complete with the usual Virgin design, hospitality, and flair. It all feels oddly British, is what we’re saying. But if you’re looking to step out of the office for a casual sit-down meeting with your team or clients in the Loop, Miss Ricky’s is a good idea.

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’re a student, stay-at-home-parent, unemployed individual, or your own boss, make sure to get the bread pudding pancakes.

8.4
MAP

Opens at 7am

Bang Bang is all about the biscuit sandwiches for breakfast, and if it’s a nice day, there’s no better place to sit than on their backyard picnic benches. Consider a slice of pie at 7am, too. You will not regret it.

M. Henry

5707 N Clark St
MAP

Opens at 7am

M. Henry is an Andersonville favorite for anyone who finds themselves further north. 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 move early in the morning.

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. It’s small, comfortable, and the mugs are mismatched, just like the ones you keep stealing from other people. It’s an order-at-the-counter-then-grab-a-table situation, which is great because the food comes fast and the prices are cheap.

Tre Kronor

3258 W Foster Ave
MAP

Opens at 7am

Tre Kronor is like sitting at a French cafe in Sweden. Luckily, it comes with Swedish pleasantries, not French. If time allows, sit for a Belgian waffle or Oslo omelette with smoked salmon, but 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 6am

Beatrix is an excellent spot for a power business meeting on your way into work. Both the River North and Streeterville locations are comfortable spaces with healthy items like oatmeal and porridge, plus more substantial breakfast goods 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 slize 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 (Closed Monday)

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 would be 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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