CHIGuide

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 31 great places to know about.

THE SPOTS

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.

Opens at 9am

Ravenswood and North Center aren’t suffering from a shortage of breakfast spots, but we’re really glad Lizzy J’s (located right on the border) recently arrived on the scene. This casual breakfast spot has a short, yet delicious soul food menu. You’ll find dishes like chicken and a sweet potato waffle (your choice of light or dark meat), breakfast bowls made with creamy grits, and peaches and cream french toast. Just know this place only has 10 tables, so it’s a good idea to check the waitlist online before heading over.


Opens at 7am

Speaking of hangover food, let us introduce you to Little Goat in the West Loop. This is the diner (complete with laminated menus and spinny stools) from the Girl & the Goat team. And like most of their restaurants, the best stuff is pretty heavy. Like the Fat Elvis waffles: two waffles with peanut butter butter (yes, we meant to type “butter” twice), bananas, and maple syrup with bacon in it. Or the french toast, which comes with fried chicken and eggs. In other words, don’t plan on being very productive after breakfast here.


Opens at 8am

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.


Opens at 6am

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.


Opens at 6am

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.


Temporarily Closed

Opens at 8am

This is a casual breakfast spot in Greater Grand Crossing specializing in Southern and soul food. You can get delicious dishes like fried chicken with pancakes or waffles, fluffy omelets with grits, and things that you could make yourself (like a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on toast), but won’t involve cleaning bacon splatter off your stove. 5 Loaves is small and can get crowded, but the friendly service and great food will make the wait worth it.


Opens at 8am

Pearl’s Place in Bronzeville also 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 $12.99), and enjoying as much of it as possible is a justifiable reason for being late to work.


Opens at 8am

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.


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.


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).


Opens at 9am

This is a charming breakfast spot in Lakeview, 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.


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.


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.


photo credit: Christina Slaton

Lou Mitchell's imageoverride image
7.4

Lou Mitchell's

$$$$312-939-3111
Hours:MON
5:30AM-3PM

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 eat at the bar, and its location between the Loop and Greektown makes it ideal for businesspeople, too.


Opens at 8am

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.


Opens at 9am

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?


Opens at 7am

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.


Opens at 7am

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”.


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.


Opens at 7am

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.


Opens at 8am

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.


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 fried matzah.


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