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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, February 1

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Brunch Mon Jul 20 2015

Midwestern-Sized Brunch at Hash House a Go Go

kokomo.jpgHash House a Go Go is irreverent of portion size, and proud of it. Bacon, waffles, eggs, and fried chicken all stacked in one dish? Yes. Crispy or mashed potatoes with massive griddled French toast? Please.

Ironically, the original Hash House a Go Go was born in San Diego, city of vegan runners and beautiful surfers. Now in locations across the US, the restaurant's "twisted farm food" concept makes the most sense in Chicago, a city with that wholesome Midwestern appeal.

Specials include the Sage Fried Chicken (sage fried chicken breasts with hardwood smoked bacon waffle tower, hot maple reduction and fried leeks), Sausage gravy pot pie (with scrambled eggs & mashed potatoes), any of their famous one-pound stuffed burgers, and the Kokokmo (griddled meatloaf, griddled smoked mozzarella cheese on milk bread).

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Judy Wu

Brunch Mon Feb 02 2015

Pleasant Brunch at The Winchester

winchester menu.jpgThe Sun Room at The Winchester reminds me of a quaint little writer's attic, small and cordoned off from the tight blocks and noise of West Town. It's minimal, earthy, and feminine, and has, of course--a full-service bar. The open loft space sits above the restaurant, and that's where I dined on an assortment of brunch items such as Anson Mills warm grain salad, house arugula quiche, avocado toast, Brussels sprout salad, and deviled eggs.

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Judy Wu

Brunch Fri Aug 15 2014

The Vibe Hits the Spot at Cafe Creme

A free Monday morning doesn't often come along, so I leapt at Cafe Creme's invitation to breakfast at their recently opened Bucktown location. I suspected this French cafe would have good juju the moment my friend and I took a seat in the bright, naturally lit front room.

The decor was spare but the contrasting color scheme made it eye-catching: white paneling around the counter, white tables, and white bookshelves displaying bottles of beer, wine and cider; bench cushions that were bright chartreuse; and slate-gray walls and matching board with a list 20 deep of different macaron flavors.

Our server announced she made a mean latte, so my friend and I each ordered one along with a plate of macarons. I've had limited experience with macarons; the ones I've eaten have been more like colorful, bland cookies than what a macaron-enthusiast friend calls the "little crispy pillows of joy and sugar that crumble so delicately when you bite into them."

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Christina Brandon

Brunch Fri Jun 27 2014

Brunch Over Easy at Hubbard Inn

rsz_dsc_0728.jpgPeople seem to either love or despise the concept of brunch, but if you're a Humble Hobbit like me, anytime is a good time to eat (especially in a state of hungover stupor). I don't always want or need an organic arugula salad topped with freshly grated pecorino and pasture-laid eggs. I also tend to avoid junky diner hashbrowns with questionable sausages. Hubbard Inn, located in River North, is a good medium--it offers a generous selection of brunch items, prepared with just enough upscale to remind you that you're eating in River North.

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Judy Wu

Brunch Mon Mar 24 2014

Prairie Grass Cafe Hosts Brunch with The Breakfast Queen, Ina Pinkney

If you're among those who miss having breakfast at Ina's in the West Loop, you have a one-day reprieve. Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook will be hosting a special brunch with Ina Pinkney (aka The Breakfast Queen) on Sunday, March 30 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Taste Memories Cover.jpgDiners are invited to come and meet "The Breakfast Queen;" Ina will be signing copies of her new book, Taste Memories.

Prairie Grass Cafe's Chef Sarah Stegner will make some of her favorite Ina recipes, including Heavenly Hots pancakes, that will be added to a featured brunch menu. Reservations are recommended.

Prairie Grass Cafe
601 Skokie Boulevard
Northbrook, IL 60062
1-847-205-4433 for reservations

Harvey Morris

Brunch Thu Feb 13 2014

DMK Burger Introduces the Chilaquiles Brunch Burger

DMK Chilaquiles Burger.jpg
That weird time during brunch where you are in-between breakfast and lunch creates quite the dilemma. You don't want eggs but a sandwich or a burger seems too impractical, perhaps even improper. What is your hung-over, confused yet noticeably hungry self to do?

DMK Burger Bar is giving you an answer with their new Chilaquiles Brunch Burger. Following in the footsteps of their "Biscuits and Gravy" burger, they've thrown a heaping pile of scrambled eggs, jalapeƱo, tortilla chips, tomatillo salsa verde and jack cheese onto their traditional burger. Pair this delight with a Bloody Mary and you're on your way to round two, drinking that is.

The burger will be available from 11:30 am until 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays during their brunch hours.

Photo credit: DMK Burger Bar

Brandy Gonsoulin

Brunch Thu Nov 21 2013

Brunch with Mom @ Kanela

Brunch is, objectively, the best meal of the day. It's the lazy meal meant to be enjoyed late and eaten slowly with a breakfast cocktail because today you don't have to rush anywhere.

I don't get to enjoy my favorite meal too often because I have one of those nine-to-five office jobs, which means I rush out the door with a slice of toast in my coat pocket. I'm actually a little baffled by restaurants that serve exclusively breakfast/lunch/brunch fare during the work week because aren't most of us tucked away most of the day? Turns out, a few retired people, a couple executive-types, and a smattering of others (including this lucky soul who took the day off because her mother was in town from Minnesota) take advantage of the laid back vibe at a weekday brunch spot.

My mom and I went to Kanela in Old Town (1552 N. Wells St), where we cozied up from the chilly day in one of their milk chocolate-colored booths. I quickly encountered my Big Brunch Dilemma: sweet or savory?

rsz_kanela_frenchtoast.jpgI'm always drawn to the sweet side (stuffed French toast, Kanela chip pancakes, strawberry waffle!), but I know I get overwhelmed by sugar halfway through and can't finish. I sometimes manage to talk myself into eggs but savorier plates just don't have the magnetic pull for me that French toast and waffles do.

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Christina Brandon

Brunch Mon Oct 14 2013

Oktoberfest brunch at Public House

rsz_dsc_2593.jpgWatching my 4%-bodyfat friends run 26.2 miles for leukemia-ridden children always leaves me with a profound sense of ineptitude. Instead of facing the dreaded shin splints (and potential cardiac arrest), I traded in my training sneakers for many nights of raw pasta and Mythbuster reruns. To alleviate this woeful guilt on Marathon day, I decided only a boozy brunch could placate my conscience.

My positive dining experience at the Public House (PH) a few weeks back led me to return, and I was particularly excited about their special Oktoberfest menu, as I'd never really consumed much German food (and as Americans only celebrate foreign holidays involving the profligate use of alcohol). Although Oktoberfest is generally associated with beer and sausage, other commonly -consumed specialties include schnitzel, sauerkraut, and all things potato.

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Judy Wu

Restaurant Wed Jul 10 2013

Review: Endgrain is More than Just Great Donuts

WP_000137.jpgI like restaurants where it's OK to eat solo. I like settling into a bar stool, I like anchoring my book to the countertop so I can read hands-free, I like coffee served in a vessel that straddles the subtle line between "cup" and "bowl." I like poring over a menu and imagining every item: its flavors, its plating, how it would look being swept from the open kitchen to the wooden mosaic of a tabletop. I like the anticipation -- especially when you know it's gonna be good -- fueled by bottomless refills of aforementioned coffee. This is the brunch/lunch experience at Endgrain, and it's delightful.

This new Roscoe Village spot, opened and operated by sibling duo Enoch and Caleb Simpson, has been on the receiving end of flurries of press--most of which heralds Enoch's signature donuts as the newest heroes of Chicago's donut scene. To me, this was exciting, but ultimately misleading: Endgrain features some standout donuts, sure; but don't let the full brunch menu stand by in supporting role. Chef Enoch is also a master of biscuit sandwiches, weaving creativity through the stronghold of tradition, as exemplified in his marbled rye biscuit topped with caraway seeds and piled high with smoked trout.

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Danielle Snow

Brunch Wed Oct 03 2012

A Case for Recategorization: Small Bar Does Brunch

Being invited to sample brunch at one of Chicago's best beer bars isn't an entirely enticing endeavor. The man behind Small Bar on Division, Phil McFarland, beyond a shadow of a doubt knows his beers. They make collaboration brews; they cellar; they find obscure kegs and have one of the most dynamic beer lists in the city, but brunch? I know everyone's doing it and it's a great way to repurpose some of the ingredients left over from the night before, but am I the only one in Chicago who isn't wild about the meal? Most of the time it's just not that great.

However, if those brunch-loving folks know what's good for them they'll be headed to Small Bar soon. And in droves. Last January, Justin White (previously sous chef at The Bristol and Custom House) was hired to do a complete overhaul of the menu, taking what was a frozen-to-fryer sort of enterprise to a scratch-based, locally-focused, integrity-driven menu. And overhaul he has.

Continue reading this entry »

Joanna Kanakis / Comments (1)

Brunch Mon Feb 20 2012

Beer for Breakfast

More specifically beer in pancake batter. But not just any beer, and not just plain pancake batter. Bobbi over at Fresh and Foodie created a delicious-looking recipe that utilizes Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout to be the winning flavor behind her Bourbon County Stout Pancakes with Cardamom-Spiced Maple Syrup. I think the thing I like best about this recipe is that there is just a pinch more work with these pancakes compared to plain-jane pancakes, but you'll get significantly more flavor. So skip the brunch-line next weekend and eat fancy pancakes in your pajamas.

Photo copyright Bobbi of

Cinnamon Cooper

Openings Wed Jan 25 2012

Treat Restaurant is Back! (Sort of.)

Fans of dirty punk rock may have realized that Pancho's isn't quite the same place anymore -- the appearance of fancy craft brews being your first clue. Turns out Brian Peterson of MP Shows went in on the venue with Tamiz Haiderali, formerly of Treat Restaurant. The venue is being renamed Township, and it's not-so-silently opening this weekend for a pop up brunch.

Old favorites will be served, as well as some new dishes; Dark Matter coffee will be available, and thanks to the attached bar you can spike it with the booze of your choice. The only catch? You need to make reservations, and for now the joint is cash only. If you've missed the Daal, Poori and Eggs as much as I have, check it out this Saturday or Sunday, 9am-2pm.

Township, 2200 N. California
Call 773-384-1865 or email for reservations.

Jen Bacher

Brunch Sat Jan 21 2012

Lassi Bar Brunch

372858_322736411083035_405715116_n.jpgLooking for an excuse to dig your car out of the snow? I didn't think so. But you'll probably want to reconsider. Chicago's first ever BYOB Lassi bar & breakfast wraps brunch will take place tomorrow at Bombay Wraps. Hosted by Chicago native and MasterChef contestant Suzy Singh, this brunch will be the first in a monthly occurring event. Chef Singh will be preparing her twist on fresh made Lassi's with mango, coconut and hints of both the salty and the sweet. Don't forget to save room for a breakfast wrap -- egg burji with spinach, steak and potatoes, or paneer burji -- which can be perfectly paired with a piping hot chai. The Lassi bar and breakfast wraps brunch special will be available from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Bombay Wraps is located at 122 N Wells St. (312) 739-9727

Katie Johnson

Brunch Sun Dec 11 2011

Dear Diary: My Afternoon at Jam

Jam_gb.jpgI went to Jam for the first time at its new Logan Square location, and it was a fabulous event.

After sitting and talking to the owner, Jerry Suqi, my attention was brought to the awesome-ness of the decor. My eyes were drawn to the walls. Chicago-based design duo INDO stenciled the walls, which were modeled after the ceiling.

The food, overseen by ex-Charlie Trotter's and North Pond chef Jeffrey Mauro, used to be just brunch, but Jam has now expanded its offerings to include blue-plate and nightly dinner specials. Each meal at Jam is treated with the highest level of veneration and culinary craftsmanship, all while maintaining an accessible approach and a commitment to affordability. I could truly taste the time spent on each dish.

Continue reading this entry »

Ryan Frieson

Brunch Thu Jun 16 2011

Father's Day pop-up at Belly Shack

My own dear father is a bit of a gourmand and while he does enjoy the occasional burger on the grill, I'm feeling guilty about making the man grill on his day. I mean, why should that be our default anyway?

Luckily, Chef Kim of Belly Shack and Urban Belly fame has created a delightful alternative for this Sunday's Father's Day meal. Belly Shack will host a pop-up brunch of sorts but don't you dare start thinking along the lines of the classic Mother's Day menu. Instead, Kim created a spread based on what his own father would like. Think fried chicken with cornbread and chorizo gravy, slow-roasted pork loin with tortilla casserole and salsa verde, breakfast burrito with crispy egg noodles and marinated tofu, bacon with maple syrup and and pho, and lemongrass pork sausage patties. Take your old man out for a meal that'll stick to his ribs and keep his arm hairs from getting singed.

Seating is first come, first served from 10 am to 2 pm. Prices for entrees range from $8 to $12 and all sides are $5. [via]

Belly Shack
1912 North Western Avenue
(773) 252-1414

Joanna Kanakis

Brunch Mon May 16 2011

Longman & Eagle Peacock Breakfast Auction

imgres.jpegWhat did you have for breakfast? Hen eggs? Quail eggs, perhaps? Longman & Eagle and Swan Creek Farms are giving two lucky diners the chance to enjoy a very special brunch; a peacock egg omelette made with porcini mushrooms, ground ramp greens, summer truffle, confited duck leg, Rupert raw cows milk cheese, and clover. This main course will be paired with Werp farm green salad, peacock egg-battered cardamom and vanilla French toast, and a cocktail made with peacock egg whites.

The auction opens May 21st is now open, and the brunch will take place on June 4th. Bidding begins at $250 for two people. All proceeds will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Gemma Petrie / Comments (2)

Openings Tue Mar 15 2011

Bite Cafe to Reopen March 21st

Located next to the Empty Bottle, you may have noticed Bite Cafe has been closed for remodeling since January. Well, if you can wait just another week, it's set to reopen this coming Monday, March 21st.

In addition to the internal sprucing up, the remodel will also bring with it a more "classic American diner"-style menu. We're just hoping owner Bruce Finkelman's success at Longman & Eagle doesn't cause a price-jump at Bite; their brunch, lunch, and dinner options have always been affordable in our book.

Jen Bacher / Comments (1)

Brunch Thu Aug 05 2010

Mimosas at Moles

During brunch time at Chef Geno Bahena's restaurant Los Moles (3140 N Lincoln Ave.), you can soak up a hangover and start a new one with the restaurant's $10 bottomless mimosas, every Sunday starting August 8. Also on the menu: huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, and machacado con huevo (essentially, eggs mixed with beef jerky).

None of Bahena's famous mole on the brunch menu, though--if you want that, you have to come back for dinner.

Ruthie Kott

Brunch Tue May 04 2010

Blue Bayou with Mommie Dearest

The Music Box Theatre and Blue Bayou are teaming up for a Mother's Day celebration that bring film and food together. The Music Box is screening the cult classic Mommie Dearest (1981) but not without a little wining and dining beforehand. Blue Bayou, directly across the street from the Music Box, will be hosting a discounted brunch 9am to 1pm. Mother-child duos will receive 15% off their order when they mention they are attending Mommie Dearest. If you haven't made any Mother's Day plans yet and love cult film/Joan Crawford, this might be the right place to go on Sunday. Just make sure you keep your mom knows to reenact Mommie Dearest at the theater, not at the restaurant. The show and screening start at the Music Box Theatre (3733 North Southport Avenue) at 1:30pm.Tickets for the screening are $12 and can be purchased in advance through Brown Paper Tickets. Reservations for brunch at Blue Bayou can be made by calling (773) 871-3300.

Amy Dittmeier

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
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