Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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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Saturday, April 20

Gapers Block

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Andrew / July 29, 2004 2:56 PM

I'm diggin' on M. Henry. Mmm.

anne / July 29, 2004 2:58 PM

My tried and true brunch places aren't far from the mainstream: Nookies (one, too, or tree) and Ann Sather's, with an occasional foray into Svea which has much shorter lines and excellent Swedish pancakes. I used to serve brunch in a Wicker Park restaurant, but the place isn't open any more. Now, I'm very happy to just eat brunch, instead of slinging it.

jima / July 29, 2004 3:02 PM

Victory's Banner.

That is all.

Eamon / July 29, 2004 3:03 PM

Ann Sather's has great cinnamon rolls, but otherwise, it's just too pricy for the quality of food. Whenever we have guests overnight, we go to Svea's. The pancakes are Just. Darn. Good. Plus, the lutefisk song!

jenny / July 29, 2004 3:04 PM

If I told you I'd have to kill you.

Joanne and Sons, Pauline's, Fizz.


libby / July 29, 2004 3:09 PM

i went to victory's banner a couple of weeks ago and was disappointed because the food was cold when i received it. i mean, hooray for unmeat sausage but still...i was real sad as i'd heard such nice things about that establishment.

i like kitsch'n. i can bring my dog or my parents and everyone leaves happy.

if i dig deep, i really like my house the best. no lines, al fresco seating, no shoes - no problem.

eliina / July 29, 2004 3:09 PM

the heartland cafe in roger's park hands down.

Kris / July 29, 2004 3:10 PM

Café 28. But keep it on the DL.

vit / July 29, 2004 3:13 PM

I like Bongo Room, the wait though is awful. Orange on Clark is pretty good too. Recently I discovered Mod has a decent brunch as well (when I was too impatient to wait at Bongo). However, sometimes I just want cheap diner food.

Benjy / July 29, 2004 3:14 PM

My current favorites are Bongo Room and Hillary's Urban Eatery.

katie / July 29, 2004 3:16 PM

i second m. henry!

riques on sheridan just north of argyle is so delish and i've never had a problem getting a seat.

Katt / July 29, 2004 3:29 PM

Victory's Banner and Orange are both great.

I almost always get pancakes, waffles or french toast when I go to brunch (I don't like eggs or pork, so my options are limited).

The baked pancake at Clarke's is great, and Cafe Selmarie makes wonderful french toast with croissants, which makes me wonder about the possibility of other baked goods being french-toasted.

I've heard good things about Cafe Lula (except that it's usually busy), but I've never been.

j3s / July 29, 2004 3:48 PM

For traditional brunch, I like Lula, mainly because it's around the corner and so much of it is organic and from local farmers markets. Also, the make a great double espresso.

However, I really like dim sum for a Sunday brunch. The Phoenix is the most obvious choice for cart service, but I prefer the less hectic Dumpling House downstairs. Shui Wah is also good and a little more mellow.

pat / July 29, 2004 3:58 PM

Tre Kronor on Foster for the flakiest tastiest pastries ever. They have great sweedish breakfast without the bad coffee at Ann Sathers (it should be a crime to have great cinnamon buns and awful coffee). Go before 9 though... that place fills up like you wouldn't believe.

keenan / July 29, 2004 4:05 PM

definitely tre kroner or flying saucer!

paul / July 29, 2004 4:12 PM

Katt, your wondering about other baked goods being french toasted will end when you discover the bannana bread french toast at Dixie Kitchen (in Hyde Park and Evanston). That stuff is great. Besides that they have great biscuits 'n gravy, the best country fried steak north of Howard, and a massive egg masterpiece they call a 'jambalaya omlette'.

I honestly can't tell you what the crowds are like around brunchtime (I go for weekday breakfast when you'll actually be served like a human being) but I do know they have a liquor license if a mimosa or bloody mary is a brunch requirement.

miss ellen / July 29, 2004 4:13 PM

lula is great, but again, it's got proximity, which helps on some sundays.

i also enjoy jane's on cortland, MOD on damen, flying saucer on california, and for some great biscuits & gravy in a completely non-brunchy fashion, i head to the four moon tavern, serving up brunch & bloody mary's every weekend.

Shylo / July 29, 2004 4:17 PM

Brunch, brunch. Hrm. I vote for Square Kitchen or Cafe Selmarie in Lincoln Square. Or Lula.

Jason Fried / July 29, 2004 4:20 PM

Glory on Damen. A true gem.

Naz / July 29, 2004 4:51 PM

Ah, the great brunch thread. Here we go:
Toast (hands down best French Toast period).
John's Place -- never too long of a wait if at all, and always solid food.
Lula - I wish I lived closer.
Flo - brunch with a spanish twist.
Pick Me Up - Tofu Scrmable baby.
Victory's Banner - I've actually never had brunch there, well at least not brunchy food but it is damn good.
Bite - if all else fails, head to the Empty Bottle for good eats.

I love this thread, I know it loves me too.

Lisa / July 29, 2004 4:56 PM

Mmmmmm. Brunch. Deleece was the first place that sprang to mind, with Orange and Flo coming in second and third. Having said, that, I often seem to end up at the Lincoln eating a scrambled Merrimac with plain potatoes...

Trance / July 29, 2004 5:02 PM

Anywhere I can get pecan pancakes. Mmmmm... :) I'm a sucker for that House of Pancakes that's up there by the Double Door, even though they don't allow smoking. Best coffee in the world, and even though I don't eat eggs I'm told the omelettes are really something else.

Ben / July 29, 2004 5:04 PM

Big fan of Lula. You can get standard fare like pancakes and soy-sage or a breakfast burrito for cheap. Or splurge on great dishes like crab cakes or potato-turnip gratin with poached duck eggs. Plus the bar kicks out nice drinks like a blackberry billini or bloody mary if you're in the mood.

Tres Kronor is great. You can get better danish but you have to fly to Denmark to do so. And smoked salmon makes a better benedict than ham anyday.

I also like Victory's Banner, especially if I've got a vegan friend along. The eggless wonder is definitely wonderful in that case.

Kopi was always fun too but I haven't been there in ages.

Cinnamon / July 29, 2004 5:22 PM

My favorite used to be this place called Mike's Broadway Cafe at Broadway and Waveland. It closed down, but I still miss getting a modified Hobo Skillet.

A plate with a pile of crispy hashbrowns with 4 sausage links on top, then 2 slices of melted American cheese, and then 2 eggs over easy on top with a side of hollandaise sauce. Oh boy! This is the perfect hangover cure and I would get it all the time. Shortly before they closed the servers actually started asking me if I wanted the sauce on top or on the side. Sigh!

Now I'm a big fan of M. Henry, Orange, The A&T on Clark near Lunt (Abundant and Tasty), or mi casa. I can do amazing things with some eggs, fresh herbs, and a tomato off the vine. mmm...yummy.

heather / July 29, 2004 5:41 PM

surprised no one's mentioned Martyr's.

I started going there when I used to live two blocks away. There was a handsome young Australian host who would sit at our table and flirt harmlessly when it was quiet - or, when it was busy, would send basket after basket of free baked goods to the table.

there's a great feel to this place - the bar-cum-breakfast spot, with hipsters and families but without the oh-my-god-how-freaking-crowded thing that the other brunch places tend to have.

it would have gone without saying that the food is just as good as at all the other places - M Henry, Orange, Bongo, whathaveyou.

it's just eggs and cakes, people.

Steve / July 29, 2004 6:05 PM

Lincoln all the way! With a healthy side order of instant lottery tickets.

And Lisa, I call dibs on the peppers and onions that you so callously toss from your potatoes o'brien!

Alex / July 29, 2004 10:02 PM


Shylo / July 29, 2004 10:28 PM

Another Lula plus is that they buy local organic produce. Fuck, man, they got me to love beets.

Rick / July 29, 2004 10:44 PM

Best place in Lakeview? Hearty Boys, hands down. It's very reasonable, as an added bonus. And some very cute waiter boys :-)

(Orange is good too, though can be a bit pricey. I've heard Common Ground is good too, though never been there).

Gordon / July 29, 2004 11:10 PM

M. Henry is so good it's painful … sigh

mmm / July 30, 2004 8:26 AM

Two words: The Bagel

Best omelette, best hash browns, best challah french just doesn't get any better than this. Oh yeah, make sure they give you pickles while you wait for the food.


jennifer / July 30, 2004 8:28 AM

DeLeece or Flying Saucer when I'm feeling fancy, or DeMars or Lorraine's on Chicago Ave. when I want no-nonsense, no-frills greasy diner breakfast.

Carly / July 30, 2004 8:49 AM

I don't do brunch often, but I've had good experiences at:

M. Henry
Frankie J's
Bongo Room
and the dim sum place on Argyle, whose name is completely eluding me at the moment

I like Phoenix, but it's crowded and I had a really bad experience service-wise, so I've been hesitant to truck all the way down to Chinatown.

Craig / July 30, 2004 9:36 AM

I've eaten a baked version of huevos rancheros at Milk & Honey on Division before. It tasted great.

amanda / July 30, 2004 9:49 AM

SVEA. I ate there this morning, and while i really enjoy the swedish pancakes with lingonberries, it is their swedish fried potatoes and superior coffee that keep me coming back.

emily / July 30, 2004 10:00 AM

Other than my house?

Ali / July 30, 2004 10:07 AM

I really love Orange on Harrison. It's bigger than the location on Clark and even when it's full you don't have to wait more than 20 minutes for a table.
Also Lou Mitchells by Union Station is great. The pancakes melt on your mouth and the eggs come in their own frying pan. Plus I've been going there since I was a kid with my grandpa.

Naz / July 30, 2004 10:15 AM

Ah, forgot all about Milk and Honey - excellent brunch place, really good fresh OJ. And the Huevos Rancheros, baked, is kick arse.

Steve / July 30, 2004 10:31 AM

Has anyone tried the Sunday brunch seating at the newish Chopping Block in Lincoln Square? As I understand it, you choose one of three times to attend a cooking demonstration where they prepare brunch for your group.

I wanna go, but my posse can never get its shiznit together well enough to commit to a reservation.

haydn / July 30, 2004 11:21 AM

Tre Kronor at Foster and Kimball, hands down for the authentic Swedish eats, pastries and good coffee.

Then M. Henry. I'm also partial to Valois but you can't really call that brunch.

donna / July 30, 2004 11:25 AM

wishbone on morgan and washington.
corncakes with a side of sausage.
and cheese grits, oh cheese grits!
the crabcakes are mighty fine too.
and a spicy bloody mary at the bar makes the wait fly by - though it's never very long unless you're with a big group.

bran / July 30, 2004 12:03 PM

I had brunch at Cinnamon's - it was divine.

As for places you pay for when brunching, I love M. Henry, Orange, and the A&T Diner.

Mike / July 30, 2004 1:31 PM

Soul Veg, on 75th (I think?), every Sunday they do the best brunch hands down. It is a bit pricey sometimes, and there's no menu, but trust me, it's amazing.

Jonathan / July 30, 2004 2:04 PM

Leo's Lunch Counter, by far. Sadly, I heard it's been sold.

steve_sleeve / July 30, 2004 4:14 PM

The S&G (Sam & George's) on Lincoln or Flying Saucer.

Ron / July 30, 2004 4:51 PM

Any place without a freaking line.

Jason / July 31, 2004 10:10 AM

M. Henry. I'm going back until I've tried everything.

jima / August 1, 2004 8:24 AM

Jonathan: the rumors about Leo's are true. See this Newcity article for the full details.

Ruthie / August 1, 2004 9:48 AM

I adore Valois on 53rd st in Hyde Park (when I want to spend $5) and the Drake Hotel (when I want to spend $50).

Shylo / August 1, 2004 1:25 PM

We tried M. Henry today and was sort of disappointed. Nice decor, though.

Dan / August 2, 2004 10:03 AM

Y'know, it might not be the best in the whole city, but O'Donovans on Irving Park has a mighty fine all-you-can-eat brunch on Sundays, complete with all the fixin's you'd expect at a Christmas brunch. (with some unexpected items as well: freshly sliced roast beef with your au jui sauce?)

It is just a pub with a beer garden, but the food is actually quite a bit better than many mid-priced restaurants. Supremely good for $9.

Josh / August 12, 2004 7:25 PM

Hey brunchers - wanted to let you know that Handlebar is reopening for weekend brunch starting this weekend after a 8-month hiatus. We'll be opening at 10 with a new veggie brunch menu as well as our lunch/dinner menu.

As for faves, I have to agree with others on Lula (local and 'licious), Leo's (soulful and simple) and Valois (fast, friendly and French-sounding). I just wonder what happened to the "Butt Steak - $3.75" sign after Valois remodeled.

JIMBO / August 14, 2004 7:58 AM

A really great all you can eat Brunch for about $12.00 is Carmalitas Mesquite Grill and Cantina at 1175 W. Lake in Bartlett.It has it all, Breakfast secections, entrees such as tamales, bbq ribs, ham, roast beef, just to name a few. And a dessert table with ice cream, pies, cakes, and flan and many more!!

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