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M. Henry

5707 N. Clark | 773-561-1600

$

AMERICAN, BREAKFAST | BREAKFAST, LUNCH: TUESDAY-SATURDAY | SUNDAY BRUNCH | CLOSED MONDAY | BYO | RESERVATIONS NOT ACCEPTED

This charming cafe from partners Michael Moorman and Jorge Aviles offers an eclectic selection of breakfast, brunch, and lunch dishes featuring natural ingredients and house-baked breads. A dish called Vegan Epiphany is organic tofu scrambled with red and green peppers, onions, and yuba (a baconlike soy product), while Dulce Banana Rumba is thick-cut brioche French toast with warm bananas, rum, golden raisins, and pecans. Pancakes come with either maple syrup or layered with blackberry compote and vanilla mascarpone and topped with a brown-sugar-and-oat crust. Prices are reasonable, and the staff is friendly and eager to accommodate. —Laura Levy Shatkin

Nana

3267 S. Halsted | 312-929-2486

$

BREAKFAST, VEGETARIAN/HEALTHY | BREAKFAST, LUNCH: SEVEN DAYS | SATURDAY & SUNDAY BRUNCH | RESERVATIONS FOR LARGE GROUPS ONLY

Cafe 28 pastry chef Maria Solis (aka Nana) and her sons, Omar and Christian, preside over this genuinely friendly, slightly crunchy upscale diner. Menu selections include a breakfast burger crowned with a runny egg and smeared with aioli and the "Nanadict," two cheese-stuffed pupusas topped with poached eggs and house-made chorizo in poblano sauce, a colorful and creative take on the standard. Banana-hemp buckwheat pancakes (see "crunchy") were remarkably light and airy. Soyrizo is a surprisingly successful vegetarian alternative to the real thing, and we also enjoyed the mascarpone-stuffed French toast. —David Hammond

Orange

3231 N. Clark | 773-549-4400

$

GLOBAL/FUSION/ECLECTIC | BREAKFAST, LUNCH: SEVEN DAYS | BYO | RESERVATIONS NOT ACCEPTED

Orange lives up to its name: rows of oranges behind the counter wait to be squeezed by the order, coffee is flavored with essence of orange, and the restaurant's sign is on an orange crate in the large front window. The menu is full of whimsical surprises: coconut-milk-soaked French toast kebabs skewered with fruit; the Jelly Doughnut Pancake (a Swedish pancake filled with a different jelly every week); and Green Eggs and Ham (three eggs scrambled with pesto, roasted tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella). Combine the juice bar and the BYO policy and you've also got the makings of a mean mimosa or Bloody Mary. The latest Orange, in River North at 738 N. Clark, is also BYO. —Laura Levy Shatkin

Over Easy

4943 N. Damen | 773-506-2605

$

AMERICAN, BREAKFAST | BREAKFAST, lunch: TUESDAY-SunDAY | CLOSED MONDAY | BYO | RESERVATIONS NOT ACCEPTED

At this cozy breakfast-and-lunch spot chef Jon Cignarale works hard to keep things interesting, changing the brunch and specials menu weekly. Offerings have included a corn pancake with red pepper coulis and sour cream, souffles, and fried bologna with "frazzled" eggs and a spicy maple mustard; standbys on the regular breakfast menu include "sassy eggs," served with chorizo-potato hash, cheddar cheese, red peppers, jalapeños, and guacamole, and Emily's Dream Pancakes, with blackberries, orange butter, and raspberry coulis. At lunch there are sandwiches, salads, and burgers. The space is bright and playful: near the entrance five wires strung with white wooden eggs run from the floor to the orangish red tin ceiling, and there's a "wall of eggs" in the back. —Anne Ford

Pannenkoeken Cafe

4757 N. Western | 773-769-8800

$

EUROPEAN, BREAKFAST | BREAKFAST, LUNCH: SUNDAY-MONDAY, WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY | CLOSED TUESDAY | BYO | RESERVATIONS FOR LARGE GROUPS ONLY

Linda Ellis, owner of this tiny Lincoln Square cafe, fell in love with Holland on her first trip in 2000—the bikes, the easy pace, the friendly people. And she got hooked on pannenkoeken, the large, thin, crispy-edged Dutch pancakes—so much so that she apprenticed herself to a gruff elderly master of the art. The initial result was a tightly compressed menu: a few egg dishes, regular buttermilk pancakes, and three pannenkoeken (apple, chocolate-banana, and bacon and Havarti). "I wanted to start small," Ellis says. "I wanted to be able to control what we do qualitywise." These days, with the help of her daughters, Ellis has expanded her pannenkoeken repertoire to a dozen, offering combos such as raisin and ginger marmalade, apple and ginger, ham and cheese, and bacon, cheese, and mushroom. There's a second location at 2257 W. North. —Mike Sula

Yolk

1120 S. Michigan | 312-789-9655

$

AMERICAN, BREAKFAST | BREAKFAST, LUNCH: SEVEN DAYS | BYO | RESERVATIONS FOR LARGE GROUPS ONLY

Perhaps self-evidently, the specialty at this sunny South Loop breakfast-and-lunch spot is eggs, offered in several different Benedict styles (for example, there's an Irish Benny topped with corned beef hash) as well as in omelets and frittatas or served just plain old sunny-side up. I opted for a "West Coast" crepe filled with scrambled eggs, avocado, mushrooms, and cheese, and though it said "sweet crepe" right there on the menu, I still found it odd with all the other savory flavors. As for the eggs Benedict (we went for the classic version), despite the fact that it was crowded on the plate by huge chunks of fresh fruit ("Who wants fruit covered in hollandaise?" my companion asked), it was very good. In addition to egg dishes, Yolk's menu features a variety of pancakes, waffles, and French toast, as well as sandwiches and salads for the lunch crowd. The custom-roasted coffee was significantly better than typical diner swill and refilled often, and on a weekday service was friendly and prompt. There's a second location in River North at 747 N. Wells. —Kathie Bergquist

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