From deep-dish, Chicago-style pizzas to all-beef hot dogs and Garrett gourmet popcorn, a few foods are Windy City staples. But Chicago has another hidden gem: breakfast.
The South Side is filled with great choices for foodies, from Chicago gastropub eateries and pizzerias to Asian fusion restaurants. While Eater Chicago can help you sift through the options, use this guide to find the best breakfast in Chicago.
When it comes to breakfast, Chicago Loop to Hyde Park has the finest morning meals. But few spots are as exciting as the fast-casual Valois Restaurant. Known to locals as Obama’s favorite breakfast hangout, Valois offers the best comfort foods; you’ll feel as if you were eating in your own kitchen.
The cafeteria-style restaurant nearly always has a line, but it moves quickly, as the chefs are constantly working. Grab a tray and shout your order when you reach the front. I usually opt for the basic breakfast sandwich—just egg and cheese atop some toasted bread. However, because this spot used to be Obama’s go-to, you can also order one of six specials. Each one is a favorite of his, from the Mediterranean omelet to the New York steak and eggs.
For those seeking a casual breakfast as opposed to a Chicago gastropub meal, this is the ideal place. You can watch your food as its prepared, and breakfast is served all day long.
If a cafeteria line seems a little too laidback for you, stop by Salonica Restaurant instead. This cozy diner offers traditional breakfast as well, but great staff members are on site to make things easier.
Technically a Greek restaurant, you’ll find a stellar blend of cultural dishes and American breakfast foods at Salonica. Seven specialties stand out, combining eggs with various combinations of meats, toast, coffee and potatoes. Some other popular dishes include the eatery’s omelets, which include the Salonica omelet, with gyros and green peppers, or the Athenian omelet, filled with feta cheese, onions and tomatoes.
The menu doesn’t stop there when it comes to the best breakfast in Chicago. Waffles, French toast, cold cereal, doughnuts, pancakes, bagels, fresh fruit, has browns, grit, turkey sausage—you name it, they have it. The intimate diner setting is enhanced by hanging plants and bathroom artwork.
Medici on 57th
As you scroll through Eater Chicago, you just might find Medici on 57th on a list for the best breakfast in Chicago. By night, it’s a fun spot to dine on burgers and pizza. But, by morning, Medici is a delicious breakfast spot through and through.
The Hyde Park eatery started out as a coffee shop long ago and while it still serves delicious lattes and cappuccino, they also have a full menu now.
Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by dark wooden furniture, chic brick walls and yellow-tinted lighting. The warm atmosphere is perfect for relaxing while starting your day. Dine on smoked salmon bagels, vegetable omelets, granola parfaits, eggs Benedict, pancakes, oatmeal or a variety of croissants and pastries. On the weekends, expect even more options with a hip brunch menu. Sweet potato pancakes make a healthy option while cinnamon roll French toast and chocolate chip pancakes are great for those with a sweet tooth.
When it’s time to wake up and eat breakfast, Chicago Loop restaurants have a lot to offer. But none downtown are quite as spectacular as Hyde Park eatery The Promontory. This Chicago gastropub easily makes some of the best dishes around, centered around a wood-fired oven. Only offered on the weekends, brunch at this eatery is always changing. The eclectic menu features fresh cuisine full of unique ingredients.
Start with a house salad, beignets or pudding with sweet cream and seasonal fruit. Though the menu is often changing, you’ll usually find things like the market quiche and a chicken sandwich as well as The Point Breakfast, with two eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast. Chilaquiles are another popular item as well. But, by far, the thing I enjoyed the most was the French toast.
When I visited, the dish was served with a coconut creme anglaise sauce as well as yuzu and banana jam. The flavors blended perfectly, creating both a sweetness and a unique tartness. Another iteration includes grilled banana with pecans, chocolate and dulce de leche.
Whether you choose to enjoy the breakfast at this Chicago gastropub or check out Eater Chicago for another option, you’re sure to find something you like in the South Side of the city. It’s simply home to the best breakfast in Chicago.