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Oct 9, 2006 01:55 PM

New Yorker wants to know what's up with breakfast

I'll be in your great city soon for a few memorable meals. On my home board - NYC Outer Boros - there have been a few posts about how there is nowhere here to get a Chicago breakfast. What's up? Let me know what I'm missing and where I can find typical examples next month. I'll be staying at the Hilton & Towers (or whatever it's called now).

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  1. Chicago style breakfasts? Never heard of such a thing! Breakfast is pretty much the same here as in NY or anywhere else. IMO, it's them Southern folks that take it to whole another level.

    For a great breakfast in the city go to Sweet Maple on Taylor St. or if your really mobile, go to Walker Bros. in Lincolnshire.

    The absolute best breakfast I've had in the Chicago region is in downtown Kenosha, WI at Franks Diner, one of oldest operating diner cars in the country (1926), amazing food and great atmosphere.

    1. Is this the Outer Boroughs thread you are thinking of?

      If so, the Chicagoan OP mentions "Bongo Room, Orange, Toast, Flying Saucer, Bite among others" There are branches of both Bongo Room and Orange near your hotel: Bongo Room at Wabash and Roosevelt, Orange on Harrison between Federal and Clark. I think Bongo Room would be the better bet for you.

      Another poster in that thread misses Lou Mitchell's in particular, which is more of an old-style coffeeshop kind of place, as opposed to the trendy spots listed above. It's near the train station, a short cab ride from the Hilton. Personally, I don't think I'd make a special trip for it.

      And you might want to read through a recent thread here on the Chicago board, "Breakfast out, rants and raves"

      Oh, while I'm copying urls I'll throw in this one too. This is a post of mine about breakfast places near the Congress Hotel, a block north of your Hilton:

      1. Ina's on west Randolph is great. Try the Heavenly Hots.
        Tempo Restaurant on State Street. Great ommlette's and Greek Food.
        Original House of Pancakes on Bellview and Rush for great pancakes. Forget Walker Bros in Lincolnshire (Orig. House of Pancakes serves the same stuff).
        Check out brunch at several of our Hotels...Four Seasons Hotel, Caliterra Restaurant, Peninsula Hotel, etc.
        Lou Mitchel's is overrated.

        1 Reply
        1. re: amoncada

          I would have to agree about Tempo. After 25 years of eating breakfast all over Chicago, Tempo wins hands down for consistently producing superb, fresh, hot omelettes that are top notch. And HUGE! The spinach and feta omelette gets me salivating just to think of it. With Greek toast. Mmmm...

        2. I think Norma's at the Meridien is one of the very few places in NY where you can get much more creative creative breakfast offerings. Otherwise, I think it's generally standard fare.

          Chicago has a number of spots that serve almost exclusively breakfast offerings that are far more creative than simply ham and eggs. Considering that you will be staying at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, the poster above is correct there are two such breakfast places close to you -- Bongo Room (Roosevelt & Wabash) and Orange (Harrison b/w Federal & Clark). I think both are excellent. Here's a link to the menu at Bongo Room:

          One thing I really like about Bongo Room is that if you can't decide what you want, you can order 1/2 or 1/3 portions of any dish. I probably slightly prefer Orange, mostly because if their weekly-changing pancake flight which offers a four-sectioned plate, each with 3 miniature buttermilk pancakes, each section offering a different creative topping or presentation. Here's a link to Orange's menu:

          1 Reply
          1. re: BRB

            One note on both of these restaurants. They do get fairly crowded on weekends, so if you're flexible, it's probably best to go on a weekday. Of the two, I prefer Bongo Room (on-the-money Eggs Benedict), but Orange, as per the above, has its adherents. By the way, if you're stuck with a long wait at the Bongo Room on a Sunday, you might want to try Gioco down the block. It serves a good breakfast (only on Sundays) with an Italian touch, and seems to draw far less of a crowd (unless the Bears are at home).

            1312 S. Wabash Ave.

          2. The discussion above gives a good picture of what's available here in two categories of breakfast places, the upscale/creative spots like Bongo Room and the Greek diner kind of places like Tempo. But (to complicate the picture further) my favorite kind of Chicago breakfast is a third category which I'll label "ethnic". I love the breakfast at Healthy Food Lithuanian restaurant on Halsted St. in Bridgeport (and I know jbw will agree with me here):

            And I love breakfasts at many of the Mexican places in town, at Nuevo Leon on 18th Street for example, where I'd recommend either the chilaquiles or the machacado con huevo, and be sure to get their house-made flour tortillas with your breakfast.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Amata

              A definite ditto on Healthy Food (you'll want to give the pancakes--blynais?--a shot), and if you're there on a Saturday morning don't neglect to ask for a bacon bun (not on the menu). If you're lucky there'll be a couple left.