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Jul 20, 2009 06:49 AM

Sunday Brunch

I will be in Chicago (River North/Loup area) the weekend of August 15-16 and am wondering about a good brunch. I don't want to go fancy, but want a really good selection since I think Sunday Brunch is a beautiful pleasure in life. Suggestions?

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  1. The second location of Yolk has just opened in River North, on Wells, south of Chicago Ave. It is a bright cheerful place, and the breadth of the menu is huge compared to better brunch places around town.

    747 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654

    1. David Burke's Primehouse has an American food dim sum brunch using cart service and it is excellent . . . $35/person. I wouldn't say it's fancy at all, but it's not a t-shirt and shorts kind of place. Here's a sample menu:

      19 Replies
      1. re: BRB

        BRB, given your choice, Burke's for a weekday lunch and m.henry for sunday brunch or m. henry for a weekday breakfast and Burke's for the dim-sum?

        1. re: uhockey

          I don't think you can go wrong either way . . . for me, it would depend upon my mood and how hungry I am.

          M. Henry's brunch and breakfast menus are somewhat similar so I don't know that you need to be there for weekend brunch:

          One advantage of having a weekday breakfast at M. Henry is that you avoid long waits (they don't take reservations and an hour wait is not out of the question on weekends). At the same time, I like the vibe of the place when it's crowded. Either way, the food is very good. I tend to order one of their sweet breakfast breads followed by a savory item but everything is good. Sometimes, I order a savory item and then visit what I believe is the best bakery in the city, Pasticceria Natalina, less than 1/2 mile directly south of M. Henry on Clark.

          I have not been to David Burke's Primehouse for lunch (only brunch and dinner) but I love the place. The dim sum cart service is very creative and a great deal at $35. But the star of David Burke's is the fantastic dry aged beef and you really don't get much of that at brunch:

          But their "NoBull" three-course lunch menu looks impressive and offers some of their dry aged beef offerings:

          So I guess it depends upon your mood, how much you want to eat (you'll eat more at David Burke's), whether you want beef at David Burke's, but really you cannot go wrong either way.

          1. re: uhockey

            Unless you live in the neighborhood (i don't), i never felt that M Henry is unique or special enough to be a destination place. There are a lot more places in Chicago that offers similar or better food, similar ambience, etc.

            1. re: ms. chow

              I like M. Henry quite a bit, but yes, there are other similar places, some better some not. I know from prior posts that uhockey has been to Over Easy and Bongo Room. There's Orange, and although I like Orange it has never been as good as it was when Dale Levitski was the chef and they had only the Clark St. (Wrigleyville) location. When Dale was at Orange, it was hands down the best of this bunch. And now Hearty Boys is serving a pretty good brunch at their studio location on N. Broadway around Sheridan. I've enjoyed two brunches there (which I described in detail on lthforum) and I definitely want to return to try their shrimp and grits). Finally, there's Uncommon Ground, although they don't offer much in the way of creative and sweet breakfast offerings (very good savory though). But in terms of breakfast spots offering creative, non-standard breakfast fare, there's not much more that I can think of other than those above.

              I know you like Yolk, but based upon my two meals there I thought that they execute the standard breakfast fare well, but fall flat when they try to duplicate the Bongo Room/M. Henry-type places. Even then, they don't get nearly as creative with their breakfast offerings. I also found the dining room to be large and lacking quaintness, although many might not care about this.

              1. re: BRB

                Isn't it amazing that there are so many options to choose from?

                Like you said, it all depends on mood. Yolk to me is comfort brunch. And their menu is gigantic, so it will most likely appeal to a variety of tastes. For creative, non-standard fare, my top choice is Lula. Yes i'm biased since Lula is my favorite restaurant in the city. I have brunch almost every weekend at Flo. Sola and Bistro Campagne do very amazing brunches. I would take people to David Burke's for the experience. I would go to Toast, Bongo Room, Ina's, Tre Konor, Sweet Maple Cafe, Wishbone in a heartbeat.

                OP asked for recs in the River North/Loop area. So far there's Yolk and David Burke's. Where else, chowhounds?

                1. re: ms. chow

                  I haven't been to Lula for brunch, but I like it for dinner quite a bit and I could see them offering more creative brunch options. I tried Sola for brunch twice and thought it was just ok (prefer it for dinner). I like Tre Kronor, Ina's and Toast quite a bit, but if someone is looking for a lot of creativity, they're not going to find it at those spots. I haven't been to Sweet Maple and I didn't know Bistro Campagne even did brunch. I don't like Wishbone at all . . . average on its best day, inedible on its worst.

                  1. re: ms. chow

                    "OP asked for recs in the River North/Loop area. So far there's Yolk and David Burke's. Where else, chowhounds?"

                    Bongo Room in the S. Loop (12th & Wabash), and if you're in River North it's a block east of the Roosevelt stop on the Red Line.

                    Not so much a brunch but we've always had pleasant breakfasts at the Atwood Cafe in the Burnham Hotel

                    1. re: ms. chow

                      I would certainly add Tweet to that list (but clearly not River North/Loop).

                    2. re: BRB

                      I am to check out Yolk on Saturday and M.henry on either Friday or Sunday, depending on when we do Burke's. Per usual, I'll report back - at lenght.

                      1. re: uhockey

                        uhockey: If you are going to Burke's american dim sum, it is only on Sundays. For solid, comfort brunch, Yolk is good. If you are looking for more creative options, see rest of this thread for options. Where else is on the agenda this trip?

                        BTW read your report on Luce. It was excellent. I still need to get over the decor. But food is great and company was excellent. Even local friends were thanking me for bringing them there.

                        1. re: ms. chow

                          Agenda now is this - will be with family for some, going to the Gold Coast Art Show and Harry Potter Exhibit with them, and with a business associate for some (Sox/Yanks)

                          Friday - Bongo Room, Hot Doug's, Spiaggia
                          Saturday - Yolk, Burke's, Alinea (8:30 Tour)
                          Sunday - m.henry, Lou Malnati's, North Pond.

                          Probably throw some Molly's Cupcakes, Hot Chocolate, or Vanille in there at some point, as well.

                          1. re: uhockey

                            If you like Italian pastries, stop by Pasticceria Natalina after M. Henry. It's between a 5-10 minute walk and in my opinion, the best bakery in Chicago.

                            1. re: BRB

                              Will add to agenda - assuming I have room. :-)

                              1. re: uhockey


                                happy eating. and be sure to report back your experiences.

                                1. re: uhockey

                                  Just a FYI on Harry Potter: order your exhibit tickets before you go. My sister/sister in law went and had to wait 4 hours before they were able to go in. Since you have so many good food options, you don't want to miss any by having an unexpected delay.

                                  Definitely go Pasticceria Natalina. Nicest people and the cookies I got once still haunt my dreams.

                                  1. re: lbs

                                    Already in hand - and you've sold me on Natalina.

                                  2. re: uhockey

                                    I really wouldn't suggest arriving at M. Henry after about 9 am on Sunday unless you want to wait more than an hour. It's good but, that's a bit much.

                                    1. re: Debby Pope

                                      I shall be there as they open the doors - just as I was at the infamous Dottie's True Blue Cafe in SF - wait time normally 2+ hours......only 2+ minutes. :-)