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DC Chowhound in Chicago - please help with breakfast suggestion!

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Hello! Will be heading to Chicago to meet up with a fellow foodie from Singapore.

Here's my main question:
Am staying in Naperville and departing from ORD on Sunday -- anyone have a great breakfast/diner suggestion between Naperville and ORD? Right now, I have slotted in Egg Harbor Cafe....but would love a non-chain place that is full of character and good eats!

Thanks in advance!

PS - for anyone interested -- our itinerary is as follows:

Thursday dinner at The Publican (or Purple Pig -- willing to listen to reasons for one over the other)

Friday lunch at Hot Doug's
Firday dinner at Charlie Trotter's

Saturday lunch at Frontera Grill
Saturday dinner at Burt's for deep dish pizza (heard about it on Bourdain's show - willing to listen to other suggestions!)

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Hot Doug's
3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Charlie Trotter's
816 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614

Frontera Grill
445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

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  1. The Publican will take reservations, The Purple Pig will not. I was at TPP 2 weeks ago at 6:20 and there was a 45 minute wait on a Wednesday night. I suggest getting there early. Both places are a little loud. I love both places.

    As for Friday = perfect!!

    I'm assuming you're talking about Burt's up in Morton Grove? It's good, but I prefer Pequod's, just one street over. But, you'll get a million varying ideas on that one.

    Have fun!

    1. Don't be concerned about Egg Harbor. While it's a chain, we're not talking IHOP here. There's a ton of character, and the food is very good.

      1. Walker Bros. Original Pancake House is a bit out of the way, but offers a unique local breakfast experience. I think the Glenview location would be the closest to O'hare.

        Walker Bros.

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        Walker Bros Original Pancake House
        1615 Waukegan Rd, Glenview, IL 60025

        1 Reply
        1. re: Markauf

          Aside from being nowhere near O'Hare (and the Arlington Heights location is logistically the better alternative), Walker Brothers is not worth a special trip, in my opinion.

        2. >> Am staying in Naperville and departing from ORD on Sunday -- anyone have a great breakfast/diner suggestion between Naperville and ORD? Right now, I have slotted in Egg Harbor Cafe....but would love a non-chain place that is full of character and good eats!

          Here are two suggestions for Sunday breakfast/brunch.

          Allgauer's is a local restaurant with two locations, one in the Lisle Hilton (near Naperville) and the other in the Northbrook Hilton. Even though they are located in hotels, they have a strong local following. On Sundays they do a huge, upscale buffet brunch. They accept reservations on Opentable.com For details on the Lisle brunch, see www.hilton.com/en/hotels/content/NAPH...

          The other recommendation is Walker Brothers, which is my favorite Chicagoland restaurant for breakfast (and I've tried most of the better known ones in the city and suburbs). It's a local franchise of the Original Pancake House, and they have taken that chain way upscale, with sumptuous wood and stained glass (including some original Tiffany) and the highest quality everything. If you go, don't miss their huge, puffed up cinnamony apple pancake! The one downside is that they get busy on weekends, especially Sundays, and they don't accept reservations. The location in Arlington Heights is indeed the most convenient when traveling from Naperville to O'Hare. www.walkerbrosoph.com

          >> Thursday dinner at The Publican (or Purple Pig -- willing to listen to reasons for one over the other)

          As noted above, the Purple Pig does not accept reservations, and waiting times to be seated can be lengthy. The Publican accepts reservations; half the seating is communal seating at two long tables, the other half is private tables for up to six people. If you have a preference for communal seating or a private table, note in when making your reservation and they will try to accommodate you (although they can't guarantee it). Two other things about the Publican: it's very noisy, and although the meats and seafood are very good indeed, the desserts are dreadful. If you're really into pork and charcuterie, you'll probably love it; if not, you may be disappointed.

          >> Friday lunch at Hot Doug's

          Be prepared to wait a long time.

          >> Firday dinner at Charlie Trotter's

          Good choice.

          >> Saturday lunch at Frontera Grill

          Note that they serve brunch on Saturdays; you can find the menu on their website.

          >> Saturday dinner at Burt's for deep dish pizza (heard about it on Bourdain's show - willing to listen to other suggestions!)

          You can always get lots of opinions about pizza among Chicagoans. I've tried Burt's and I was not impressed - not with the burnt crust, not with the bland sauce, etc. I think you'll get a much much MUCH better deep-dish pizza at any Lou Malnati's location, including either of the two locations in Naperville. Plus you won't have to drive 45 minutes like you will from Naperville to Burt's. Less travel time for a much better pizza makes that choice a no-brainer. www.loumalnatis.com

          Enjoy your visit!

          1 Reply
          1. re: nsxtasy

            Thanks everyone, particularly nsxtasy for such an in-depth and thoughtful reply. I will check out Walker Bros and Lou Malnati's as alternates.

            I've been to The Publican before and am aware of the limitations -- don't mind the communal seating. I don't recall the desserts being dreadful - I think we ordered a simple ice-cream/sorbet option while there last time. Perhaps we'll skip dessert anyway, given Hot Doug's and Charlie Trotter's the next day!

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            Hot Doug's
            3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

            Charlie Trotter's
            816 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614