Waiting for Longman and Eagle?
Will be in Chicago first weekend in March--our annual visit before a meeting in the 'burbs. on Monday. Have been looking at Longman and Eagle for Sunday brunch but wondering if it's worth the schlep to get there given the fact that they don't take reservations. We're staying in the Loop so would be a long ride on the El. How long are the waits, typically?
As often as I eat at L&E, I've actually never done brunch -- precisely because they don't take reservations and unless you go when they open or right before the brunch menu ends, wait times can easily be 60 minutes and up (though it's possible to grab a seat at the bar more quickly - that gets much more difficult the more people there are in your party).
But here's an alternative idea -- have you considered The Publican? The menus at both restaurants have a certain sympatico and The Publican accepts reservations (and it's much closer to the Loop). Brunches at The Publican rank as among my all time favorites.
As I often do, I agree with danimalakey. Still, we've found that we had no problem getting into L&E, even for brunch, if we go early. And the el trip shouldn't be much more than 20-30 minutes. Had you considered cabbing? It would be more expensive, but way faster.
>> wondering if it's worth the schlep to get there given the fact that they don't take reservations.
It sounds like you've looked at their menu and it sounds better to you than places which are close to your hotel. If so, then it may be worth it to you.
>> We're staying in the Loop so would be a long ride on the El.
If you want to compare menus, places in the Loop which serve a good Sunday brunch include Atwood Cafe, Petterino's, and Mercat a la Planxa. And, of course, there are lots more places just across the river in River North, including Shaw's Crab House (my favorite Sunday brunch in the city), Cafe des Architectes, Sable, etc. All of these places accept reservations including on Opentable.com so you wouldn't have to worry about a long wait to be seated (or a lengthy travel time to get there and then again to get back).
>> How long are the waits, typically?
The easiest way to get an accurate answer is to phone them on any Sunday at the time of day you plan to go, and ask them how long the waits are.
I've observed that on Sundays at Chicago's most popular breakfast-focused restaurants that don't take reservations (e.g. M. Henry, Bongo Room, Jam, Southport Grocery, Lula, etc), you can walk right in around 9 a.m., when many of them, including L&E, open. Most fill up and lines start forming about 9:30 and continue till around 12:30 or 1:00. Typical waits during those hours at the popular places are 30-60 minutes. The only brunch I'm aware of that normally has waits exceeding 60 minutes is Frontera Grill (which is Saturdays only), although there may be others I'm not aware of. Again, though, if you want to know how long they are at L&E (or at any other place that doesn't take reservations), call them on a Sunday at the time you're interested in to get a good idea of how long their waits are.