It wasn’t until recently that the South Loop became a destination for visitors looking to explore beyond Museum Campus (the neighborhood is home to three of the city’s top museums: the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium). The neighborhood has also become known for its historic architecture, independent book stores, jazz clubs, and open green spaces. And of course, sports fans flock here to Solider Field, home of the Chicago Bears. Whether you’re looking for a spot to grab a bite before a day of museum hopping, or you need to refuel after a late night jazz session, here are three spots to start your day in the South Loop.
With five Chicago locations (and two more on the way), Yolk’s upscale breakfast and brunch menu has a lot of fans. Options here run the gamut, from indulgent Red Velvet French Toast (red velvet cake with swirls of cream cheese, dipped in batter and grilled before being topped with strawberries and whipped cream) to healthier options like the Breakfast Quinoa Bowl (warm quinoa served with heavy whipping cream, dried cranberries, pecans, and sautéed peaches, and cinnamon apples).
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Dating back to 1993, the Bongo Room is one of the granddaddies of the Chicago brunch scene. Over the years, they’ve gone on to open two more locations, including one in the South Loop. While the menu has breakfast standbys like omelettes and breakfast burritos, the real stars are the Instagram-worthy plates of french toast (the Chocolate Tower French Toast comes stuffed with maple mascarpone, banana crème brûlée sauce, fresh bananas, and shaved chocolate) and luxuriously rich benedicts (try the deconstructed lobster roll version – toasted buttery buns topped with lobster roll filling and poached eggs, finished with a green goddess hollandaise).
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A nod to old-school diners and Jewish delicatessens, Eleven City Diner is the place to go for all-day breakfast with a side of nostalgia. Order the Old School Platter (lox served with capers, tomato, onion, cucumber, olives, and a bagel) or go sweet with the 11 City French Toast (fresh baked challah topped with strawberries, bananas, and toasted coconut).