As the name implies, the South Loop is the southern extension of Chicago’s central financial district, and while there are still plenty of skyscrapers and high-end joints around, South Loop also captures a bit of the neighborhood feel that many visitors to the city’s North Side find so enchanting. It’s this versatility that makes the South Loop a great brunch sampler kit – there’s highbrow, lowbrow and everything in between. Here are the best brunch spots to choose from.
If you’re looking for something outside of the normal American breakfast continuum, head to Mercat a la Planxa on Michigan Avenue. Mercat is a cool little Catalan tapas joint on weekdays, but on the weekends it opens its door bright and early and serves up a specialized brunch menu with the exquisite, exotic flavors one would expect from a Catalan feast. We’re talking eggs with truffle hollandaise and chorizo links or bacon-wrapped dates with Marcona almonds alongside bellinis and cava and thyme mixers. It’s savory, sultry and a great way to spice up the pancake-and-omelette routine.
Deli, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, American, Vegetarian, Fast Food, Soup, $$$
Manny’s is a staple. It’s the place that everyone has been to at some point, where stories are hashed and rehashed and memories come swirling back. It’s a quick hop and a skip across the river, but it’s highly worth it for the can’t-miss deli-style fare. Our go-to is usually the pastrami on rye, though they have a range of more breakfast-oriented crossovers to sate whatever hunger is in you. There’s simply nothing better than a Manny’s sandwich and a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning.
This bespoke little corner café in the historic Prairie District is perfect for taking a long brunch on the patio. Their menu is full of eclectic gems like the bronut, a jelly-filled brioche donut, or the vegetarian mushroom melt. Their drink menu is a treat whether you’re craving something alcoholic or not, featuring coffee and tea creations alongside a range of craft beer options. It’s the perfect choice if you’d like to enjoy a midday meal in the fresh air.
An offshoot of the original Wicker Park location, this South Loop spot is a bit cozier, while still retaining the massive selection of specialty beers that made the original such a hit. Their brunch menu is also fantastic, especially considering that Fatpour is a brewpub first and foremost. There are breakfast sliders, breakfast calzones and breakfast pizza. Think of a combination of breakfast food and bar food, and Fatpour will have it.
This elegant spot is known more as a steakhouse, but its fantastic menu and understated beauty make it a great spot for a late brunch or transition into dinner. Housed in an old firehouse, the original restaurant was heavily damaged in a 2014 fire. While the remodeled place retains much of the stately marble-and-mahogany charm of the original, the update brings a sleeker, airier feel that’s perfect for dining in the daylight. The menu is similarly elegant, with brunch options ranging from high-end cuisine (short-rib benedict) to classic comfort (fried chicken).